With the All-Star Game coming up tomorrow — and with my already-exposed love of flipping leaderboards on their head — I figure it’s about time I put together an anti-all-star team. Baseball coverage is dominated this week by talk about the best players in the game, so why not spend some time looking at which players have been the worst in the majors this season?
There are many different ways to choose who’s been “the worst” player at each position — just like there are multiple ways of choosing the best player — but for the sake of simplicity, I used Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to compile this list. I didn’t simply choose the player with the lowest WAR at a position, though; I gave preference to players that had more playing time, and I chose to put less weight on defensive performance. I try to explain any slightly odd selections that I made, but feel free to make arguments for different players in the comments.
Without further ado, here are your 2011 starting American and National League All-Flub teams:
– It was tough to choose a first baseman for the team, as both Morneau and Barton have been bad this season, but Morneau has managed to put up an equal WAR in less plate appearances, so I gave him the starting nod. And Reid Brignac has technically been worse than Cliff Pennington so far, but Brignac has less than 200 plate appearance, so he gets the bench spot.
– It was difficult to find horrible starting pitchers that had started at least seven games, yet were still in the majors and not injured. So I decided to cheat a little and just go with the worst starters available, regardless of if they were in the minors or not. It’s pretty telling that three of these five starters have gotten demoted already this year (Mitch Talbot and Wade Davis are the two survivors).
– Yes, White Sox fans, your club has three position players — two outfielders and a DH — starting on the All-Flub Team. Aren’t you so proud?
– The AL has three of the four worst players in the majors this season. With Chone Figgins hitting leadoff and Adam Dunn in the three hole, how could this lineup possible go wrong?
– I was hesitant to place people on the All-Flub Team based on the merits of bad defense; we all know how volatile in-season UZR scores can be, so I went with the worst offensive player if I was deciding between two players. But Raul Ibanez – wow. Not only does UZR hate him, but DRS also has him as worth -10 runs in the outfield already. That’s really not good.
– There were a couple players up for consideration as DH, but Casey McGehee and his .263 wOBA stood out from the rest.
– Dioner Navarro – the worst regular catcher in the National League. Nobody could have seen this coming.
– Bill Hall and Mike Cameron have both bounced around to multiple teams this year, but they’ve managed to stay focused on earning an All-Flub Team spot. Well done?
– I’m somewhat impressed that Edinson Volquez hasn’t been the worst pitcher in the NL. He has a 6 BB/9 and 20% HR/FB rate…and yet he’s only the fourth starter on this team? Yikes.
So who would win if these two clubs were to face off against each other? I have no idea, but I’m certain it would be an entertaining affair.