The Worst Regular in Baseball

More than 200 plate appearances into the season, Brian Giles remains the worst regular in baseball. Suffice to say, Giles abrupt decay is a bit surprising. Sure, he’s 38 years old and plays in a notoriously suppressive offensive climate, but even Giles’ park-adjusted numbers are repulsive. His .255 wOBA translates to -12.7 offensive runs. Giles has played nearly as poorly on defense, posting a -8.1 UZR despite playing an outfield corner.

All told, Giles has been worth 1.5 wins below replacement level, good for a “value” of $-6.9 million; the Padres are paying him $9 million over the course of this season.

Giles has struggled to hit the fastball this season to the tune of -2.25 runs per 100 heaters faced, a glaring weakness which the league has exploited by throwing him fastballs 66% of the time. It’s hard to tell whether Giles has lost his bat speed or something else along the way, but his performance this year represents a drastic drop from that of his previous seasons:

2006 0.12 wFB/C

2007 0.92 wFB/C

2008 1.16 wFB/C

Meanwhile, the velocity of the average fastball he’s seen is just about the same: ~91 miles per hour this season and last, and ~90 MPH in 2006 and 2007. In other words, Giles’ subpar performance against the hard stuff this season can’t be attributed to his having faced a greater percentage of flamethrowers. The two home runs he has hit were surrendered by Chad Billingsley and Edinson Volquez, and both came in fastball counts.

Moving forward, I would still expect Giles to improve offensively. He currently sports a .218 BABIP, compared to his low of .274 over the past three seasons. Giles’ line-drive rates remain respectable, and his walk/strikeout rates have stabilized. The only weapon his game definitely lacks is power. His ISO is down from .150 to .083, although as Dave pointed out in the off-season, the inverse relationship between fastballs seen and ISO likely explains some of this decline.

I’m sure the Padres were a bit miffed with Giles’ decision to block a move last year. I can’t imagine how thrilled they are to see his value all but vanish within a year.

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13 Responses to “The Worst Regular in Baseball”

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  1. FishFrenzy says:

    Didn’t they pick up an option for him this past offseason? When I read that I thought it was odd, as I had figured they wanted to move him to the Red Sox last year to avoid paying his salary and get younger at the same time. Then they decided to pay the salary anyway. Maybe they thought he’d be up for a trade this year, but if he blocked one last season, why wouldn’t he block it again this year? Regardless, now they’re definitely stuck with him.

    Honestly though, when I saw the link , I was kind of hoping to see Emilio Bonifacio on here. He’s certainly the worst regular that I know of, and it couldn’t hurt to get some more recognition as to how bad he is. Maybe someone on the team will actually care.

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  2. JoeHova says:

    Delmon Young has been worth $-7.1 million, according the site’s numbers. Giles has a challenger! ;-)

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    • JCP says:

      At least Young has some upside. For a team as money-conscious as the Pads to be spending this kind of money on such a horrible player is a surefire recipe for disaster. It makes their mediocre record all the more impressive, as coming into the season they looked like a 60-65 win team with Giles having a normal decline path.

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  3. Random Media Type says:

    Yeah, that’s what happens when you stop taking the steroid!

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  4. Greg says:

    Hey, don’t forget about Jeff Franceour! He’s not going to give up without a fight. A .255 wOBA is definitely within his reach.

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  5. John C says:

    Francouer has actually been a + fielder to date though, so Giles basically kills him in that respect. Despite Francouer’s fall from grace, he’s still 25 and cheaper than Giles. It’s surprisingly not close.

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    • Sunking1056 says:

      Jeff Francoeur: He’s “surprisingly not close” to being the worst regular in baseball.

      Now there’s a news clipping for his scrapbook ;)

      He’ll find a way, I’m sure.

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  6. John C says:

    Rofl. That should be a motto for him at this point

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  7. Lailoken says:

    Don’t be surprised if Yuniesky Betancourt keeps in the race for the dubious title of Worst Regular in Baseball. Young, Giles, & Matthews may all be ahead of him right now but a mental collapse in the field for a few days & he’ll be right up there. At least Giles & Matthews are older veterans who have struggled with injuries for a few years. Betancourt & Young are close to disgracing the game considering their athletic talents. Both of those guys should be plus defenders with the ability to take a pitch now & then but have instead chosen to fritter away their considerable talents.

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  8. jwood says:

    As a Padre fan. It does not get much worse than Brian “the only thing I can hit is my girl” Giles. Giles is simply pathetic. Everyone who’s grown up in this area knows he was on steroids as early as his high school years. That, combined with his affection for tanning booths, make him the most pathetic person in the game today. Then add the fact that he tried to counter-sue his girlfriend for abuse on him? Sack up Giles, and start pretending that ball is your girl and maybe you finally get some hits.

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    • Stella Gomez says:


      Condemned by a Padre fan for being a drug-abusing, vain, misogynist, girlfriend-suing cheat with no bat speed.


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  9. Dinglehoser says:

    Ditto on Yuniesky Betancourt kissing the bottom. wOBA of .254 (-13.6 runs) and an embarassing UZR of -9.6. -1.2 WAR, -$5.5m value. His numbers are atrocious, but his attitude is worse. His physical talents are undeniable and was once touted as a five-tool knockout, but he’s categorically refused to do anything more than the bare minimum now that he’s got his bucks. He can’t make the excuse that he’s old, either.

    Yuni is generally the only one on the team not taking extra batting/fielding practice, seemingly ignores the management’s growing disenchantment with his propensity to swing at everything, and treats his multitudes of errors as a joke, generally laughing about them after they happen.

    If he were innately a below-average player, that would be one thing. But Yuni is so much better than this. That he doesn’t care should be earning him a one-way ticket to DFA land.

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  10. John Galt says:

    It was very apparent when Giles turned down a trade to a contender last year that all he was interested in was playing out the string and staying in his comfort zone. He’s got no fire, no competitve drive. Stick a fork in him – he’s done.

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