Pity Nick Blackburn

In some ways, 2009 could be considered the year when defense became cool again. After seeing a shift away from glovework during the past 20 years, a handful of teams adopted outfields with multiple center fielders playing along side each other, and plodding sluggers saw their value in free agency crash through the floor. In both the blogopshere and MLB, defense is getting the respect it deserves again.

So, with that in mind, let me present to you the worst outfield defense of all time*, taking the field today for the Minnesota Twins.

LF – Delmon Young, career -17.3 UZR/150 in left field.
CF – Michael Cuddyer, career -6.3 UZR/150 in right field. He’s playing center!
RF – Jason Kubel, career -15.7 UZR/150 in right field.

Reports that the Twins have acquired Adam Dunn and plan on starting him at shortstop have yet to be confirmed. I know Denard Span is hurt and they wanted to give Morneau a half-day off by DH’ing him, but really Ron Gardenhire? Young-Cuddyer-Kubel seems like a good idea to you?

At least he’s not doing with Scott Baker or Kevin Slowey on the mound, but let’s pretend that Blackburn is some kind of extreme groundball guy. His career GB% is 44.8%, just barely above league average. He is, however, an extreme pitch to contact guy, averaging just 4.41 K/9 in his major league career. He’s not going to get outs on his own, but relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

The outfield defense that Gardenhire gave him today consists of two designated hitters and a poor defensive corner outfielder. Good luck, kid. You’re going to need it.

*It’s hyperbole. I’m sure there’s been a worse outfield put on the field at some point in history.

We hoped you liked reading Pity Nick Blackburn by Dave Cameron!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

newest oldest most voted

The CWS OF. For sure the worst outfield.