Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Who's the Worst? Redux

Looking at the Hardball Times' stat of Runs Created per Game is nice, because it uses the number of outs the player himself has made, times 27, as the definition of "game." (Confused by Runs Created? Click on the link, go to the glossary, and find the definition. It's a nice way of measuring performance.)

By that definition, Juan Pierre is the 25th-worst regular major leaguer right now. Despite leading the league in plate appearances, he also leads in outs. According to THT, he is averaging 3.4 RC per 27 outs. That's bad, but it's not the worst.

So who is? Of the 24 players worse than him at the moment, more than half (13) are shortstops or catchers. While they're bad, I don't feel like I can pick on them. They play key defensive positions and aren't expected to perform like a corner infielder or an outfielder. Picking on Jason Kendall or Ronny Paulino just isn't all that fun.

Let's look at the other 12 -- including Juan -- to see how they stack up.

Alex Gordon / 2.6
Robinson Cano / 2.8
Jim Edmonds / 2.8
Ronnie Belliard / 2.9
Ty Wigginton / 3.1
Scott Rolen / 3.1
Joe Borchard / 3.2
Garrett Atkins / 3.2
Josh Barfield /3.2
Sean Casey / 3.2
Chris Duffy / 3.3
Jermaine Dye / 3.4
Juan Pierre / 3.4

Let's pick, for a moment, on Scott Rolen. Big contract, offensive position, 3.1 RC/G. But: he's almost certainly hurt, and if he gets healthy, his performance will likely improve.

Joe Borchard, come on down! You play right field.... but it appears that you have lost your job. The outwatch will not pile on.

No, friends... I think in a squeaker, the Worst Regular Major Leaguer, right now is.... Jim Edmonds! You play center field! You are tied for the second-worst non-catcher non-shortstop RC/G in baseball! With a slumping second baseman! And you make a lot more than he does!

Unless I'm wrong and it's Sean Casey. He's been stinky, like old cheese.


jimbilly4 said...

I really don't see the point in protecting Jason Kendall. Yes, it is arguably the most difficult defensive position on the team, but come on.
He is OPSing .437. That is like saying you got a 437 on your combined SAT. Tell me there are not a hundred minor league catchers bouncing around that could top that. And for much less than 13 million.

I mean Holy Crap, is there a better example of the rapid decline in offensive skills a life of catching induces? Let me take this as opportunity 357 to mention that Russell needs more days off, no matter when he started catching.

Humma Kavula said...

This is not about the Love That Always Speaks Its Name (i.e., your desire to have Russell Martin's babies).

This is about inability to hit.

And you're right -- inability to hit, thy name is Kendall.

Is he really making $13 million this year? For the A's? And are the A's paying that? If so, I do aver: he's the worst major leaguer.

jimbilly4 said...

Kendall's contract is a bit complicated. He gets paid 13 million this year. Oakland pays 8 million of it, Pittsburgh the remaining 5 million.

So two teams are pooling their combined resources for the worst offensive performance in baseball.

One thing to note in the article on the trade, the big caveat was that Kendall had been so heavily used at Pittsburgh. He was an all star when he was young and played 150+ games a year, but at age 33 is ready for the glue factory. Does his early career trajectory remind you of anyone?

Oh, and Juan Pierre is one 0 for 5 away from being sub 270/300/300/600. Yikes. See, I didn't drift too far off topic.