Sunday, July 25, 2010

50 Worst MLB'ers

Good friend and brilliant reader, Jason, comment on our Top 50 Baseball Player series: “Bad contracts can [be] almost as harmful as good contracts can be helpful.”

Since this will always be a place for the readers, we’ll deliver on his earlier request for “the opposite post, starring Alfonso Soriano [sic]”.

The following is our humble attempt to list the worst MLB players in the game.

Players included either do not perform well enough to merit their place on a Major League roster, or they are grossly overpaid.

There are subtle ways to consider the question “Who are the worst players in baseball?” I mean, are we asking who are the least valuable players in the Majors? We're obviously not talking about the worst players in the minors who could be working at Sears in a few months. But, are we asking who has the most untradeable contract? Who has the worst skills? Worst production?

This is a tough exercise because of the cost of dollars varies from team to team. Unless you’re a Yankee or Red Sox fan, if your team has an albatross contract assigned to someone playing below All Star levels, your team is going to suffer. (See: Chicago Cubs)

Usually, it’s about the money. Dave Cameron’s Negative Trade Value column concluded with Alex Rodriguez as the player with the most negative trade value. He’s certainly not the worst player in baseball.

Looking at production value calculators, like this sorted list on fangraphs, show Adam Lind is having a really bad year – 3rd worst among all active players. He’s not the 3rd worst player in the Majors.

Pedro Feliz and Brandon Wood are the two players who eclipse Lind in the futility of their production but I’m also not sure how terrible they are. They’ve had their moments, and Wood still presumably has a future. They rate so low because their teams gave them so many opportunities.

We’re going to try and look at the league’s players through the prism combining salary, skills, production, perceived value, opportunity cost, true talent, and perceived talent, and true talent – which, unfortunately, often takes a back seat to the other influences.

We do not like to be perceived as too negative here on the ol’ blog. Instead of focusing on who are the most overpaid, underperforming players, we can look at this as an exercise to see who the Best Agents are.

Which agents get teams to overpay their clients the most? Who is representing MLB players who aren’t much better than other veteran players who are out of jobs? Yeah, that’ll work. Let’s try to have some fun with this.

Based on popular demand, we present the BAseball Reality Tour 50 Worst MLB’ers:

50. Josh Beckett, Red Sox
49. Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs
48. Ryan Theroit, Cubs
47. Reggie Willits, Angels
46. David Eckstein, Padres
45. Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mariners
44. Craig Counsell, Brewers
43. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
42. Robb Quinlan, Angels
41. Garret Anderson, Dodgers
40. Todd Coffey, Brewers
39. Randy Wynn, Cardinals
38. John Grabow, Cubs
37. Ian Snell, Mariners
36. Todd Helton, Rockies
35. Jason Bay, Mets
34. Mike Jacobs, Mets
33. Wily Taveraz, Braves
32. Jason Kendall, Royals
31. Willie Bloomquist, Royals
30. Nate McLouth, Braves
29. Dontrelle Willis, Giants
28. Aaron Rowand, Giants
27. Jeff Suppan, Cardinals
26. Randy Wolf, Brewers
25. Latroy Hawkins, Brewers
24. Barry Zito, Giants
23. Matt Holliday, Cardinals
22. Aaron Miles, Cardinals
21. Kei Igawa, Yankees
20. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
19. Chone Figgins, Mariners
18. Derek Lowe, Braves
17. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
16. Gil Meche, Royals
15. Milton Bradley, Mariners
14. Garrett Atkins, Orioles
13. Pedro Feliz, Astros
12. Jeff Francouer, Mets
11. Brandon Lyon, Astros
10. Chad Qualls, Diamondbacks
9. Jason Marquis, Nationals
8. Carlos Lee, Astros
7. Oliver Perez, Mets
6. Yuniesky Betancourt, Royals
5. Gary Matthews, Jr., Reds/Angels
4. Travis Hafner, Indians
3. Eric Chavez, A’s
2. Carlos Zambrano, Cubs
1. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs

I don’t claim to know everything. In fact, I’m closer to knowing nothing. This has always been a forum for discussion. Please let us know who else should be on this list. Who are we underrating? Is Josh Beckett still a stud? Did we err by omitting the big contract club of Arod, Holliday, and Ryan Howard? Brandon Webb was only included because his $8.5 million option should never have picked up.

Overall, who’s bad? Who’s worse? Also, what does it say for your favorite franchise? Do they have a player, or two, or more on the list? What does it say about teams like the Rangers, who don’t have any players listed? The Reds, also should be excluded because Gary Matthews, Jr is still the Angels problem, financially.

It's upsetting to think of the Cubs future with Soriano and Zambrano eating up most of the budget and post game buffet for the next few years. Maybe I'm being to harsh on them, by including five Cubs on this list. They're lucky that I didn't also include Carlos Silva and Ryan Dempster. They were in the running the whole time. In fact, I had Silva as high as 14th on the list until I decided to formally acknowledge his useful first half.

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