The 2014 MLB No-Star Team
As the best players in baseball gather for the 2014 MLB All Star Game festivities in Minneapolis today, there are more than a few players who would like to put a dreadful first three-and-a-half months behind them.
These are the MLB No-Stars, the guys who have been an anchor around the necks of their prospective franchises, weighing them down, preventing them achieving even greater feats of strength and accomplishment.
Heck, they mean well, and baseball is pretty hard, ya know. But since league officials insist on keeping track of who wins all these games and compiles all these numbers and stuff, it's only fair to see who's stinking up the joint.
Some of these guys make lots of money. Some are young players trying to find their footing. But whatever their station is in this great baseball game of life, these are the underperforming position players through the first portion of the 2014 season.
|1B-Nick Swisher (CLE)||.208||.288||.285||8||-0.87||-1.0|
|2B-Aaron Hill (AZ)||.241||.275||.281||7||-1.16||-0.7|
|3B-Matt Dominguez (HOU)||.237||.286||.287||11||-1.04||-0.4|
|SS-Everth Cabrera (SD)||.218||.256||.245||3||-2.51||-1.0|
|LF-Domonic Brown (PHI)||.227||.279||.267||6||-1.58||-1.2|
|CF-Will Venable (SD)||.201||.258||.243||2||-1.92||-0.5|
|RF-Carlos Beltran (NYY)||.216||.271||.291||9||-0.58||-0.8|
|C-Tyler Flowers (CHW)||.218||.273||.261||5||-1.49||0.0|
In regards to offensive players, I decided to limit my candidates to players with at least 250 plate appearances. This would assure we are looking at mostly starters and not part-time players.
Cleveland's Nick Swisher was a difficult call over Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, but it was close. Both are big salary guys, with Swisher making at least $44 million from 2015-2017, while Howard is owed at least $60 million next year through '17. Yuck. Swisher's nERD of -0.87 - meaning a lineup full of Nick Swishers would score .87 runs less per game than a lineup full of league average players - is slightly worse than Howard's, -0.77, with Howard out-homering Swisher 15-to-8. That's why Swisher gets the nod here.
Second base is manned by Arizona's Aaron Hill, but only because San Diego's Jedd Gyorko's 221 plate appearances this year don't meet my 250 plate appearance criteria. Hill's nERD of -1.16 and -0.7 fWAR are worst among all qualifying second basemen, although they are better than the numbers Gyorko put up, with a nERD of -2.20 and fWAR of -1.2. Meanwhile, Gyorko's double play mate, Cabrera, has easily outpaced the rest of baseball as the worst everyday shortstop in the Majors this year. His -1.0 fWAR is worst at the position, and his nERD of -2.51 is 385th in the Majors.
At third, Houston's Matt Dominguez narrowly beats out the Cubs' Mike Olt, mainly because Olt only has 204 at bats this year, compared to Dominguez' 385. Among qualified third basemen, Dominguez' fWAR of -0.4 is worst among third sackers, as is his .286 on base percentage.
In left field, I went with the Phillies' Domonic Brown, although if I had lowered the bar to 200 plate appearances, the Rangers' Michael Choice probably would have been the choice. Get it? Choice...choice? OK, I'm done. Brown's fWAR of -1.2 was the lowest among all qualified left fielders, and the former All-Star has a nERD of -1.58, all while playing terrible defense.
In center, I desperately wanted to give this spot to the Braves' B.J. Upton, but fortunately for him, there are candidates playing even worse. My choice was another Padre, Will Venable, who has accumulated an fWAR of -0.5 in 271 plate appearances as San Diego's center/right fielder. Los Angeles' Matt Kemp and Chicago's Junior Lake were also in the running for this spot. I'll bet they're disappointed. Sorry, guys.
And in right field, the Yankees' Carlos Beltran was easily the worst among his peers, with an fWAR of -0.8 and a nERD of -0.58, both worse than runner-up Torii Hunter of the Tigers. It's been a real bummer of a season for Beltran, and that was before a batting practice mishap that gave him a concussion last week.
Finally, at catcher, the White Sox' Tyler Flowers has been especially bad at the plate, tied in fWAR with the recently-released A.J. Pierzynski. It's a good thing Flowers is a good defender, because his 36.6% K-rate and -1.49 nERd are both pretty terrible.
|SP1-Justin Verlander (DET)||4.88||1.46||3.21||6.70||2.08||1.9|
|SP2-Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL)||4.52||1.54||5.42||7.95||1.63||0.5|
|SP3-Ricky Nolasco (MIN)||5.90||1.62||2.43||6.25||1.57||0.6|
|SP4-Justin Masterson (CLE)||5.51||1.65||5.14||8.54||1.79||-0.8|
|SP5-Eric Stults (SD)||4.98||1.44||2.08||5.35||1.38||-0.9|
|CL-Joe Nathan (DET)||5.61||1.51||3.74||9.36||0.68||0.0|
The rotation is fronted by Detroit's Justin Verlander. Yes, the same Verlander who has the seventh-highest ERA among starters in baseball. I wanted to find the worst "ace" out there, and oddly, Verlander was it. The worst number two pitcher, Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez, is walking just under 5.5 guys per nine innings. Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco has the highest ERA of all qualified starters in the Majors, while Cleveland's Justin Masterson has an fWAR of -0.8, which is hard for a starting pitcher to accumulate. Finally, San Diego's Eric Stults (hey, another Padre!), has the worst fWAR among all qualified Major League starters. Congratulations, Eric!
Finally, Detroit's Joe Nathan edged San Francisco's Sergio Romo for worst closer this year. Nathan's ERA was a bit higher while walking more than a batter per nine innings more than Romo. Both contenders are undoubtedly looking to trade for relievers this month.
So, good work, everybody! Hopefully we won't see you back here next year! Until then, enjoy your fishing!