It’s easy to sit behind a screen and write about how certain players are really great, but what about those players who are just atrocious? In this article, I will break down the six skills that really define a player. These skills are contact, power, batting eye, speed, fielding, and arm. Different players obviously have their own strengths and weaknesses; for this article, I am solely focusing on weaknesses. I will dissect players who are very weak at each of those categories to build the worst fictional player possible. To select the player from each category, I have only used active players who qualified for the batting title with enough plate appearances in 2018. This also goes without saying, but these players may be stronger in different skills. In no way am I deeming these the six worst players in baseball because that is not the case. With that, let’s build the worst player in baseball.
Contact- Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
It is no secret that Davis’ contract will go down as one of the worst in baseball history. Davis was not paid for his contact, but rather his once other-worldly power. Chris Davis honestly looked like he was swinging a garden hose at a marble when he was at the plate. The lefty struck out at an exorbitant 36.8% that led all of baseball. The first basemen also had the seventh worst SwStr% at 14.2. Of all the pitches “Crush” saw in 2018, he whiffed at 14.2% of them, corresponding with his high strikeout percentage. Along with his poor SwStr%, Davis also garnered a contact % of 68.5 – meaning he only made contact with 68.5% of pitches he swung at. This clip was good for sixth worst in baseball. A player with the contact skill of Chris Davis would certainly struggle to find success at the plate.
Power- Billy Hamilton, OF, Kansas City Royals
Billy Hamilton just inked with the Royals and power is quite the opposite of what he is known for. His lack of power makes him the perfect candidate for the “power” skill when building the worst player. Hamilton “smacked” 4 homers in 2018 which put him at third worst among qualified hitters. Per Baseball Savant, Hamilton averaged the lowest average exit velocity (Min. 150 batted ball events) with a measly 79.4 MPH. Also per Baseball Savant, his 0.4 Barrels/Plate Appearance % ranked fourth worst in baseball. Hamilton never has been and never will be a long ball hitter. Rather, he does his damage on the basepaths. Still, that does not save him from being the worst power hitter in baseball.
Batting Eye- Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals
Another Royal is used to build the worst player possible. Although catchers are not known for their strong hitting prowess, they still hold a valuable spot in the lineup. One thing Salvy does not do well is see the pitches he is hitting. O-Swing% is the percent of pitches swung at outside of the zone divided by total pitches outside of the strike zone. Perez ranked dead last in this percentage at 48.4%. Almost half of the pitches that were not in the strike zone, Perez swung at. His swinging habits really limit him as a hitter and it directly points to why his 3.1 BB% ranked second to last across baseball. Salvador is one of the least disciplined hitters in baseball and it showed in 2018. Although he plays at a position thin of depth, it is no excuse to have as poor of a batting eye as he does.
Speed- Albert Pujols, 1B/DH, Los Angeles Angels
Albert Pujols is past his glory days and has been for quite some time. Like other machines, “The Machine” has broken time as he his gotten older. His legs were never a strong suit of his, but they have certainly worsened since he was a young buck. Baseball Savant has measured Pujols’ sprint speed at 22.2 ft./sec., good for dead last in the MLB. Pujols may be excused, however, because of his once elite bat and his ripe age of 38. To his credit, he tallied a dazzling one stolen base. Speed does not come in abundance in baseball, but Pujols is arguably the slowest player in the game and you can certainly see it when watching him try to beat out a ground ball.
Fielding- Miguel Andujar, 3B, New York Yankees
Andujar is the youngest player to contribute a skill to this fantasy player. The young third basemen by no means had an unsuccessful campaign in 2018; he was narrowly bested by Shohei Ohtani in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. Albeit being dangerous with a bat, Andujar is a monumental liability at the hot corner. His -24.5 UZR/150 was nearly 8 points worse than the next closest guy. His -25 defensive runs saved ranks only ahead of Rockies’ outfielder Charlie Blackmon. The sloppy play of the Yankee third basemen was noticeable throughout 2018. Although he may grow out of his lackluster defensive play, his fielding was one of the worst in 2018 and can be used to create the worst player in baseball.
To measure who has the worst arm in baseball, I used the ARM stat from Fangraphs. Per Fangraphs, ARM is “The amount of runs above average an outfielder saves with their arm by preventing runners from advancing.” Both Pollock and Span accumulated the same ARM total and that was -5.2. The aging outfielders have shown they can be solid at the plate, but in the field they have some of the worst arms in baseball. Both of these former stars struggled to throw out runners or prevent them from advancing. Their ARM totals were tied for last across baseball. This fictional player would have a noddle arm if they acquired the arm strengths of Pollock or Span.
To recap, six skills were examined and each skill was represented by the worst player for that skill. A player with Chris Davis’ contact, Billy Hamilton’s power, Salvador Perez’s batting eye, Albert Pujols’ speed, Miguel Andujar’s fielding, and your choice of A.J. Pollock’s or Denard Span’s arm is the worst fictional player in today’s game. I believe this fictional baseball player would be far and away the most unbearable player to watch.
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Featured Photo: Jon Durr/Getty Images