Last night on Twitter, Dave Cameron responded to a statement made by Michael Morse that he was vehemently against being used in the designated hitter role: "My suggestion to all these guys that don't want to DH - Don't suck at fielding, then." That quote leads to today's post which is: Six fielders who should be DHs. Why six? Who knows. All posts in the last week have started with six. Just humor me.
The problem identifying the top six worst defensive players is that Fangraphs and Baseball-reference.com do not always agree on defensive statistics. So the criteria becomes, then, who do both sites agree on as woeful fielders? Three years of data was used in the criteria and then players who are playing out of position are taken out. For example, nobody has lost more runs to average for his fielding than Shawn Kemp. Well, that is because he should not be playing center field. Should we punish Kemp for playing out of position? Perhaps so. But it did not seem fair here because he might actually be good in left or right fields.
So, without further ado, here are six fielders that should be DH's
1. Mark Reynolds - Reynolds has been just about the worst third baseman that baseball has seen in the last twenty years. The Orioles finally got a hint and moved him to first base halfway through last season. And from what was seen of Reynolds there on television, the move seemed to work pretty well. Except the numbers do not agree. According to the fielding metrics, Reynolds was just as bad at first base for his time there (-8). Reynolds has now lost 38 runs for his teams over the last three seasons which is about three and a half wins. In five seasons, he has lost 61 runs for his teams. Ugh. Hey, at least he did not strike out so much.
2. Chris Johnson - Johnson might be one of those guys who is out of position at third base. The Astros did have him play first base for six games last season. And there is a reason why people lump these players into the 1B/DH category like they are the same thing. I do not agree and think first base is a highly underrated important position on the infield. But either way, Johnson should not wear a glove. He has cost his team 32 runs in the field in the last three seasons.
3. Ryan Doumit - This catcher turned outfielder is heading quickly into a DH for the Twins and that is a very good thing. Doumit can hit but he was just about the worst fielding catcher in baseball and him plodding around the outfield is downright scary. His affectionate name here is "DumbMitt." As a catcher, he allowed nine passed balls in two out of three seasons. One of those seasons led the league. He can't throw anyone out either. The Twins used him 48 times as the DH last season. Keep him there, Twinkies.
4. Wilson Betemit - It has always confused me that teams have constantly desired Betemit as a player. Oh, he is versatile and can play all four infield positions...poorly. In fact, his last name is an oxymoron. He is certainly not a bettemitt. He is a worse mitt. Betemit has cost his teams 29 runs in just about the fewest games played on our list for the three years (281). He is a DH and a DH only. He is not versatile but simply can play awful defense in more positions than most people.
5. Mike Morse - Morse is built like a Greek god or something. The guy is a stud. Perhaps he should have been a tight end in football. Or perhaps the women think he has a tight end. But he is more the Johnny Five kind of muscular guy than anything else. There is a reason Morse is fighting the DH role...because he is one. He is not a good first baseman. He is not a good right fielder. He is not a good left fielder. He is a handsome devil of a DH if there ever was one.
6. Carlos Quentin / Ty Wigginton - Quentin has had some injury problems to his wheels over the years, so perhaps this is unfair. But the facts are the facts. Quentin has played parts of six seasons, all in the outfield, and yet has 24 errors. That is a lot for an outfielder. He improved to terrible from really really bad with the Padres last season. He only cost them 8 runs this past season after having double digit types of bad seasons before that. But B-R somewhat disagrees with Fangraphs how bad he has been Wigginton has played for a bunch of teams at a bunch of positions and is really not that good at any of them. According to B-R, he has cost his teams 118 runs in his career. Yeesh. He has played five different positions and all were played poorly.
So there you have it. Those are six players (seven really) who have been so bad on defense that they should be DHs. What other thing do they all have in common? They are all bad base runners too. Slow and fielding do not usually go together well. But speed, or lack of it, does sort of define the DH position.