Thursday, October 31, 2013

The first annual Dan Meyer Awards - the Anti-MVPs

Now that the World Series is over, everyone will be focusing on off season awards. The BBWAA will have theirs. The BBA will have theirs and I have already contributed to that effort. All of the focus will be on players that played wonderfully in 2013. But there should be an award for the worst players in the league. Every top statistic has to have a bottom. Every yin needs a yang. Every Red Sox needs an Astros (too soon?). And so I have created my own: The Dan Meyer Awards

Why Dan Meyer? Good question. I was going to go with Dave Kingman. I mean, how else can you hit over 450 homers in the pre-PED era (we presume) and still not make the Hall of Fame? But Kingman had enough good years to put him in the positive numbers for his career. That didn't make him very good. But he was not bad enough to name an award after.

I considered Doug Flynn, a guy who played over 1,200 games and had unprecedented negative WAR for a guy with that many games. But Flynn could field a bit. He was no Mark Belanger, but he held his own with the glove. He could not hit a lick.

The last guy I considered was Bill Bergen, the worst hitter that ever lived. But again, Bergen was a pretty good catcher as far as we can tell for the early dawn of professional baseball. None of them really fit. And so I settled on Dan Meyer. For a fun tribute to the player, look here.

There were two Major League players named Dan Meyer. One was a pitcher the Braves unfortunately selected in the first round of the 2002 draft. He had one good year in 2009 for the Florida Marlins. But the rest were all bad. The one we want here is the other one. This Dan Meyer was a fourth round draft pick by the Tigers in 1972 and somehow managed to play twelve awful years in the Majors.

Our Dan Meyer could not hit and he could not field. As best as I can tell, his career was prolonged twice by two successful years where he managed to crack over 20 homers and score positive WAR. But other than those two years, he was abysmal. He never had a single season where his fielding approached league average.

Our Dan Meyer played three positions: Left Field, First Base and Third Base. He was not good at any of them and finished with negative runs for all three. Of his twelve big league seasons, he finished with a negative WAR figure eight times. In six of those seasons, he played more than 120 games, so it was not like he was a part-timer.

Meyer played from 1974 to 1985. The first three years were with the Tigers, the next five years were with the Mariners where he had his best years. And his last four were with the Oakland A's. gave him a total of -6.5 rWAR for his career. was a bit nicer and put the figure at -5.5 fWAR.

Meyer is the perfect symbol of these awards. We I salute him! These are not the Silver Slugger Awards. These are the Talc (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2Awards. The Awards will be handed out by position (450 plate appearances were needed to qualify):

First base: Paul Konerko. Konerko has been a really good hitter for a long time which was great because he was no great shakes in the field and he has always been baseball's worst base runner. But his batting bottomed out in 2013. -1.5 rWAR, -1.8 fWAR. Honorable mentions: Adam Dunn, Lyle Overbay. Dunn and Konerko were interchangeable at first base and DH, so either works.

Second base: Jeff Keppinger. Gee, I wonder why the White Sox were so bad this year? Gosh, these numbers are bad. Keppinger had 451 plate appearances, so he just made it. -2.0 rWAR, -1.5 fWAR. His .266 wOBA was beastly (in a bad way). Honorable mention: Darwin Barney whose wOBA was even worse than Keppinger, but whose glove saved him.

Shortstop: Adeiny Hechavarria. The Marlins' shortstop deserves to be here since he has an impossible name to spell and type. Both Fangraphs and B-R agree that Hechavarria cost his Marlins 32 runs on offense. 32 runs!! He was the only shortstop (other than our honorable mention) that met our minimum requirements that finished with a negative WAR in both sites. -1.9 fWAR, -2.1 rWAR (!). Honorable mention: Starlin Castro. That was one awful middle infield for the Cubs, eh?

Third Base: Keppinger could slide in here too. But that's not fair. So the winner is Michael Young. Which probably isn't fair either as he was a sometimes DH, 3B, 1B, etc. But he did enough of them poorly and batted league average and ran the bases poorly and still managed 565 plate appearances. Jackpot! -0.2 fWAR, -1.3 rWAR. Honorable mention: Can we just give it to the entire Yankees' cacophony of third basemen? No? Okay, David Freese then.

Left Field: Vernon Wells. That little devil fooled us for a couple of weeks, eh? He fooled Joe Girardi too and ended up getting 458 suck-the-life-out-of-you-until-you-die plate appearances. -0.8 fWAR, -0.2 rWAR. The Angels did not kill two birds with one stone. They killed two teams. Honorable mention: Dayan Viciedo.

Center Field: Justin Ruggiano. I do not know what happened to Ruggiano this season. He lost 216 points off his OPS from 2012. That is sort of incredible. Thanks to positional values, no center fielder finished below zero in the WAR category. But Ruggiano had negative numbers both on offense and on defense. The latter might be because center is not his best position. Honorable mention: Michael Saunders.

Right Field: Nick Markakis. This was simply a bad year for Markakis and looking at his career, was probably an outlier. All facets of his game tumbled. -0.1 fWAR, -0.1 rWAR. Honorable mention: Drew Stubbs.

Catcher: J.P. Arencibia. This one is not even close. To finish with a negative WAR as a catcher with all those positional points is pretty darned hard to do. Not only did Arencibia finish with an OPS of .592 and a wOBA of .259, but his defense fell too. And if you followed along with his Twitter account, he seemed to be in complete denial. That was one ugly season. Honorable mention: How about Rob Brantly, except he did not get enough plate appearances.

There you have it: Your 2013 Dan Meyer Awards. I would have to go with Adeiny Hechavarria for the anti-MVP. What about pitchers, you ask? I am saving those for tomorrow when the first annual Kyle Davies Awards are announced.


Colin ghost_panda Mieczkowski said...

Paul Konerko has always had a pretty good glove dude so...just saying.

Unknown said...

This list is a good and fun idea but maybe someone that knows more about baseball should write it. To say that Paul Konerko is sub-par defensively is pure stupidity. He is actually one of the better First Basemen in the American League

William J. Tasker said...

Yeah, I guess you're both correct since Fangraphs has him at -39 runs for his career on defense and has him at -52 and -38 as a first baseman. But what the heck do I know, right?

Anonymous said...

Konerko is super-slow and now has no power so keep him on the list even though he still fields well

Paul said...

This article cannot be right.....where are Uggla and B.J. Upton? Those two black holes at the plate tried their best to sink the Braves, who ended up winning the division in spite of them. Both are pretty good dudes, but that is a metric that does get included in WAR computations. Sucking so bad at the plate that Mendoza would be an improvement is a factor. And with Uggla, you also have to factor in subpar fielding.

Mike Lynch said...

I love how people criticize writers for not knowing their stuff, then rely on archaic stats like fielding percentage or worse, basing their opinions on what they see. These are the same idiots who still think Derek Jeter and Kirby Puckett are/were great defensive players.

William J. Tasker said...

What are you going to do, Mike? People do what people do. But thanks much for the comment.

William J. Tasker said...

Paul: Uggla certainly should have been in the honorable mention. His walks put him above Keppinger in scoring. B.J. Upton is a good call. My artificial plate appearance was 450 and Upton had 446! I should have bent the rule a bit and he would have been the guy. Right on.

Gadfly said...

Wait. Where's Kozma at short? Needs at least an honorable mention. Where he should be is riding the bench.

Wizendheimer said...

Wizendheimer here.
I have a good buddy who has this rather consistent habit of farting at the MLB games we attend. As such, I nicknamed him the Fragrant Fan years ago.
That said; why do posters with the least insightful comments always end their posting with a "just saying"?
And what the h*ll does that really mean; just saying?

William J. Tasker said...

Fragrant Fan. hehehe I love it.

Anonymous said...

Konerko was never 100% agree Dunn should be on this as a Sox fan. If Paul was healthy all year I would have no problem. The rest of the list was great.

Bob said...

Only one Mariner makes this list? ONE?

Wow... I'd say you need to watch more NW baseball, but that would just be punishment.


Erik Nelson, Palos Park, IL said...

As a White Sox fan, I agree they had a terrible year following a year in which they probably overachieved. So, at first glance at your article, I noted a good chunk of the players were of my beloved White Sox. And, it upset me a bit. So, I gave it some thought and if you are going to write about the "bad" in baseball, or for that matter, any sport; I guess you point their performances out.

However, isn't "sport" derived from the word "sportmanship"? Why do we - fans, parents, coaches,and writers alike - focus on the bad in sports. Let's talk about and focus on the positive in sports.

I stopped reading Jay Mariotti when he was with the Sun-Times because of his constant badgering and ridiculing of everything related to sport in Chicago. Maybe, I was the only one in Chicago who noted this, but he hasn't written in a Chicago paper in quite some time.

No one likes having their name used to represent a negative - Dan Meyer, Kyle Davies, Mario Mendoza, or even, Roy Munson.

Now, this is the first time (that I know of) that I have read an article you have posted. And, to be honest, I probably will be on the lookout again to see what else you have to offer.

I am sure your prose are better than what you wrote today because it appears you make a living writing. I only hope that I don't ever read that you won the Mariotti award.

William J. Tasker said...

Fair points, Erik. Mr. Davies made almost $8 million in his career and Mr. Meyer made upwards of a million (Marvin Miller was just getting the union going back then) and both will share in one of the best retirement packages in life. They are already part of an elite group to make it to the Majors. I do not dwell on the negative except for a few articles like this to "celebrate" the other side of statistics. I do not make a cent writing, though I would love that not to be so. Apologies about your White Sox. Better days will come. Though I don't get how Robin Ventura and the front office kept their jobs.

Anonymous said...

How about the Tom Seaver award since he was a major influence on Dave Kingman.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're being entirely fair to Dan Meyer. He had a decent OF arm, and he led the league in '75 in AB/SO. In today's game, a similar level of offensive futility would come with 150+ k's. I only mention this because it seems like somebody should defend him.

Anonymous said...

Where is B.J. Upton on this list? He was huge free agent pick up for Atlanta, signed to a 5 year, $75 million contract. He ended up with a .184 batting average and -.6 war.

William J. Tasker said...

Anon: As per B.J., see comments above.