The Top-Ten Worst Players in Baseball History – Beyond the Box Score

I initially had an thought to jot down a publish about profession “substitute” gamers; guys who made total careers out of being at or round 0 WAR. I then found that Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus wrote a publish with that very same thought, in 2010. He mentioned Joe McEwing and Willie Bloomquist because the historic and modern-day iconic substitute stage guys, and way more. After I realized that Ben had overwhelmed me to this concept, virtually two years in the past, I needed to go in a unique path with this piece. I made a decision to take a look at gamers who weren’t at replacement-level for his or her careers, however as a substitute had careers that resided beneath replacement-level, primarily the worst Main Leaguers of all-time.

For this listing, I solely checked out place gamers, as a result of Baseball-Reference is the one website that has pitching WAR information for pre-1950’s gamers. Additionally I wrote a few weeks in the past that choosing one sort of WAR as a “preferred-type” is probably not one of the best thought, so for this publish the WAR’s cited are all averages between the three main sorts (B-R, FG, and BP). Every of the gamers cited right here within the top-10 (or bottom-10), had moderately lengthy main league careers, minimal of 2000 PA, and profession WAR’s properly beneath 0, take pleasure in:

See more: Worst mlb player ever

10. Tom Veryzer SS (.241/.283/.294 -3.83, in 3098 PA):

Veryzer was a primary spherical draft choose by the Tigers in 1971, he performed 5 seasons for Detroit, earlier than being changed by Alan Trammel. In his closing season with Detroit, he posted a batting line of .197/.230/.254, good for an OPS+ of 30, wRC+ of 26, and a TAv of .187. Veryzer struck out 219 extra occasions in his profession than he had additional base hits, and the shortstop’s protection didn’t make up for his atrocious bat. Veryzer’s glove was price -45 runs in his profession, in keeping with TZR.

9. Ed Romero IF (.247/.298/.302 -4.33, in 2111 PA):

Romero was a utility infielder primarily for the Brewers and Crimson Sox. He solely hit 8 residence runs and stole 9 bases, whereas being caught 10 occasions, in his 12-year main league profession. Romero’s 30 PA, as a 19 year-old in 1977, might have been his greatest season (0.3 avg. WAR), which is gloomy. His profession OPS+ was 67.

8. Andres Thomas SS (.234/.255/.334 avg. WAR -4.50, in 2185 PA):

Thomas was the Braves’ major shortstop within the late 80’s. Thomas posted a profession OPS+ of 61, together with his highest OPS+ coming in 1988, 76. Thomas had respectable energy, however his lack of endurance (2.7% profession walk-rate) actually price him on the plate, his profession .255 OBP is the second-lowest on this listing. Different organizations had been sensible sufficient to not take an opportunity on Thomas when Atlanta let him go after his -2.0 rWAR season, in 1990.

7. Gary Sutherland IF (.243/.291/.308 avg. WAR -5.20, in 3385 PA):

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Sutherland was a utility infielder for bunch of franchises, however spent his most time with Philadlephia and Montreal. His profession wRC+ of 66 and 24 residence runs in 13 seasons, makes me assume that main league groups stored him round for his glove, earlier than his bat. But, defensive metrics rated his protection as being tremendously unhealthy. TZR and FRAA price his glove as being 52 and 40 runs below-average, respectively.

6. Tommy Thevenow IF (.247/.285/.294 avg. WAR* -5.30, in 4484 PA):

Thevenow was a utility infielder, primarily for the Pirates and Cardinals within the ’20s and ’30s. His profession wRC+ and OPS+ are 49 and 51 respectively, and though he hit over .300 in 1933 he was by no means a worthwhile hitter. Thevenow’s two profession residence runs in over 4,000 PA is horrifying unhealthy.

5. Juan Castro IF (.229/.268/.329 avg. WAR -5.97, in 2849 PA):

Castro is the latest member of this listing, having performed for the Phillies and Dodgers, final season. Rob Neyer wrote about Castro, this April and made some excellent/hilarious factors about his profession, I am going to let him care for most of Castro’s description:

Juan Castro hasn’t batted, fielded, or run like a major-league baseball participant.

▪ Castro’s profession batting line is .229/.268/.327, with a 55 profession OPS+. Amongst gamers with no less than 2,500 plate appearances since World Battle II, solely infielders Rafael Belliard and Hal Lanier have been worse.

▪ Taking part in principally shortstop, Castro has been worse than substitute stage by one measure, and merely worse than common by one other.

▪ In 1,103 video games within the majors, Castro has stolen 4 bases … and been caught stealing 5 occasions.

That final might be my favourite Juan Castro True Reality. 4 steals in 17 years. I really feel like I ought to discover all of them and make enjoyable of the catchers who could not throw out Juan Castro, however that might be type of imply, would not it.

So, simply to overview … Juan Castro has typically hit like a minor leaguer, fielded like a minor leaguer, run like a rusty fireplace hydrant … and he is now taking part in in his seventeenth major-league season.

Neyer mentions Rafael Belliard and Hal Lanier, who I want to level out simply missed this listing. Castro now works in Dodgers’ Entrance Workplace, hopefully serving to to develop gamers who will likely be extra worthwhile than he was.

4. Tuck Stainback OF (.259/.284/.333 avg. WAR* -6.10 in 2383 PA):

Stainback is the one major outfielder on the listing, and he spent most of profession with the Cubs and Yankees. Out of 13 profession Main League seasons, Stainback was beneath replacement-level 11 occasions. In Stainback’s debut marketing campaign he hit over .300 however as an outfielder he had extra profession errors (48) than he had residence runs and stolen bases… mixed (44).

3. Dan Meyer 1B/LF (.253/.293/.379 avg. WAR -6.13, in 4032 PA):

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Nook outfield and first base are the usually known as baseball’s “hit-first” positions (excluding DH); thus, in virtually all circumstances for a participant to stay round within the bigs at these positions, they want to have the ability to hit. Meyer couldn’t hit. His profession stretched from 1974-85, and the typical wRC+ for 1B and LF over that point had been 108 and 107, respectively, whereas his profession wRC+ was a a lot decrease, 82. Amongst 1B and LF’s with 2,000 PAs from 74-85, Meyer has the bottom OBP (.293). Meyer didn’t make up for his bat together with his glove. TZR and FRAA “credit score” his glove with costing his groups between 56 and 51.5 runs respectively; that is significantly unhealthy at non-premium defensive positions.

2. Doug Flynn IF (.238/.266/.294 avg. WAR -9.67, in 4085 PA):

In 11 seasons, primarily with the Mets and Expos, Flynn hit seven residence runs, stole 20 bases, and was caught stealing 20 occasions. The utility infielder put up an OPS+ and wRC+ of 58 and 51, respectively in his profession. In 333 PA, Flynn was price -2.3 avg. WAR, in 1977. His profession fWAR (-6.6) and rWAR (-8.5) are terrible, however FRAA measures his glove as being price 39.3 runs beneath common, in his profession, resulting in an outrageously unhealthy -13.9 profession WARP.

1. Invoice Bergen C (.170/.194/.201 avg. WAR* -14.85, in 3228 PA):

My guess is almost all of baseball followers (even actually passionate baseball followers) have by no means heard of Invoice Bergen. Most likely as a result of he performed his profession from 1901-11. In 2011, Joe Pawlikowski of Fangraphs wrote about Bergen, calling him the “Worst Hitter in Baseball Historical past”. Pawlikowski was dead-on in regards to the catcher. In 11 profession seasons, Bergen hit two complete residence runs and had a wRC+ and OPS+ of 16 and 21, respectively. Bergen struck out 354 extra occasions in his profession than he had additional base hits. His greatest season got here with the Cincinnati Reds, in 1903. That season was the one 12 months his batting common was above .200, his wRC+ and OPS+ had been 37 and 41… in his BEST season, that is unbelievably unhealthy.

When discussing Bergen, modern-day glove-first catchers, like Jose Molina and Jeff Mathis come to thoughts. Mathis’ profession wRC+ (48) is horrible, however he is had virtually 2,000 much less PAs, in his profession, than Bergen and his wRC+ remains to be 32 factors increased than Bergen’s. Molina has over 1,000 much less PAs, and possibly won’t ever attain the variety of plate appearances that Bergen had, and put up a way more “respectable” wRC+ of 65.

It is laborious for me to grasp how the Brooklyn Superbas couldn’t discover one other major catcher to exchange the adverse WAR’ing Bergen. In 1909, Bergen’s OPS+ was 1 and his wRC+ was -1, but he performed in 112 video games. That season he had 54 complete bases and 50 strikeouts in 372 PA. Brooklyn was unhealthy that season, their file was 55-98, however had been they actually that unhealthy that they could not discover one other catcher? Their back-up catcher in 1909, Doc Marshall, was unhealthy in 156 PAs (56 OPS+), however nonetheless nowhere close to as horrible as Bergen. Possibly the catcher was unbelievable at dealing with a pitching employees, I actually do not know, however in all honesty Bergen’s lengthy profession doesn’t make any sense to me.

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*-Asterisks word pre-1950’s gamers, who Baseball Prospectus doesn’t listing WARP for.


Each child performed baseball rising up had desires of at some point taking part in within the bigs, solely one of the best of one of the best ever get that likelihood on the present. For reference this is Baseball-Reference’s chart from their WAR rationalization web page, that makes an attempt to point out simply how unbelievable the talent-level on the Main League stage, actually is:

Normal_medium The ten gamers I listed above because the “Worst Gamers in Baseball Historical past” had been all not solely fortunate sufficient to achieve the Main Leagues, however had been additionally fortunate sufficient to have Main League careers; which very, only a few are capable of accomplish. The issue with the gamers on this top-10 is that they fall well-below the substitute stage line above, that separates Main and Minor leaguers. However for no matter motive Main League organizations continued to allow them to play within the bigs.

I feel a part of the explanation that a few of these gamers had been allowed to have precise careers is a matter with the worth of an utility infielder. Nearly each main league group has some type of “utility infielder” or “utility man” on their roster, because it’s at occasions deemed needed. This roster spot might fairly probably be baseball’s most overrated place; though closers might give them a run for his or her cash.

The worth of their “utility” shouldn’t be quantified in WAR, and I am not even certain it ought to be. Bryan Grosnick, of this website, got here up together with his personal statistic to try to quantify the worth of positional utility. Apparently sufficient, that statistic, McE (McEwing rating), is called after the Joe McEwing, who Lindbergh identified as being a profession replacement-player.

The vast majority of the gamers on this listing, and those that simply missed made careers out of being group’s utility infielders. This reality leads me to imagine that both WAR underrates the worth of utility infielders, or that groups overrate their worth. My guess is that groups are likely to overrate the worth of that sort of participant, particularly within the case of the gamers that certified for this listing.

All statistics courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and Baseball Prospectus

You’ll be able to observe Glenn on twitter @Baseballs_Econ

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