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May 10, 2013

Overthinking It

The Sub-Replacements

by Ben Lindbergh


An Effectively Wild listener named Dewitt sent in this suggestion a few days ago:

Listening to Kazmir podcast, heard you guys refer to Josh Hamilton as one of the 10 worst players in MLB this year—which recalled a local talk show last night enumerating all the ways which Uggla and B.J. Upton have been horrible.

Which leads me to this thought for a piece—the 10 (12?) (20?) worst major leaguers, 2013. And, of course, who you guys think has the best chances of returning to form.

I’m not going to do that, exactly, but I’m going to do something similar: the worst positions of 2013. Of course, many of the worst positions of 2013 are manned by the worst players of 2013, which should make Dewitt happy. (Dewitt hates to see people succeed.) Below I’ve listed every position whose occupants have been half a win below replacement level or worse so far this season (half a win below replacement being an arbitrary but convenient cutoff). Things are going to get better at all of these positions, but time won’t heal all of the wounds. Some will require replacements.

American League

Baltimore Orioles, 2B, -0.8 WARP (Ryan Flaherty, Alexi Casilla, Brian Roberts)
This might be the most predictably weak position on the list. The Orioles went into the season with Brian Roberts penciled in as the starter and next to no backup. “Risky” would be a generous way to describe that decision, given that Roberts averaged 38 games from 2010-12. He hit well in spring training and for the first few games of the season, then suffered an injury on what looked like a routine steal attempt. I took the over on the initial report that he’d miss 2-4 weeks. It’s been almost five weeks, but instead of nearing a return, Roberts is now facing hamstring surgery that will cost him an estimated six additional weeks. I’ll take the over again. Buck Showalter says that Roberts "is going to come back and make a contribution to this club this year,” but even if Roberts does return, it’s hard to believe he’ll stay healthy.

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<< Previous Article
Overthinking It: This ... (05/10)
<< Previous Column
Overthinking It: This ... (05/10)
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Premium Article Overthinking It: The M... (05/16)
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Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (05/11)

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