After yesterdays post regarding the best ATB player to draft, Brian B posed a great question – who is the worst player in ATB history? We all want the best players and spend plenty of time trying to determine who is worthy of a draft pick, but who we should be avoiding is almost as important.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. In ATB 11, shortstop Woody English batted .178 / .247 / .199 in 473 at bats for World Team Police and by all accounts this is the single worst season I've come across. But English hasn't been drafted in years and likely never will be again, so in order to avoid a short article, let's widen the net.
Instead, we'll ask who the worst regular that owners still want on their team. To do this, we'll only allow players who've been drafted each of the past three years and accumulated over 900 at bats
158 players meet this criteria and Keith Hernandez is the worst batter, by a fairly large margin. In 924 plate appearances the slick fielding first basemen has recorded a .541 OPS (.209 / .261 / .281).
He's great in the field – Ex/50 – so maybe we should let him off the hook. Not surprisingly, the 18 worst batters all have plus fielding, either in terms of error rate, range, or both. The first batter on the list who's a liability in the field is Howard Johnson.
Johnson is a great example of how crappy memories can be. Most owners with 6+ years of tenure will remember the breakout campaign HoJo enjoyed a few year back – slamming 31 home runs and driving in 108 for the Willets Point "Mechanics" (incidentally, owner Matt B took the season off this year). This is the same "Mechanic" team that was lucky enough to have that magical year from Greg Maddux (23-3, 1.92 ERA) and the combo led them to a 90 win season.
Since then however, Johnson's been abysmal, and over the last three seasons has batted .213 / .268 / .387, and combine that with Fr/112 defense, he has really hurt is teams. Still, his 355 resims are solid enough at .201 / .301 / .433 and it's understandable why he's still drafted.
Johnson dropped to part time duty the last two seasons (less than 300 PA in each), but what about players that get 500 plate appearances a year – who is the worst of that lot? Pop Lloyd has a .620 OPS but sports Ex/75 defense, so next up is Buddy Myer at .661 OPS. He's bad, but you could do a lot worse than a .336 OBP from a middle infielder, especially considering the last two seasons his played in extreme pitchers parks.
Maybe we need to do this by position – here's a chart by position, with blue shade for full time players and the peach shade for part time players:
What say you – who are the worst ATB players at the moment? Personally, my vote goes to either Paul Molitor or Keith Hernandez.