We’re in the thick of award season with all sorts of gold being handed out that it’s hard to keep track of which players are receiving which accolades and honors. There are things out there for the best fielders, hitters, relievers, starting pitchers, and finally for players who contributed the most community service.
These awards are also handed out by almost every baseball publication or related association you could think of, so I figure why not have Draysbay do it...except, with a small spin.
Presenting the Baseball Razzies!
If other awards recognize the best of the best, ours will recognize the worst of the worst. Now let’s keep in mind that anyone playing major league baseball is already performing at the top of his craft. But even the talented athletes who have major league roster spots can have a down year, or even a dreadful year.
Least Valuable Player
Alexei Ramirez = -2.4 fWAR
To Alexei Ramirez was once the stellar starting short stop for the AL Central winning Chicago White Sox. During his roughly 6-year prime he was averaging over 3 fWAR a season.
That player has been replaced by one who was just below replacement in 2015, and who completed imploded in 2016. Everything was off about his game. He lost his power and speed, and his defense was atrocious. To put in perspective how terrible he was, Ramirez accrued negative 2.4 fWAR.
How bad was he? At -2.4 fWAR he was in a class of his own. His closest competition with least 500 plate appearances was Yonder Alonso who finished the 2016 season with -0.3 fWAR. So Alexei had him beat by over -2 fWAR.
Tyler Goeddel = -1.2 fWAR
The Philadelphia Phillies being the Philadelphia Phillies didn’t care too much about winning this year and it was evident as they selected Tyler Goeddel in the Rule 5 draft with no intention of sending him back to the Rays, no matter how much he struggled.
To the Phillies credit, they did try to shield Goeddel from too much poor performance as they mainly used him as a late inning replacement, but he still put up the worst numbers of any eligible rookie this past season.
In 92 games, Goeddel made just 234 plate appearances and slashed .192/.258/.291 with 4 HR, giving him a wRC+ of 47 and he accrued a fWAR of negative 1.4. The race for last was a lot closer than Alexei’s unanimous LVP as Ramon Flores finished with negative 1.2 just ahead of Goeddel
James Shields = -0.9 fWAR
It pains me to write this. Oh Jamey...what has happened to you? Just five years ago, Shields was carving up lineups while on the mound for the Rays. Now after receiving a huge payday from the Padres prior to the 2015 season, Shields’ career has hit rock bottom...as low as it could be for a player that’ll earn $42 million over the next two years.
Shields split the 2016 season between the Padres and White Sox, slogging through a rough beginning in San Diego and finishing with a complete nosedive in Chicago. His strikeout and walk rates were both the worst of his career while he gave up 40 home runs in just over 180 innings pitched (failing to reach 200 innings for the first time since 2006).
He finished the year with a 5.85 ERA and a 6.01 FIP with a record of 6-19. That ERA/FIP combo was the worst in the majors among all qualified starting pitchers. The only pitcher that came close to Shields’ level of failure was soft-tossing Jered Weaver who finished with negative 0.2 fWAR.
Gas Can Award
Brett Oberholtzer = -1.0 fWAR
This award shall go to the reliever whose walk up music, as he strolled from bullpen to mound, was most often drowned out by the sound of weeping fans. The pitcher with the distinction of being the fans’ worst nightmare was Brett Oberholtzer, who split the year between the Phillies and and Angels. Thanks to his mid-season trade, fans from coast to coast could bear witness to his horror show.
Oberholtzer was obliterated by righties (.400 wOBA) and mashed by lefties (.352 wOBA) over the course of the year. For some reason, the Angels thought it’d be a good idea to have him start a couple games, that predictably produced disastrous results.
J.D. Martinez = -22.6 DEF
Defense is a tricky subject as there is no agreed upon way in which it can be fully graded. There’s the eye test, there’s the old school numbers and the newer statistics, and then you also have the players who are punished by playing behind unforgiving pitchers and in unforgiving conditions.
So with all that being said, the winner of the Lead Glove award has to be J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers who was well below the rest of the field with his terribleness in the outfield. You can excuse the Tigers for having to play him in the field as he shares roster spots with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, but he certainly makes them pay for it.
Martinez had the lowest defensive runs above average (DEF) of any other qualified major leaguer, while also ranking among the league’s worst in DRS and UZR. He did this, despite playing about 300 innings less than the other close contenders.
Adeiny Hechavarria = 56 wRC+
The slap hitting, defensive whiz short stop. That stereotypical player role had been on its way out of the game, but mister Hechavarria thinks it should stick around for the time being as he provided little, to no help at the plate while no fully excelling at defense but was above average with the glove.
The reason Hechavarria receives the award is due to him playing nearly the full season and putting up these kind of numbers: .236/.283/.311 with 3 HR over 155 games and 547 plate appearances. The next closest player in terms of wRC+ was the aforementioned Alexei Ramirez who finished the year with 63 wRC+
So there you have it, the 2016 Draysbay Baseball Razzies
If you have any disagreements or any other awards you’d like to suggest be handed out, please let us know in the comments.