Today is officially the worst day on the baseball calendar. There is literally nothing happening today – no games, no home run derby, no All-Star events. Absolutely nothing.
So why not take advantage of this quiet time to have some fun looking at mid-season WARs! I did this at the beginning of the season when sample sizes were incredibly small. Now, with over half the season in the books, we should be getting a clearer indication of who has been good and who has been bad.
And who has been downright awful.
The above tables show the best players in baseball in terms of WAR. For total WAR (which combines offense and defense to provide a full view of a player), most of the names in the top-10 are guys you’d expect: Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Trout, Stanton, McCutchen, Goldschmidt. Josh Donaldson is proving that last year was no fluke, and guys like Seager, Lucroy and Brantley have blossomed. Jason Heyward is a bit of surprise. Jose Bautista is the top Blue Jay, ranking 18th in the majors.
Offensively, there are no real surprises, aside from perhaps Brantley. Two Jays rank in the top-10 which is great to see. Likewise, there are no real surprises on the defensive side of the ball either, as baseball’s top defenders are well recognized. The biggest disappointment has to be that Ryan Goins is still considered Toronto’s top defensive player, despite not playing in the big leagues for months.
This where things get interesting. In terms of baseball’s worst total WAR, a few of those names jump right off the screen, namely Raul Ibanez, Matt Kemp, Domonic Brown, Jedd Gyorko, and Alfonso Soriano. These are former All-Stars, former near-MVP’s, and guys who were still extremely useful to their teams as recently as 2013. We knew they were having down years in 2014, but this has to be considered a heavy disappointment. It’s also interesting to see that Brad Glenn put up a -0.4 WAR with Toronto in such limited playing time. That’s rough.
Two other points to make. 1 – how bad of a fielder does Matt Kemp have to be to put up a -2.4 WAR? That is abysmal, and much, much worse than Castellanos. 2 – I think Jays fans will agree that Melky Cabrera is MILES ahead of last year in terms of his defense – yet he is still ranked 1,042nd in the majors. Imagine how his dWAR would have looked if he played a full season last year? Yikes.
You can’t argue the top-2 in terms of WAR. Adam Wainwright and Felix Hernandez were the starting pitchers of last night’s All-Star game. But how about Toronto’s Mark Buehrle slotting in at #3 in all of baseball, tied with the great Clayton Kershaw? Very impressive. The two biggest surprises for me are Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel, one current and one former Cub. Was not expecting that kind of performance from those two.
On the worst WAR list, it is no surprise to see Ernesto Frieri. The former Angels closer was just horrendous early in 2014. It also seems as if Edwin Jackson is on this list every year. How he keeps finding pitching jobs is beyond me. Finally, poor Sergio Santos ranks 595th in major league baseball. It might be time to cut ties with him before he sinks any lower.