Earlier today, we took a look at the players who were leading the league in WAR to begin the month of July. If we are anything here at The Outside Corner, it is fair and balanced. As such, in the interest of equal time, let’s take a look at the other end of the leaderboard to see who is “winning” the race to have the worst WAR in all of baseball this year.
Michael Choice (-1.6 WAR)
The rash of injuries the Rangers have suffered has forced them to turn to Choice on a nearly everyday basis the last few weeks and it isn’t going well. They could literally have their, wait for it… choice (nailed it) of any other player in the Majors and they would be better off. The scary part is that Texas doesn’t seem inclined to bench Choice anytime soon. He’s going to be hard to beat.
Torii Hunter (-1.3 WAR)
After years of thriving on the back of an absurdly high BABIP, Torii Hunter has come crashing back down to earth along with his BABIP, which now sits at a below average .263. Injury has played a factor as has a particularly brutal rating on defense so far this year, but let’s just focus on the BABIP so everyone that spent two years calling his BABIP unsustainable can have their little moral victory.
Cody Ross (-1.2 WAR)
Arizona finally seems to have realized that Ross is just terrible. His playing time was finally reduced in the last month, which appears to have helped him step up his performance. Now he is getting more rest for his wonky hip and getting exposed against right-handed pitching less frequently, which is really disappointing because he seemed like he could’ve made a real run unseating Michael Choice.
Justin Maxwell (-1.1 WAR)
Now this is special, Maxwell has compiled his -1.1 fWAR mark in a scant 20 games and 45 plate appearances. Eat your heart out, Freddy Galvis. Maxwell hasn’t been as bad as Galvis on offense, though his .190 wOBA is hardly worth bragging about, but he has managed to be quite awful in the field despite his limited work. Alas, Maxwell was designated for assignment earlier in the week to make room on the roster for Raul Ibanez, which probably should earn him bonus negative WAR.
Jedd Gyorko (-1.1 WAR)
Way to go, Jedd. You’ve been so bad that you got GM Josh Byrnes fired. Probably. OK, that might be an overstatement, but the horrific failure of Gyorko this year probably didn’t do the now unemployed Byrnes any favors. Gyorko was battling injury earlier in the year but should be healthy now and it hasn’t helped much at all. The good news is that with a fire sale looming in San Diego, there is a strong chance that Gyorko will continue to play everyday so that he can continue to compile negative value.
Paul Maholm (-0.9 WAR)
Maholm has been banished to the bullpen since our last update, but he has also managed to finally have more strikeouts than walks. That hasn’t helped him very much though. He shaved 0.1 off his WAR total, but he is still our “leader.” He’s being used primarily in mop-up work now, so his opportunities to drastically alter his WAR will be limited going forward.
Eric Stults (-0.8 WAR)
Oh, look, another Padre. There seems to be a trend here. Stults has been terrible since Opening Day, but his rotation spot doesn’t seem to be in danger. Much like Gyorko, that potential Padres fire sale is really going to work in his favor. One would think that San Diego might just wise up and cut loose a 34-year old pitcher that, well, can’t pitch, but it looks like they just need the warm body to eat innings.
Wandy Rodriguez (-0.8 WAR)
Wandy is official done for the season, so he is going to need the rest of the field to come back to him if he is going claim the title. We’re all pulling for you, Wandy.
Marco Estrada (-0.8 WAR)
With perfectly normal strikeout and walk rates, Estrada seems like he should be a decent player. He’s even benefiting from a low BABIP. The problem is he’s given up all the homers, every single one of them. He has surrendered 26 dingers already this year. That is more than a lot of starters will allow in a full season. In fact, Estrada allowed just 19 last year in 128 innings (he’s at 102 innings so far this year). The Brewers, despite being real contenders, see fit to let him work out his issues though. That’s probably best because it is nearly impossible to continue allowing homers at his current 2.25 HR/9 rate.
Sergio Romo (-0.7 WAR)
And now it suddenly makes sense why the Giants removed Romo from the closer role despite his 22 saves on the season and why saves are considered such an overrated statistic. Romo has been giving up homers at an alarming rate and will now probably go a long while before he sniffs another high leverage situation, which might actually help him avoid remaining in the bottom of the WAR rankings.