Yesterday, we took a look at the players who were leading the league in WAR to begin the month of May. 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.
Nate Schierholtz (-0.8 WAR)
After a small breakout season in 2013, Schierholtz is un-breaking out or breaking back in or whatever the antithesis of breaking out is. He’s striking out a ton and seldom walking. Ironically, he’s struggling the most with right-handed pitching, so it isn’t even as if moving him into more of a strict platoon will cure what ails him. It could be awhile before he gets this figured out.
Freddy Galvis (-0.8 WAR)
Galvis only has 33 plate appearances, so he’s really making the “most” of them to have a WAR this low in such limited playing time. It helps that he has just one base hit in those 33 plate appearances. As a reserve player, he is going to have a tough time getting out of this hole quickly, but it is also hard to see how he could continue to be so inept.
Billy Butler (-0.8 WAR)
Country Breakfast is being served cold this year.
/drops mic and leaves the stage
But seriously, Butler has been a disaster this season. Normally he can at least be counted on to hit for average but that isn’t even happening this year. Couple that with his continued loss of power and his lack of defensive value and you have yourself a player that is going to have to turn things around with his bat in a big hurry or he is going to be reappearing on this list again and again in the coming months.
Jedd Gyorko (-0.7 WAR)
Gyorko has been miserable this season, but that didn’t stop the Padres from giving him a $35 million extension two weeks ago. That really has to soften the blow of his dreadful .198 wOBA. Gyorko only just returned from paternity leave the other day, so perhaps getting that time off and seeing his twin boys come into this world will free him up to start hitting again.
Robbie Grossman (-0.7 WAR)
Phew! That was close. Something would’ve been terrible wrong in the world if this list somehow didn’t include an Astro, but Grossman just barely made the cut. Grossman only has 55 plate appearances in which he has logged a .255 wOBA, but the real damage he has done has been in the field where he has been a disaster. However, Grossman has been such a disaster that he was optioned two Triple-A two weeks ago, so he’s going to have to earn his way back to the majors if he wants to get his name off of this list.
Shelby Miller (-0.6 WAR)
Miller is an unlikely player to be on this list seeing how he has a 3.15 ERA. However, he also has 6.19 FIP and is walking 5.5 batters per nine innings and coughed up seven homers already. In other words, he isn’t nearly as good as his ERA suggests, but he also probably isn’t as bad as his peripherals insist. He may not bounce all the way back to being a rising star, but odds are he will regress to the mean and at least get back into positive WAR territory before long.
Jose Veras (-0.6 WAR)
Veras was the Cubs’ closer for like a minute before he struggled so badly that he got moved down the depth chart. He then proceeded to land on the DL with an oblique injury. He did all this while logging just 5.2 innings. He should be back in about two weeks, so he will get a chance to dig his way out of the hole, but he is probably going to have to do it as a back-of-the-bullpen guy.
Eric Stults (-0.6 WAR)
It is hard to believe that a guy who plays his home games in Petco can have a 2.2 HR/9 ratio, but Stults is pulling it off. That can’t possibly last, so that should give him hope of escaping this list. Of course, if it doesn’t happen soon, he may not have a rotation spot from which to improve his numbers from.
Ernesto Frieri (-0.6 WAR)
Yet another fallen closer. Frieri does this. For two or three weeks at a time he completely loses all command of his pitches and start getting knocked around like a pinata. Eventually, he works his way out of it and regains his role. Assuming there isn’t something physically wrong with him, he should get his mechanics ironed out and push that WAR back into positive territory.
Mike Pelfrey (-0.6 WAR)
A 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is pretty good. A 2-to-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio is definitely not. That’s basically where Pelfrey is at this season with 15 walks and 8 strikeouts in 19.2 innings of work. Pelfrey is just awful and based on comments coming out of Minnesota, he may not be long for the rotation, which is great news if he wants to be our WAR loser for the year. He can follow the Joe Blanton model of being terrible in the rotation, getting banished to the bullpen where he gets lit up in long relief once per week and runs away from the rest of the field. I really like Pelfrey’s odds.