With Major League Baseball's All-Stars now officially announced in the form of an awkward studio TV show, it seems like a perfectly good time to ruin the buzz of this year's All Star Game and instead, focus on the negatives.
In the midst of celebration and discussion over the chosen American & National League squads, I decided to create a starting lineup of players who have massively underachieved in 2013 using a metric called wOBA (weighted on-base average) as a means of evaluation. The statistic was introduced and created by "Tom Tango" (a pseudonym), a sabermetrician who for years consulted with several Major League teams, and is now currently consulting "exclusively with the Chicago Cubs."
So what is Weighted On-Base Average? It's a theory based on the idea that not every hit should be considered fair or equal; something not understood by batting average which measures the amount of hits over at-bats (eg. a .300 batting average would equate to three hits for every 10 at-bats). It also takes issue with other statistics used to measure offensive performance: on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (on-base + slugging) and so forth.
- Weighted On-Base Average combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value. While batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage fall short in accuracy and scope, wOBA measures and captures offensive value more accurately and comprehensively.
Fangraphs also lists the following scale as a good "rule of thumb" to understanding the range of wOBA. 0.400 is considered "excellent," 0.370 "very good," 0.340 is "above average", 0.320 is "average," 0.310 "below average", 0.300 "poor", and lastly 0.290 being "awful."
To further understand the remarkable range here, Detroit Tigers Third Baseman Miguel Cabrera leads all of baseball with a "Babe Ruthian" weighted on-base average of 0.466! On the flip side, Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria's wOBA is listed at 0.249, worst in the league. That's right, folks... that's 0.041 away from just reaching the "awful" mark.
The following team is only made up of qualified players based off the minimum amount of plate appearances. It not only takes into account their wOBA from this season, but also weighs it against their career wOBA. Numbers are accurate as of Monday, July 8th, 2013.
The 2013 Major League Baseball All-Disappointment All-Star Lineup
Catcher: Miguel Montero - Arizona Diamondbacks
- 2013 wOBA: .284 (worst among qualified catchers in MLB)
- Career wOBA: .338
1B: Paul Konerko - Chicago White Sox
- 2013 wOBA: .300 (worst among qualified first baseman in MLB)
- Career wOBA: .366
2B: Jeff Keppinger - Chicago White Sox
- 2013 wOBA: .255 (worst among qualified second baseman in MLB)
- Career wOBA: .317
3B: Martin Prado - Arizona Diamondbacks
- 2013 wOBA: .291
- Career wOBA: .334
SS: Starlin Castro - Chicago Cubs
- 2013 wOBA: .263 (worst among all qualified shortstops)
- Career wOBA: .320
LF: David Murphy - Texas Rangers
- 2013 wOBA: .291
- Career wOBA: .341
CF: BJ Upton - Atlanta Braves
- 2013 wOBA: .258
- Career wOBA: .329
RF: Josh Hamilton - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- 2013 wOBA: .300
- Career wOBA: .377
It is important to note that many of these players in the second half will likely progress towards their mean (Josh Hamilton just two weeks ago was all the way at .276, nearly .100 points below his career average). These are all players with several years experience at the big league level and none of these players are as bad as the numbers say they are this season. But if you start to see a downward trend in wOBA not just over the course of months, but over a few seasons... then it's time to get very concerned.
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