Yesterday, Fivethirtyeigtht released an eye-popping story: Albert Pujols is the worst player in baseball. For anyone who has been watching baseball for the past decade-plus, this is a shocker. Pujols has been one of the most feared hitters of this generation and is Cooperstown-bound. He may have taken notice because he slugged two home runs last night, which elevated him to the second-worst WAR in baseball, but make no mistake, the 37-year-old Pujols is at the end of his career.
But who else has been terrible this season? Here are the bottom-ranked players at each position in the league this season:
Pitcher – Chris Tillman (Baltimore Orioles)
There is really nothing positive you can say about Tillman’s performance this season. his ERA is 7.91, his WHIP is 1.95, and he has struck out just 56 batters across 79 2/3 frames this year and he is just 1-7 on the year.
Catcher – Luis Torrens (San Diego Padres)
One of three Rule 5 draft picks that Padres added to their roster this year, Torrens has easily been the worst of the bunch. He is hitting .171/.240/.216, which is bad even by catcher’s standards. He’s also gunning down just 24 percent of potential base stealers and has a -8 defensive runs saved above average.
First Base – Adrian Gonzalez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Luckily for Los Angeles, Gonzalez is no longer the every day first baseman now that Cody Bellinger has supplanted him in the lineup. Gonzalez, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, has seen his play drop significantly in 2017, where he owns a slash line of .240/.286/.337 and he’s clubbed just two home runs after hitting at least 18 over the previous 11 seasons.
Second Base – Danny Espinosa (Tampa Bay Rays)
Espinosa has been so bad this year that the Rays are actually the third team he has played on this season. He was acquired by the Angels in the offseason for pitchers Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin before being released on July 22. Seattle signed him a day later only to release him on Aug. 20 and he latched onto the Rays last week. Espinosa, 30, is laboring through a dismal .164/.238/.276 slash line.
Third Base – Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants)
After Sandoval’s messy divorce with the Red Sox, he returned to the Giants, with whom he won three World Series. Sandoval has committed seven errors this season.
Shortstop – Jose Reyes (New York Mets)
Once considered one of the top shortstops in baseball, Reyes’s quality of play has decreased now that he is in his thirties. He is hitting just .232 and owns a -11 defensive runs saved above average.
Left Field – Cameron Perkins (Philadelphia Phillies)
Perkins got his big league call up in June, but he left little to be desired on the field, owning a slash line of .177/.239/.241. All five of his extra base hits were doubles. With the emergence of Rhys Hoskins in left field, it’s going to be hard for Perkins to find playing time at the major league level in the near future.
Center Field – Denard Span (San Francisco Giants)
Span’s slash line of .266/.318/.413 doesn’t look that bad, but he is tied for the third-worst WAR in baseball due much in part to his ugly -24 defensive runs saved above average, and is -2.2 dWAR is the worst among center fielders.
Right Field – Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies)
Gonzalez has long been the subject of trade rumors when Colorado wasn’t competing, so of course when they fighting to hold onto a Wild Card spot, he is costing them nearly two wins. Gonzalez is slugging .356 this year, .150 below is career average.
Designated Hitter – Albert Pujols (Los Angeles Angels)
There’s nothing I can add that Fivethirtyeight hasn’t already said. Check it out, it’s definitely a worthwhile read.