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Saturday, July 03, 2004

The 10 Worst First Basemen of 2004 

Inspired by a conversation with my dad about John Olerud, I've compiled a list of the ten worst first basemen so far this season. To qualify, a first baseman must lead his team is games played at the position (exception: David McCarty leads the Red Sox in games at first over David Ortiz, 43 to 30, but McCarty only has 90 at-bats on the season, so he was disqualified). There are a lot of ways to rate players, taking in all kinds of considerations like power, defensive ability, on-base average, and many others. Since a first baseman's value is largely at the plate as a hitter, I've ignored defense altogether (all apologies to the defensive wizardry of Johnny-O) and ranked all eligible players by on base plus slugging. Here's the list:

10 (tie). Julio Franco, Atlanta; Shea Hillenbrand, Arizona; .784 OPS
9. Carlos Pena, Detroit; .773
8. Rafael Palmeiro, Baltimore; .771
7. Carlos Delgado, Toronto; .753
6. Shawn Green, Los Angeles; .751
5. John Olerud, Seattle; .743
4. Ben Broussard, Cleveland; .734
3. Darin Erstad, Anaheim; .684
2. J.T. Snow, San Francisco; .677

...and the "winner" is:

1. Doug Mientkiewicz, Minnesota, .669


So, much to my surprise as I started this project, Olerud is only the fifth-worst first baseman in baseball. To be fair, it should be said that Oledud, Erstad, Snow, and Mientkiewicz are all excellent defensive players, so their value has been under-rated for this list.

Comments:
I object strongly to this article, though I realize this objection is groundless.
 
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