The 2014 MLB regular season is officially something that happened. With its passing comes the need to get our affairs in order, for the lists, they are coming. They will be many, they will be tenacious. You, there! Guard that outpost! Get those archers ready, there’s no time to lose! The first of the lists are coming over the horizon. Brace yourselves, there is no end in sight.
Here are the most-improved (qualified) hitters of 2014, by the metric of wRC+:
Seeing names like Martinez, Brantley, and Altuve on this list shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, given the news surrounding their 2014 efforts. Some other interesting names pop up, however. Anthony Rizzo has taken a significant jump. Alcides Escobar has gone from loathesome to respectable, and Jose Bautista got better which doesn’t seem very fair.
In contrast, here are 2014’s least-improved (again, qualified) batters. You could also say these batters got the most worse, but that doesn’t sound either correct or pleasing.
The top three names here offer an interesting juxtaposition of two sluggers falling to around league-average, and a pretty-good hitter falling off like a Clayton Kershaw curveball. The inclusion of Davis and Craig on this list is notable, as if I expand the search to the last 20 years, they also make the cut.
Both Chris Davis and Allen Craig rank in the top seven of worst hitting drop-offs of the last 20 years. The reasons why should warrant some deeper digging. This is neither the time nor place for such digging — with these things typically being left for the cold, dark expanses of winter. For now, let us gaze upon these lists, acknowledge that they are indeed lists, and glean whatever value or joy we desire from them.
David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.
Winter is Coming