The Worst Regular in Baseball

More than 200 plate appearances into the season, Brian Giles remains the worst regular in baseball. Suffice to say, Giles abrupt decay is a bit surprising. Sure, he’s 38 years old and plays in a notoriously suppressive offensive climate, but even Giles’ park-adjusted numbers are repulsive. His .255 wOBA translates to -12.7 offensive runs. Giles has played nearly as poorly on defense, posting a -8.1 UZR despite playing an outfield corner.

All told, Giles has been worth 1.5 wins below replacement level, good for a “value” of $-6.9 million; the Padres are paying him $9 million over the course of this season.

Giles has struggled to hit the fastball this season to the tune of -2.25 runs per 100 heaters faced, a glaring weakness which the league has exploited by throwing him fastballs 66% of the time. It’s hard to tell whether Giles has lost his bat speed or something else along the way, but his performance this year represents a drastic drop from that of his previous seasons:

2006 0.12 wFB/C

2007 0.92 wFB/C

2008 1.16 wFB/C

Meanwhile, the velocity of the average fastball he’s seen is just about the same: ~91 miles per hour this season and last, and ~90 MPH in 2006 and 2007. In other words, Giles’ subpar performance against the hard stuff this season can’t be attributed to his having faced a greater percentage of flamethrowers. The two home runs he has hit were surrendered by Chad Billingsley and Edinson Volquez, and both came in fastball counts.

Moving forward, I would still expect Giles to improve offensively. He currently sports a .218 BABIP, compared to his low of .274 over the past three seasons. Giles’ line-drive rates remain respectable, and his walk/strikeout rates have stabilized. The only weapon his game definitely lacks is power. His ISO is down from .150 to .083, although as Dave pointed out in the off-season, the inverse relationship between fastballs seen and ISO likely explains some of this decline.

I’m sure the Padres were a bit miffed with Giles’ decision to block a move last year. I can’t imagine how thrilled they are to see his value all but vanish within a year.

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14 years ago

Didn’t they pick up an option for him this past offseason? When I read that I thought it was odd, as I had figured they wanted to move him to the Red Sox last year to avoid paying his salary and get younger at the same time. Then they decided to pay the salary anyway. Maybe they thought he’d be up for a trade this year, but if he blocked one last season, why wouldn’t he block it again this year? Regardless, now they’re definitely stuck with him.

Honestly though, when I saw the link , I was kind of hoping to see Emilio Bonifacio on here. He’s certainly the worst regular that I know of, and it couldn’t hurt to get some more recognition as to how bad he is. Maybe someone on the team will actually care.