>These Dunndies go to the players that subtracted the most from their teams. It’s not truly the least valuable player, as a September call-up with 2 at-bats has almost no real value, but rather the player who detracted the most from his teams ability to win games. So the award goes to the player who was not only terrible, but also managed to somehow accumulate a ton of playing time. The award is named after Bill Bergen, a catcher for the Reds and Dodgers, who posted a slash line of .170/.194/.201 in a mind-boggling 3228 plate appearances between 1901-1911, which is mind boggling because people kept giving him playing time, apparently because he had an absolute bazooka behind the plate. Bergen is the owner of the lowest career OPS+ (min. 3000 PAs) with 21. Cy Young, who pitched so often he was able to gather 3101 PAs, had a higher career OPS+ of 44 with his career .210/.234/.282 line.
NL Bill Bergen Award winner: Garrett Anderson, LF, Atlanta Braves
Mr. Anderson has a social security number, pays his taxes, and helps his land lady take out her garbage, but outside of the Matrix, he is a terrible baseball player. He put up a .268/.303/.401 line in 534 PA, struck out 73 times while walking only 27, and was good for a -11.8 UZR in left field. Garrett Anderson was bad, but not quite awful enough to see his playing time taken away. He was that special kind of ineffective where he was able to slowly accumulate negative value for the season, the special kind of bad that allows you to win a prestigious made-up award.
He was 1 for 1 in stolen base attempts, so kudos to him for that.
AL Bill Bergen Award winner: Yuniesky Betancourt
Betancourt already won the AL Jeremiah Denny award for his work at SS, but his hitting is equally awful. He showed off his statuesque fielding abilities with a UZR of -20.5, but he also posted an impossibly bad line of .245/.274/.351. which translates into OPS+ 65. He is an out-making machine on offense and a rock (as rocks don’t move much) on defense. He still, somehow, was able to make over 500 plate appearances between the Mariners and the Royals. He was worth -2.1 wins above replacement (WAR), which is to say his teams could have pulled a warm body up from AAA or the wavier wire, and that AAA guy would have made the team 2 wins better over the course of the entire season. An average shortstop like Stephen Drew would have made the team over 4 wins better singlehandedly. Betancourt was the worst everyday player in the majors, and its really not even close.
Betancourt was 3 for 6 in stolen base attempts, so I can’t give him credit for that, but he was the eighth hardest player in the Majors to strike out. That’s really the only positive attribute of his I can find. Unfortunately for him and the Royals, all those balls he puts into play end up turning into outs.
More Dunndies to come . . .