Highlighting the Worst Hats In Baseball: Round One

All of these hats are better than what is coming

By Andrew Meyer

Hello CFB readers. While Jake gave me an introduction earlier, I was (and still am) busy with school, and thus posting has been something hard to get around too while I work on projects/have panic attacks/wonder why the inevitable heat death of the universe is so far off.

I will do a formal introduction later on, but there is something much more important to discuss. Hats.

But while most talk of hats is joyous, there is also the dark side of hats, and the goal of this series is to highlight the worst that can be offered. Since this is the first entry, I will keep it short, plus I should be writing an English paper right now.

Note, it is “straw textured”

First off we have….. this…. wow. It’s official name is Miami Marlins MLB Straw-Fit Cap, and it is $38, and is 70% Paper. Never wear this outside, in any situation actually. The Marlins are kind of an easy target, and there are several other ones on the store that are worthy of inclusion, but this….. wow. It actually is not the worst Marlins hat I have ever seen, but it is close. Who is this targeted toward?  Like really? I cannot handle this. MORE THAN HALF OF THIS IS PAPER, THIS HAT HAS 20 GRADE DURABILITY. The actual Marlins Logo also looks bootleg here, and if they are going for this aesthetic, why use the default colors? Like, how does this happen?

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First Base Prospects Will Probably Disappoint You

Prospects are fun. They allow us to dream on their basic skill sets and imagine greatness eventually produced at the major league level. First base prospects in specific present a certain type of vision. While the offensive standard for first basemen of late has plummeted, we still want that .300/.400/.500 type slugger at first for our favorite teams. It’s a commodity that has become increasingly hard to find over the last few years. We’re all still waiting for Eric Hosmer to break out. Yonder Alonso has yet to really show anything and Anthony Rizzo still struggles mightily against lefties. Paul Goldschmidt has been very impressive so far but not many people saw this level of production coming. The only true high-end first base prospect in the minors today is Jonathan Singleton for the Astros.

With the help of the free archives of Baseball Prospectus (specifically Kevin Goldstein ‘s scouting reports from his Top 11 lists), I’m gonna look back a few years. This was a time with several high end first base prospects on the rise. These were supposed to be superstar level talents, getting on base at high clips and hitting for plenty of power. This is not meant to discredit Baseball Prospectus in any way; all five of these players were highly regarded throughout the industry.

Daric Barton, Oakland Athletics (2008):

barton 2008

Just a glowing report. He’s gonna bring offensive firepower to Oakland for years to come. No doubt. FLAWLESS PLATE-DISCIPLINE.

Daric Barton, Oakland Athletics (2013):

Besides a freak 2010 season, in which he expressed his “flawless plate-discipline” in the form of a major league leading 110 walks, Barton has yet to show much of the hitting acumen he was praised for as a prospect. He has yet to play a game for Oakland this season, and has 27 career home runs through 1,901 career plate appearances. He has slugged .371 for his career. Daric Barton is 27 years old.

Lars Anderson, Boston Red Sox (2009):

lars 2009

An elite offensive talent. Maturity and intelligence well beyond his years. He’s going to mash.

Lars Anderson, Chicago White Sox (2013): 

Anderson got 56 major league plate appearances over three years with the Red Sox in which he posted a .455 OPS. Last summer, the Sox finally gave up on Anderson and traded him to Cleveland for a knuckleballer named Steven Wright. Several months later, he was traded to Arizona. After that, he was DFA’d by Arizona, claimed by the White Sox, DFA’d by the White Sox, claimed by the Blue Jays, and finally traded back to the White Sox this April. He is currently slugging .267 at Triple-A Charlotte. Lars Anderson is 25 years old.

Matt LaPorta, Cleveland Indians (2009):

laporta 2009

The key piece in the Sabathia deal (!!!!!!). Plus-plus power to all fields. Cleanup hitter on a championship-level team.

Matt LaPorta, Cleveland Indians (2013): 

LaPorta has pretty much exhausted all of his opportunities to start for the Indians. He’s got a career OBP of .301 through 1068 plate appearances, with his “plus-plus power to all fields” only producing 31 home runs. He has not played a single game for Cleveland this season. Matt LaPorta is 28 years old.

Brett Wallace, St. Louis Cardinals (2009):

wallace 2009

Outstanding hand/eye coordination. Enough arm for the hot corner (!!!!!!!!!!!!!). He’ll be among the league leaders in batting average.

Brett Wallace, Houston Astros (2013): 

Outstanding trade bait indeed, as Wallace was traded three times before landing in Houston.  Since making his debut in 2010, Wallace has posted an OPS of .682 through 818 plate appearances. Both FanGraphs and Baseball-reference have Wallace at well below replacement level for his career. Before being optioned to Triple-A, Wallace started the 2013 season 1-24 with 17 strikeouts. Brett Wallace is 26 years old.

Justin Smoak, Texas Rangers (2009):

smoak 2009

An impact hitter in the middle of a lineup. Power from both sides of the plate. Let’s face it, HE’S GOING TO HIT.

Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners (2013):

Since being traded to Seattle for CLIFF LEE in 2010, Smoak has disappointed the Mariners and their fans to the point that I’m not sure I’m gonna be able to get through this paragraph without getting emotional. Smoak has shown flashes of competency but has mainly expressed his appreciation for groundouts and lazy flyouts through the form of a .372 career slugging percentage over 1,500 plate appearances. As one of 17 first base/designated hitters on the Mariners, I’m curious to see how much playing time he gets this year as the season goes on. HE CAN’T BE THIS BAD. Justin Smoak is 26 years old.

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IN CONCLUSION…baseball is hard. It’s easy to look back at these failed prospects and get frustrated with what never came to be. I think it’s also a way to appreciate how incredibly difficult major league baseball is. Justin Smoak is a horrendous major league baseball player but holy crap he is an amazing baseball player. It’s never stressed enough how insanely hard it is to succeed at the highest level of this sport. There are success stories, and there are these five players. All five player reached the major league level. And sure, over a combined 5,384 plate appearances they’ve only hit 122 home runs (one every 44 at-bats). And sure, they’ve amassed an astonishingly low total of 6.9 b-ref WAR and 3.5 FanGraphs WAR (which is even more nuts when you realize that Daric Barton’s 2010 alone was worth 5.4 wins and 4.8 wins respectively). But they reached a level that thousands upon thousands of players will never even sniff. Baseball is hard.

 

Part 6: ARE THEY RELATED ?!?!?!?!?!?!?

This is how all umpires should call third strikes. 

Click here for Part 5. 

TREVOR AND JACK BAUER

These are two crafty individuals that not many people fully understand. While Jack Bauer has saved the entire nation on multiple occasions, Trevor has yet to record a save in his entire career in pro ball. This clearly works against this attempt at relation, but I still have hope. They both spend a lot of time with people pointing guns at them and they both enjoy long walks on the beach and cold pizza. Jack is much more in control when the going gets tough, while Trevor can panic in a hurry.

% CHANCE THEY’RE RELATED: 31%

JASON AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY

Neither can hit a baseball, but while one economically crippled an entire baseball team the other is the centerpiece of an entire state’s economy. Much like the Chesapeake, Jason’s FanGraphs page of late is full of absolute garbage. While the Chesapeake’s career as a body of water has remained the same for over 400 years, Jason has struggled to maintain production for longer than four or five. There are obvious similarities, but it’s not for sure.

% CHANCE THEY’RE RELATED: 53%

MICHAEL AND JASON BOURN(E)

“But it’s not even spelled the same!”, you might protest. These are two absurdly fast individuals who excel at stealing things without getting caught. Sure, Jason has to deal with the entire European police force on a daily basis, but don’t act like Michael stealing on Yadier Molina isn’t just as dangerous. One might also point out that Jason Bourne isn’t even his real name oh wait did I just spoil the entire series for you whooooooooooooooops

% CHANCE THEY’RE RELATED: 82%

Walk-Up Music, Part 2: The AL Central

While there are a seemingly unlimited number of ways to experience the game of baseball through social media from the comfort of your own home, there are a few things that you can only truly get by attending a game. One of these, is the walk-up music chosen by the players of the home team. I’ve recently been exposed to the fact that many of the walk-up songs for specific players are available online on each team’s respective site. This is fantastic news for those of us who aren’t so lucky as to visit every MLB park and hear each player’s music. Here at CFB I’m gonna take a look at some of the highlights of this rather awful collection of music that MLB players have decided represent them/pump them up/introduce them best.

(You can find the collection of music by going to a team’s website and looking under the “FANS” tab for a section called “Ballpark Music” or something similar to it.)

Chicago White Sox:

jesse crain

Poor twisted you, Jesse Crain. Metallica certainly has its place in the world of walk-up music. It’s made many more appearances than I’ve actually listed here.

gordon beckham

Beckham is the only one I’ve seen so far with FIVE different songs, and it must be a nightmare for the guy running stadium sound.

PA Announcer: “now batting, number fifteen, Gordonnnnn Beckhammmmmm”

Sound dude: “oh crap here we go uhhh CHICKEN FRIED wait what why would you even”

paul konerko

I’m picturing a movie poster with a blown up version of that picture of Paul Konerko with the epic title, “PAUL KONERKO: HARVESTER OF SORROW” starring Paul Konerko, Kenny Williams, and probably Ozzie.

Cleveland Indians:

matt albers

The Indians site did not include many here, so I didn’t have too many good ones to choose from but the idea of jolly ol’ Matt Albers calmly telling someone to “sleep now in the fire” is wonderfully disturbing.

drew stubbs

More Metallica. In this case though, The Devil’s Dance is most likely The Unintentional Walk.

bryan shaw

Am I the only one who thinks he kind of looks like Phineas from “Phineas and Ferb”…? Okay…just checking…

Detroit Tigers:

justin verlander

something about Kate Upton

phil coke

Yeah, Phil Coke would TOTALLY listen to Nickelback. Not even remotely surprised.

andy dirks

Strange choice, as Dirks hasn’t really spent much time on the DL. Maybe he “gets off” on Victor Martinez’ pain which is most of the reason he is still in the lineup maybe I guess I don’t know I am running out of bad jokes :(

Kansas City Royals:

alcides escobar

Second Carly Rae appearance. I mean Alcides still has braces anyway, so he’s basically a teenage girl.

wade davis

Hey Royals fans, go Google Wade Davis (the guy you traded Wil Myers for) and click the first Wikipedia result.

“Edmund Wade Davis (born December 14, 1953) is a Canadian anthropologist…”

wait no

chris getz

I don’t even know…this is just fantastic. GIVE HIM MORE TIME, NED.

Minnesota Twins:

darin mastroianni

“La la la la la la/You never had it so good/ La la la la la la/ You never had it so good…”

Sounds like Darin Mastroanni’s life to me.

jamey carroll

I’ll let Jeff Sullivan take this one.

http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/1/20/2719960/breaking-baseballs-species-barrier

ryan doumit

Stare into the demonic pools of doom that are Ryan Doumit’s eyes. Question your belief system.

doumit 1

doumit 2

doumit 3

doumit 4

doumit 5

Sweet dreams.