Still better than us…

MICHAEL: Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a reader who wanted to know my pick for the 2012 MLB You Stink! champion. Although it’s impossible to choose a definitive candidate at this point in the season, I can tentatively select one who is in the running.

After reviewing several nominees the only logical choice I can make is Cliff Pennington, shortstop for the Oakland Athletics. If anyone in the majors is having a bad year, it’s him. Obviously Pennington is well aware of his poor production thus far and he even admitted in a recent interview that “Offensively, it’s been a frustrating season.”

Here is a statistical rundown of Pennington’s performance as of July 25, 2012:

·         .189 batting average (3rd worst in MLB)
·         .253 OBP (2nd worst in MLB)
·         .282 SLG % (2nd worst in MLB)
·         .541 OPS (worst in MLB)
·         56 hits (worst in MLB for qualifying hitters)
·         80 total bases (worst in MLB)
·         21.4 runs created (worst in MLB)
·         2.41 runs created per 27 outs (2nd worst in MLB)

Please note that my selection in this case is solely based on the numbers and have no bearing on Mr. Pennington as a person or a player. According to his bio Pennington was drafted in the first round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft by the Athletics. On July 31, 2008, he was called up from the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, and made his major league debut that day going 2-4. Following the 2009 spring training camp, he was returned to the River Cats. On July 31, 2009, Pennington was called back up by the Athletics where he has remained as a slow starter. In 2011 he was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy. (Over the last 48 hours, Pennington has been stationed on the disabled list with left elbow tendinitis.)

The good news for Mr. Pennington is that there is still plenty of baseball yet to be played this season and he could be surpassed in every category by a multitude of players. Current contenders having equally miserable seasons include: Carlos Pena (1B, Tampa Bay Rays), Jonathan Sanchez (P, Kansas City Royals), Rickie Weeks (2B, Milwaukee Brewers), and Dan Uggla (2B, Atlanta Braves). Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any single player on pace to eclipse Pennington in all of the categories that he currently leads. Much like our book’s champion Choo Choo Coleman, the sheer scale of Pennington’s underachieving across so many categories may be the determining factor.

All that said…Eric and I will be the first to admit that even the worst major league players we have profiled are far better than the rest of us when it comes to the game of baseball. After all, they made it to “The Show” while we slobs who criticize their performances never had a chance.

Photo: Oakland A’s shortstop Cliff Pennington was charged with an error after he bobbled a grounder from Freddy Sanchez in the third inning at AT&T Park on Saturday. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle / SF


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“We always read about the good teams and the great players, but it’s the bad teams and the horrific players that help build teams’ rich histories. You Stink! lets you know, that it can always be worse, and makes you appreciate your ball club that much more!” - Matt Lambert, a Cleveland Indians fan -----------------------------------------“Gave Dad a copy of You Stink! about the worst baseball teams and players in history. The review: ‘a home run.’” - Scott Gosnell, Columbus, OH

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