What has been the least productive position for the Dodgers this season? Third base? Shortstop?
FanGraphs.com recently calculated the WAR (wins above replacement) for every team by position. (For an explanation of the frequently misunderstood statistic, which is calculated differently by FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com and has gained popularity in recent years, click here.) According to FanGraphs’ WAR, second base has been the least productive position for the Dodgers this year.
In fact, only five teams have gotten less out of the position than the Dodgers, in terms of offense, baserunning and defense. Mark Ellis (17), Nick Punto (10) and Skip Schumaker (6) are the only three Dodgers who have started games at second base this season.
The Dodgers’ best position, relatively speaking, is first base. Only the Reds and Tigers have gotten more WAR out of the position this season.
The chart has its limits. Take the Angels, for example. Add up their position-by-position WAR, and they should have the fourth-best team in baseball. In reality the Angels are 10 games under .500. The Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East, yet their combined WAR ranks 21st in the majors.
This is why you play the games.
More bullet points for a Thursday morning:
• From the Associated Press: “Josh Beckett … pitches so slowly that Dodger fans who used to arrive fashionably late in the third inning now find themselves getting there in the first inning on days he’s on the mound.”
• For those of you calling for Don Mattingly’s head, Ozzie Guillen wants you to know he’s available.
• In case you missed it in my notebook today, Zack Greinke could possibly make a rehab start as early as Friday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Thank God for the Internet. (Writes Will Leitch for Sports on Earth: “When someone is so wrong, you can’t help yourself but try to force them to understand just how wrong they are.”) Now we know that umpire Angel Hernandez has been blowing calls since the days of Tom Prince and Shawn Boskie.
• Heath Bell, Putz’s replacement, got a scouting report on Schumaker from his mom last night.
• A 28-year-old woman choked on a hot dog at a Cubs game yesterday and died.
• Funny read from the Onion: The Astros’ announcers have run out of things to say.
• “Around the Block,” Pretty Lights feat. Talib Kweli, has “Summer jam” potential written all over it. (Click here for the popout video.)