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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Three Strikes: Dubious '00s Achievement Edition

All month we've been presenting the Best of the '00s leaderboard. Now it's time for a different kind of leaderboard: The Leaders Who Wish They Weren't, in all these dubious categories:

STRIKE ONE -- NOT-SO-OFFENSIVE DEPARTMENT: Let's start with the hitters. But we should probably add that if these guys had done more hitting, they wouldn't be on these lists:

LOWEST BATTING AVG. (4,000 PLATE APPEARANCES): Brad Ausmus (.243), with Adam Dunn (.247) about the only threat.

LOWEST BATTING AVG. (2,000 PA): Henry Blanco (.226), with Russell Branyan (.231) still in contention.

LOWEST BATTING AVG. BY A PITCHER (150 PA): Brian Moehler (7-for-142, .049). But Mark Redman (8-for-154, .052) is just an 0-for-11 rampage away from taking the lead, assuming he gets a job.

LOWEST ON-BASE PCT. (4,000 PA): Bengie Molina (.310), but just barely over Cristian Guzman (.311) and Jack Wilson (.312).

LOWEST SLUGGING PCT. (4,000 PA): Brad Ausmus (.326).

HARDEST TO WALK (2,000 PAs): Deivi Cruz (one walk every 29.2 AB)

HARDEST TO WALK (ACTIVE): Miguel Olivo (one every 26.5 AB)

WORST HOME-RUN RATIO (4,000 PA): Juan Pierre (13 HR in 1,553 at-bats, or one every 396 AB), with the rest of the sport a 700-foot homer away.

And finally, the most hotly contested race of all …

MOST STRIKEOUTS: Don't count anybody out in this distinguished group of human air conditioners:

Jim Thome: 1,308

Pat Burrell: 1,273

Mike Cameron: 1,273

• Adam Dunn: 1,256

STRIKE TWO -- PITCHOUT DEPARTMENT: OK, now it's the pitchers' turn:

MOST LOSSES: Livan Hernandez (112), but Javier Vazquez is six back if Livan doesn't find work.

MOST BLOWN SAVES: Jason Isringhausen (54 in 338 opportunities), with Francisco Cordero (52 in 263 opportunities) right behind.

HIGHEST ERA (1,000 IP): Josh Fogg (5.08), with Eric Milton (5.01) and Jason Jennings (5.00) also in the High 5.00 Club.

HIGHEST BULLPEN ERA (200 IP): Dave Borkowski (5.56) by nearly half a run, over the next-closest active reliever, Shawn Camp (5.10).

HIGHEST OPPONENT BATTING AVG. (1,000 IP): Carlos Silva (.304), the only active pitcher who has allowed the entire sport to hit .300 against him.

MOST GOPHERBALLS: Javier Vazquez (249), with Jamie Moyer only six behind and Jeff Suppan 14 back.

MOST HITS ALLOWED: Livan Hernandez (2,230), meaning Livan has given up 500 more hits in the '00s than Derek Jeter has gotten.

MOST RUNS ALLOWED: Livan again (1,053), which means the only player in baseball who has scored more runs in the '00s than Hernandez has allowed is A-Rod (1,112).

MOST WALKS: Barry Zito (745).

MOST BALKS: Ted Lilly (22).

MOST WILD PITCHES: Matt Clement (88), despite missing the past TWO seasons.

MOST HIT BATTERS: Jeff Weaver (101), but Weaver is still jobless and Tim Wakefield (97) is lurking.

STRIKE THREE -- TO ERR IS HUMAN DEPARTMENT: Finally, we salute the leatherworkers of the '00s:

MOST ERRORS (INFIELD): Rafael Furcal (182), and nobody else is within 10 of him.

MOST ERRORS (OUTFIELD): Vladimir Guerrero (75), and nobody else is within 15 of him.

MOST ERRORS (FIRST BASE): Carlos Delgado (87), and only Derek Lee (66) is within 30 of him.

MOST ERRORS (PITCHERS): Ramon Ortiz (28), but Kip Wells (26) leads all active pitchers.

MOST ERRORS (CATCHERS): Ramon Hernandez (82), with only Jason Kendall (78) still in this hunt.

MOST PASSED BALLS: Jorge Posada (95), with only knuckleball victim Doug Mirabelli (86) even close.

WORST OUTFIELD RANGE FACTOR: A tie between Pat Burrell and (who else?) Manny Ramirez, at 1.63 chances per 9 innings. We have one more blog on the '00s coming: a look at the closest races in slightly more positive departments. So stay tuned. The '00 heroes keep on coming.