The Wimpy awards go out to the player with the worst Wimpy Factor with enough at-bats to qualify him for the batting title at each of the eight starting positions (not including the pitcher, for obvious reasons).

There have been many innovative new statistics over the last twenty years that manage to quantify what could not be previously quantified, and others which allow us to better analyze individual elements of a player’s game. It’s time, I think, to go back to the early days of expanding statistics: stats that were potentially interesting and perhaps humorous, but told us absolutely nothing. How did Jack Morris do in night games in domes? That kind of stuff. Enter the Wimpy Factor.

The Wimpy Factor attempts, using the least involved math possible, to pit a guy’s power production against his body weight, a simple measure of his size, to find out who’s the worst power hitter, pound-for-pound.

The formula is: (Slugging Percentage*1000)/weight. There are many more sophisticated measures of a player’s power and probably more sophisticated ways of looking at the size of a person, but the simplicity allows for a) non-sabermetrically oriented readers to quickly grasp what’s being compared and b) me to be able to quickly figure it out.

Thus, a “little” guy like Marcus Giles at 180 pounds, but with a .443 slugging percentage, would end up with a Wimpy Factor of 2.46, but a monster like Tony Clark at 245 lbs. and with a .458 SLG would have a measly 1.87. So the higher your WF, the better your ratio of slugging percentage-to-weight. Simple. No park effects, no isolated power, none of the really cool stuff that makes baseball statistical study worthy of a Society.

Our Own Gabor Paul Bako II was the inspiration for the award: a career .331 SLG against 215 lbs. renders a paltry 1.54! I looked at him when he first became a Cub and said, “you know, it seems like a guy that big ought to be able to put a charge into a ball.” Then I learned the First Bako Principle: just because you are a position player doesn’t mean you can’t hit like a pitcher.

Today I’ll post the catcher and the infield. I’ll put up the outfielders on Thursday.

Drumroll, please:

CATCHER

name
SLG
WT
WF
Pierzynski .410 245 1.67
Kendall .390 195 2.00
Piazza .444 215 2.07
Varitek .482 230 2.10
Estrada .450 209 2.15
Lopez .503 224 2.25
Barrett .489 210 2.33
Rodriguez .510 218 2.34
Posada .481 205 2.35
Lieberthal .447 190 2.35
Martinez .492 190 2.59

Pierzynski

First off, let me say that only 11 catchers qualified for the batting title, and only Kendall had an SLG of less than .400 (.390). So it was select company. So, were we to lower the # of plate appearances there’d be some ugly Wimpy Factors on display. One of the "qualifiers" was Mike Piazza, who caught 50 games last year.

That said, this was a landslide. The 245 pound Pierzynski outweighed the next-heaviest catcher, Jason Varitek, by 15 pounds, and had a .410 slugging percentage, which topped only 195 pound Jason Kendall.

Props to comparitively small Victor Martinez, who ended up with a 2.59 WF. He’s no Wimpy. That’s a Popeye performance.

FIRST BASE

name
SLG
WT
WF
Erstad .400 210 1.90
Hatteberg .420 210 2.00
Martinez .461 230 2.00
Palmiero .436 214 2.04
Lee .504 245 2.06
Overbay .478 227 2.11
Nevin .492 231 2.13
Bagwell .465 215 2.16
Pena .472 215 2.20
Hillenbrand .464 211 2.20
Green .459 200 2.30
Delgado .535 230 2.33
Feliz .485 205 2.37
Casey .534 225 2.37
Thome .581 244 2.38
Wilkerson .498 206 2.42
Konerko .535 215 2.49
Teixeira .560 220 2.55
Ortiz .603 230 2.62
Pujols .657 225 2.92
Helton .620 204 3.04

Darin Erstad

No surprise at all. Erstad had a miserable season. Surprises included a 5th place finish for Derrek Lee, whose 245 lbs. put him as the heaviest first baseman (thankfully, Mo Vaughn didn’t have enough plate appearances). All of the qualifying first basemen topped 200 pounds, and the two lightest first basemen, Helton (204) and Brad Wilkerson (206) fared quite well even if you don’t factor in their weights.

Helton, in fact, posted a 3.04 WF!!!! That’s Popeye AND Bluto, all rolled up into one. The first base chart shows that the WF, at its extremes, is pretty obvious. The guys with the 600+ SLGs all finished at the bottom of the WF pile and the guys with the sub-.420s all at the bottom.

SECOND BASE

name
SLG
WT
WF
Castillo .348 190 1.83
Jimenez .394 195 2.02
Miles .368 180 2.04
Roberts .376 176 2.14
Belliard .426 197 2.16
Bellhorn .444 205 2.17
Kennedy .406 185 2.19
Boone .423 190 2.23
Womack .385 170 2.26
Polanco .441 190 2.32
Hudson .438 185 2.37
Durham .484 196 2.47
Kent .531 210 2.53
Infante .449 176 2.55
Loretta .495 186 2.66
Soriano .484 180 2.69
Uribe .506 175 2.89

Luis Castillo

Slap-happy Luis Castillo’s 1.83 gives him the Wimpy for second basemen. His slugging percentage was so low that he could have lost about 20 pounds and kept the award. Look at those weights — all between 175 and 210, and there are 11 of 17 between 180 and 200. I guess the requirements for a starting second baseman in MLB are pretty tightly refined.

Todd Walker didn’t qualify, but he’d have had about the same as Ray Durham and Grudz would have been near Polanco.

175 pound Juan Uribe of the White Sox put up a Pujolsian 2.89 WF this year, and lightweights Sorianto and Infante were lifted past Kent, whose .531 slugging led all second basemen, but he was too heavy to to place better than 5th in the Wimpy Factor.

SHORTSTOP

name
SLG
WT
WF
Counsell .315 184 1.71
Cintron .363 199 1.82
Guzman .384 205 1.87
Renteria .401 200 2.01
Eckstein .332 165 2.01
Gonzalez .419 202 2.07
Greene .446 210 2.12
Matsui .396 185 2.14
Clayton .397 185 2.15
Izturis .381 175 2.18
Crosby .426 195 2.18
Berroa .385 175 2.20
Vizquel .388 175 2.22
Lugo .396 170 2.33
Wilson .459 192 2.39
Jeter .471 195 2.42
Valentin .473 195 2.43
Furcal .414 165 2.51
Young .483 190 2.54
Tejada .534 209 2.56
Guillen .542 204 2.66
Rollins .455 167 2.72

Craig Counsell

Feeble Craig Counsell’s unbelievable .315 slugging percentage won him a Wimpy, and having 20 pounds on Eckstein didn’t hurt. There were some tiny guys playing shortstop, and Jimmy Rollins got the most out of his weight. Furcal looked good pound-for-power, and Guzman, Renteria, and Greene’s power output didn’t look too impressive when compared to their size. The general WF rule remains, however; slugging percentage has greater variance than weight, so SLG is the stronger determining variable in WF.

There are some tiny shortstops who hit for good power and some bigger shortstops who didn’t hit for power, so among the positions so far, SS has the jumpiest line if you graph weight and slugging.

THIRD BASE

name
SLG
WT
WF
Hinske .375 235 1.60
Alfonzo .407 226 1.80
Burroughs .365 200 1.83
Tracy .407 200 2.04
Freel .368 180 2.04
Crede .418 200 2.09
Huff .493 231 2.13
Randa .408 190 2.15
Mackowiak .420 195 2.15
Batista .455 208 2.19
Jones .485 210 2.31
Blake .486 210 2.31
Lowell .505 210 2.40
Chavez .501 206 2.43
Rodriguez .512 210 2.44
Rolen .598 240 2.49
Blalock .500 200 2.50
Bell .458 181 2.53
Castilla .535 205 2.61
Figgins .419 160 2.62
Ramirez .578 215 2.69
Mora .562 200 2.81
Beltre .629 220 2.86

Hinske!

Chunky Monkey Erik Hinske’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. His body looks like about 42 percent of his weight is distributed to his rump, but all them pounds didn’t translate to success this year. At least he has a Wimpy on his mantle now.

Rolen’s big body knocked him down to a 2.49, but the coolest thing on this chart is that Vinny Castilla and Chone Figgins are within 1/1000th of each other. Castilla’s Coors-pumped power made him look good, but he was dusted by li’l Chone!!! Melvin Mora pulled off a surprising second-to-last only to Beltre’s monstrous year. This chart seems to indicate that having the biggest third baseman doesn’t mean having the most powerful one.

I’ll do the outfield on Thursday, but now you know whom to take on the infield if your fantasy league has no salary cap, but a strict Weight Cap.

Congratulations, Wimpy Award winners. I’d suggest either slimmin’ down or powerin’ up unless you want another one!

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