In case it somehow escaped your attention, Joe Blanton is not very good at baseball. One could even go so far as to say that he is bad it. And when I say one could say that, I mean that just about everyone who has seen him pitch this season have said that or something much worse and much more expletive-laden.
It is all very funny to lambaste Blanton for being terrible. Perhaps the one positive contribution he has made to the Angels this season is that he has been such an easy target for our venom because isn't Joe Blanton just the worst ever, you guys? Calling Blanton "the worst ever" is mainly just a way for fans to express their frustration with him, but as bad as he has been, we know he isn't really the worst ever.
Well, it turns out that may not be hyperbole, after all. Blanton's awfulness really is measuring up with the most awful of all-time. Let's take a gleeful jaunt through history to show you just how truly terrible Mr. Blanton has been.
Blanton's 2.02 HR/9 is currently the fifth-worst of all-time amongst ERA title qualified seasons since 1901.
We are all painfully aware of how many dingers Blanton has been serving up, but to see that it is really this bad is really something else. What really makes it special though is that he isn't some reliever who had a bad two months, he has been allowed to throw so many innings despite his inability to keep the ball in the park. That says a lot about Blanton and the team that permitted him to log so much time in the rotation. If there is saving grace here, it is that Blanton has 129.1 innings pitched right now and probably won't reach the 162 innings needed to stay qualified for the ERA title. We'll still know in our hearts how bad he was though even if he slips just underneath the radar of the record books.
Blanton's 6.12 ERA is the 35th worst of all-time.
Again, this for ERA title qualified seasons so it may not stick. If it does though, Blanton might actually move much further up the ladder by the time the season is done as this is a tightly packed crowd. With a little "luck," Blanton could easily jump into the top 25. If he manages to puff up his ERA by giving up lots of homers, all the better because he is also well within the range of taking over the worst HR/9 rate of all-time. Shoot for the stars, Joe!
Blanton's BABIP of .347 and HR/FB of 19.3% are the third-worst rates since data became available in Fangraphs in 2002.
Speaking of luck, Joe appears to have gotten the short of the stick there too. BABIP and HR/FB rates are two metrics that are usually looked at to identify flukes, though they can be meaningful as well. So it depends on how you view Joe's struggles. If you think he has been both bad and very unlucky, these sky high rates support your case. But if you want to try to show just how much Blanton has declined and become even more hittable than normal, then these stats support you too. It is all about the narrative.
Blanton's 12.32 H/9 is currently the tenth-worst of all-time.
This is sort of a downstream metric of the BABIP issue above, but Blanton has been surrendering hits at a preposterous level. I'm sure we all remember his inauspicious start to his career when he went several starts before recording his first 1-2-3 inning. Well, giving up over 12 hits per nine innings is a good way to make sure that 1-2-3 innings are pretty hard to come by.
Blanton's WPA and +WPA, -3.99 and 7.86 respectively, are each the fourth-worst ever.
The caveat being that those metrics don't start becoming available since 1974. Even with that qualification, it is pretty clear that Blanton has costly to have around. Keep in mind too that he has been pitching as a mop-up man in relief for the last month, so he hasn't been able to pad that total by much since he is almost exclusively pitching in incredibly low leverage situations. In other words, he could have had a real shot at the top spot had he been able to continue blackmailing Scioscia into leaving him in the rotation for the rest of the season.
Blanton's ERA+ of 61 is the fourth-worst ever.
Lest you think his 35th-worst ERA isn't that bad. Look what happens when it is adjusted for era, league and ballpark. The fourth-worst ever. Ever! EVER!
And with that depressing note, our journey has come to an end if only to prevent the suicide rate in Orange County from spiking.
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People ask why Blanton hasnt been DFA'd yet and here is why - If the player has five or more full years of major league service, he must give consent to be assigned to the minors. If the player withholds consent, the team must either release him or keep him on the major league roster. In either case, the player must continue to be paid under the terms of his contract.
My guess is the Angels have a huge investment and hope he will improve or it makes no sense to get rid of Blanton because he has to be removed from baseball entirely because its highly doubtful hes going to consent to being sent back to the Minors now and the Angels know this. So basically we are stuck with him.