This is a post in which I build a team of batters who can't actually put the ball in play. The entire idea came from this tweet.
George Kottaras' slash line; .177/.363/.468— Dark Slider (@jheldred) August 3, 2013
That's insane, and since that tweet, his line has become more skewed. Currently he is hitting .169/.379/.446.
George Kottaras is not good, but also...he is? Kottaras currently has a walk rate of 23.0%, which would put him ahead of every qualified hitter in baseball. He walks once for just about every four plate appearances.
Kottaras also strikes out at a rate of 34.5%, which would put him second among qualified hitters, next to Chris Carter of the Astros.
Kottaras occasionally struggles with defence, but that's okay.
Kottaras only puts the ball in play 36.8% of the time. He also only plays once every five days, as he is the backup catcher to Salvador Perez. Salvador Perez has a walk rate of 3.7%, and puts the ball in play 82.7% of the time. Salvador Perez often hits cleanup for the Royals.
I'm sure that Salvador Perez will be a serviceable baseball player one day soon, however perhaps he should not hit cleanup with a .278/.309/.382 slash line. And yet, at the time that this article is being written, the Royals have won nine of their last ten, and are 4.5 games back of the second wild card spot. How does baseball work again?
Ok, that's enough - let's make a team.
The idea of the three true outcomes, seemingly conceived by the folks over at Baseball Prospectus, are as follows: the walk, the strikeout, and the home run. They are jokingly referred to as true outcomes, as they solely focus on the batter-pitcher matchup. The defensive players play no part in any of the three true outcomes (TTO).
That being said, let's take a look at positional leaders in the three true outcomes for 2013. These are the players who put the ball in play least frequently for their respective positions, with a minimum of 250 PAs, for no other reason than I chose the minimum to be 250 PAs.
I also included the players' batting fWAR ("Bat") - this will be referenced later. Here we go!
18.3 BB%; 24.3 K%; 2.1 HR%
44.7 TTO%; 1.9 Bat
12.9 BB%; 29.2 K%; 6.0 HR%
48.1 TTO%; 6.7 Bat
13.3 BB%; 31.8 K%; 5.0 HR%
50.1 TTO% 1.3 Bat
11.3 BB%; 32.1 K%; 3.9 HR%
47.3 TTO%; -2.9 Bat
11.3 BB%; 26.0 K%; 2.6 HR%
39.9 TTO%; 1.3 Bat
12.3 BB%; 36.9 K%; 4.9 HR%
54.1 TTO%; 2.5 Bat
10.4 BB%; 32.1 K%; 2.5 HR%
45.0 TTO%; -14.9 Bat
6.8 BB%; 27.4 K%; 4.6 HR%
38.8 TTO%; 11.7 Bat
13.2 BB%; 27.4 K%; 2.5 HR%
43.1 TTO%; -4.2 Bat
How would this team fare if it were actually a team? Granted, it would be a team that only hit and didn't run or play defence or pitch, but, collectively, the group has accumulated 3.4 batting fWAR so far this season.
This team, were it somehow able to only consist of these nine players for the entire year to this point, would be 11th among team batting WAR, right behind the Blue Jays.