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It has come to my attention that Brad Hawpe is on Team USA's WBC Roster

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Let me preface this by saying I don't care very much about the World Baseball Classic or Team USA's roster construction. This also has very little to do with the Brewers except that the player involved here could share the USA outfield with Ryan Braun. But I have noticed that Brad Hawpe is on Team USA's preliminary roster and that he could very well be on the team. The rumor says Hawpe will be involved in a 4-man outfield rotation and will see time in right field. I feel this must be addressed and I don't think anyone is planning a post until the Advent calendar at noon.

Why do I feel the need to discuss this? Quite simply, Brad Hawpe is terrible at baseball. He is a horrible defender, one of the worst on the league. I don't think he will be -37 runs below average on defense ever again, but he was last year, per UZR anyway. He was also dead last in the Probabilistic Model of Range rankings among qualified right fielders.

The purpose here is to illustrate how much defense is undervalued, and how much home runs and RBIs are overvalued. Hawpe hit .283/.381/.498 last year, so he has value as a hitter. If Brad Hawpe is used in the field, however, I don't understand how the Team USA officials can justify wanting him on their team.

Here I present a list of some random players who were better at baseball last year than Brad Hawpe (maybe a better way to phrase this would be "hurt their team less", because value here is in part determined by playing time). Do you think any of these players were invited to play for Team USA (while ignoring the fact that some of these players are not eligible for the USA Team)?

  • Craig Counsell
  • John Bowker, a Giants first basemen who hit .250/.300/.400 in 350 plate appearances
  • Andruw Jones
  • Brad Ausmus
  • Wes Helms
  • Juan Pierre
  • Bill Hall
  • Corey Hart
  • Darin Erstad
  • Russell Branyan
  • Gabe Gross
  • Shin-Soo Choo
  • "Replacement-Level Player"