Was Mark Teahen 2007's MLB-worst regular RF on offense?

My friend, a Cardinals fan, made this claim to me a few nights ago.  I dismissed it as rivalry-fueled bias.  After seeing's Dayn Perry make the same claim, however, I decided to stop rubbing my eyes and actually do the research.  

My findings shocked me.   It's difficult to think about, but in reality there is a legitimate argument to claim that Mark Teahen was 2007's WORST offensive RF (amongst regulars).  

I defined a "regular" RF as a player who received at least 225 PA's as a RF, 225 being an aggressive estimate of 1/3 of a team's entire PA's from the position over a 162 game season. Here are how last year's regular RF's stack up by OPS:

  1. Magglio Ordonez, DET 1.029
  2. Vladimir Guerrero, LAA .950
  3. Brad Hawpe, COL .926
  4. Jack Cust, OAK .912
  5. Matt Kemp, LAD .894
  6. Corey Hart, MIL .892
  7. Jeremy Hermida, FLA .870
  8. Ken Griffey, CIN .868
  9. Rick Ankiel, STL .863
  10. Luke Scott, HOU .855
  11. Alex Rios, TOR .852
  12. Travis Buck, OAK .851
  13. Nick Markakis, BAL .847
  14. Nick Swisher, OAK .836
  15. Ryan Ludwick, STL .818
  16. Bobby Abreu, NYY .814
  17. Marlon Byrd, TEX .814
  18. Jose Guillen, SEA .813
  19. Xavier Nady, PIT .806
  20. Jermaine Dye, CHW .803
  21. Andre Ethier, LAD .802
  22. Randy Winn, SF .798
  23. J.D. Drew, BOS .796
  24. Cliff Floyd, CHC .795
  25. Franklin Gutierrez, CLE .790
  26. Michael Cuddyer, MIN .789
  27. Brad Wilkerson, TEX .786
  28. Jeff Francoeur, ATL .782
  29. Shawn Green, NYM .782
  30. Brian Giles, SD .777
  31. Shane Victorino, PHI .770
  32. Juan Encarnacion, STL .769
  33. Austin Kearns, WAS .766
  34. Mark Teahen, KC .763
  35. Jacque Jones, CHC .735
  36. Delmon Young, TB .724
  37. Trot Nixon, CLE .678
  38. Carlos Quentin, ARI .647
As you can see, the results are not pretty, and I think you could subjectively yet rationally exclude all but one of the guys behind Teahen from the argument.  Jacque Jones, for example, platooned in RF with Cliff Floyd and Matt Murton.  Trot Nixon split Cleveland's season in RF with Franklin Gutierrez, and essentially sat the bench the entire second half of the season.  Quentin was the NL's version of Ryan Shealy. 

The fact remains that Delmon and Teahen were the only two of the bottom five to hold down RF almost exclusively for the season (sadly, Shane Costa can't be included in the conversation. Sorry folks).   One could say that Teahen barely beat out Delmon Young for the dubious honor of worst-offensive regular in RF in 2007, and this is only because of Delmon's complete inability to take a walk as evidenced by his Tony Pena-esque .316 OBP (Teahen slugged .410 to Delmon's .408).  

Personally, I am close to certain that Teahen will be better in 2008, but this comparison study does put his disappointing 2007 in perspective (that is, MUCH MORE disappointing than I originally perceived). Teahen's performance would have been passable at  3B, but in the outfield, his offensive production was comparatively poor. The most frustrating thing about this is that although the numbers speak to how he was completely outmatched offensively in RF compared to the rest of the league, I stubbornly believe that he can and will do better. In other words, the 2007 Mark Teahen was not the career Mark Teahen, whatever that means. Then again, neither was the 2006 Mark Teahen that for an isolated period of two months neared a 1.000 OPS.

I love Teahen, and I'm quick to give him a pass especially since the move to RF wasn't his choice in the first place.   Hopefully 2008 will be a launching pad season for him in establishing himself offensively.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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