The Best Individual Seasons of 2012: An Introduction and Those That Missed

Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.

Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.

This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”

This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.


A snapshot of what I looked at for numerically evaluating players in this project.

A snapshot of what I looked at for numerically evaluating players in this project.

The metrics I used for hitting and pitching may be a little predictable for the people that know me, but I’ll tell you what I valued most, especially for those that will have disagreements with my rankings:

  • Home Runs
  • Doubles
  • Stolen Bases
  • wOBA
  • Strikeouts per 9 innings
  • tERA
  • FIP
  • fWAR (Fangraphs’ version) and
  • rWAR (Baseball Reference’s version) — here’s a short article on the difference


I’ll start posting the rankings in sets of twenty tomorrow (both for readability and site hit reasons), going backwards,starting with 100th through 81st. To get an idea of what the stuff will say, let me post some “honorable mentions” (“HM”) of what you’ll see of a couple batters and pitchers alike.

HM. Starlin Castro (14 HR, 25 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – Entering only his age 23 season in 2013, writing a Castro report and looking at his numbers are making me wonder why I didn’t put him in the top 100. His focus on the game always seems to be the story, but if/when this kid fills out, it should be pretty what he produces.

HM. Billy Butler (29 HR, 32 2B, .377 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – Ol’ “Country Breakfast” has had his helping of potatoes (ok, I’ll stop), his power on display for the world to see. Even has a couple stolen bases to his name so there are worse cloggers out there, but the bat would be perfect for the DH spot.

HM. Matt Harrison (213.1 IP, 5.61 K/9, 4.76 tERA, 3.8 fWAR, 6.2 rWAR) – Keeping out him will probably be what Texas fans will consider the biggest snub, and I can see why with WAR. Using FIP and tERA primarily, I don’t get it, and I’m probably not looking at all the numbers as I should.

HM. Jake McGee (55.1 IP, 11.87 K/9, 1.88 tERA, 2.0 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – I don’t know why, but this is the first time I remember seeing this kid’s name, so I have no visual scouting report of this kid to offer (not that’d it’d be any good anyway). His numbers are so impressive, if Fernando Rodney ever lost his job as “closer,” I think the Rays are not in the worst shape in the world.


Hope everybody enjoys the rankings.


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