Least Valuable Player: Scott Kingery
I have harped on Scott Kingery a lot recently, but the way this season went for him, he really deserves it. In 147 games and 484 plate appearances this year, Kingery posted a .226/.267/.338 line with eight home runs, 35 runs batted in, 62 wRC+ and -1.4 wins above replacement per Baseball Reference. He walked in just five percent of his plate appearances and struck out in 26 percent.
Simply put, Kingery was one of the worst hitters in the league. Among players with 450 or more plate appearances this year, Kingery had the 11th-worst batting average, fourth-worst OPS, and fourth-worst wRC+. His bWAR was also fourth-worst in the majors behind only Chris Davis, Austin Jackson, and Noel Cuevas.
What exacerbates Kingery’s poor rookie season is the contract he signed before it even began. Kingery joined a select club as one of the only players to sign a multi-year contract before his major-league debut. The team and Kingery were trying to find a middle ground between long-term team control and fiddling with service time requirements. All the deal wound up doing was making Kingery a lightning rod as he struggled, potentially making them even worse.
Maybe Kingery simply wasn’t ready for the majors. Perhaps forcing him to learn shortstop in the middle of the season stunted his offensive development. Whatever wound up being the source for his struggles, it led to him hurting the team far more than he helped it. While he very well could improve next season, he was undoubtedly the worst player on the team all season long.