Prince Fielder and the 7 Most Awkward Baserunners in MLB
In Major League Baseball, one does not have to be an athlete at peak physical performance to be a good player.
A number of players have succeeded while hugely overweight, weak or, as in the case of David Wells' no-hitter, hung over.
This means that fans get to witness high comedy when some of these non-athletes try to run the bases quickly.
Players like Prince Fielder can hit the ball out of the park easily, but when it comes to rounding second, you never know if you'll see a trip, slip, slide or dive.
Jorge Posada was always slow. Now that he is too old to play catcher for the Yankees, his baserunning has steadily decreased as well.
Just the other day, Posada tried to steal second base with two outs in the sixth inning, annoying manager Joe Girardi, according to ESPN.
Yankees fans have to be wondering what could possess a guy so slow to think he could steal a base—ever—let alone at a crucial point in the game. Posada was never fast, but his mental lapses keep him among the MLB's worst baserunners.
The catching Molina brothers all could have been on this list. Bengie Molina has been slow throughout his career, and is well known as one of the worst baserunners in baseball.
Yadier takes after his older brother. Despite his 2009 and 2010 stolen base totals, Molina is slow and makes too many mistakes trying to take an extra base.
Even so, he makes other baserunners look just as bad as him with some of his throws to get runners out.
It's a good thing Prince Fielder hits so many home runs, because when he actually has to run around the bases, it is not a pretty sight.
Fielder has run out inside-the-park home runs slower than some other players have run around the bases when they hit it out of the park.
According to Bill James' 2011 handbook, Fielder was so slow going from first to third that by stopping at second, he prevented the hitter from getting a double.
Fielder remains a valuable asset to any team—any runs he loses on the basepaths, he gets back with power. But if he had a little more speed, the Brewers would be a significantly more dangerous team.
Chipper Jones is getting up there in age. So far in the 2011 season, he is dead last in the majors in a sabermetric statistic measuring how well player's advance on the basepaths called Equivalent Base Running Runs (EqBRR).
In his prime, Jones was a threat on the basepaths, stealing 25 bases in 1999. More than a decade later, Jones' speed has diminished to the point where he is among the league's slowest. Jones doesn't have much time left in his career, but he is already a liability on the basepaths.
In 13 seasons, Aramis Ramirez has stolen 15 bases. He has also been caught 15 times.
While Ramirez might not attempt to steal many bases, he does try to take extra bases and often gets thrown out ahead of the play.
This season, Ramirez has asked manager Mike Quade to allow him to run more on the basepaths to get more steals.
James Loney looks lost when he runs around the bases. Whether it is getting caught in rundowns, slowly rounding first or not moving quickly enough from first to third, Loney costs his teams runs while running.
Recently Loney's struggles at the plate have been making headlines in Los Angeles. Even if he starts hitting, he will have to get better at the mental part of baserunning before becoming a balanced offensive threat.
Lance Berkman has had an outstanding hitting career. But this picture says it all—the ball is almost always at the base long before Berkman arrives.
Berkman actually has 82 stolen bases in his career and stole 18 bases in 2008. These numbers are more by virtue of opportunity than anything else. Battery combinations don't expect Berkman to steal, so he occasionally takes advantage.
But as he ages, it becomes even more difficult as speed continues to diminish.
Berkman is ranked as the fifth worst baserunner in the MLB this season according to EqBRR.