It has been awhile since our last post, credit excessive drunken-ness and the release of the NBA schedules. (Not even kidding, the release of the NBA schedule was all I could think about for 3 days.) I figured I would come back with a bang, so I'm giving you all this treat: a position by position breakdown of the grittiest players in baseball... that are not white. This is seemingly impossible because we all know only white players are born with the Grit gene, but somehow I have done it. On with the list...
C- Jose Molina
Catcher was an increasingly difficult position to judge grit. First, a true gritty person gives the appearance of speed, by trying to steal a lot of bases, but failing most of the time. Second, a gritty player needs to be know for their defense, but actually be quite bad at defense (and completely lack a throwing arm, but always use a good crow hop). Third the player must be a terrible hitter. Not just ordinarily bad (strikes out a lot, overall hot garbage). They need to be so bad that they refuse to strike out, yet make more outs than one would expect, and only hit singles. Singles are what gritty players thrive on.
As far as the catching position goes, there are few catchers that steal a lot of bags or even try. There is little to no difference in catching defense except the quality of arm strength. Really the judgment on a catcher's grittiness here has to fall into one criteria: the player is to have no redeemable skill set, yet continually makes a Major League roster. I truly believe Molina fits that bill. This one was especially tough, please leave your choice in the comments.
1B- Derek Lee. Lee has not been good for 2 seasons now. He gets on base at a poor average, his power is slipping, and he is still known as a speedy first baseman and a slick fielder. Check out his numbers though, 1 SB in each of the past 3 seasons, and a career 0.9 UZR/150 at first. Definitely a position an athlete could score high in. Also, ask any Cubs fan about how many double plays he hits into, they will drone on about it for hours.
2B- Angel Berroa. I spent a lot of time trying to remember "That shitty Royals shortstop who couldn't hit, run, throw, or play defense" and there were many that came to mind (Yunie Betancourt and Tony Pena Jr. for starters). Berroa is the Belle of the Ball here though. You can not argue with how horrible he is/was and yet the Royals believed in him as their starting shortstop for 4 years. I'm plugging him in at 2B because we all know a true gritty player can play anywhere up the middle poorly.
SS- Derek Jeter, Team Captain. Clearly he has to be captain. Limited range, singles only power combined with the largest fanbase of any player in the Majors. There is no reason to like Jeter so much. Don't give me that "he wins" garbage. That is the number one reason he has to be on this team. Every argument with Jeter is always about how he is a fucking winner. He is shitty defensively, has a bad arm, and can only make that stupid "Derek Jeter jumping spin throw". You know who else can make that play? Every other Major League SS, but they make it without having to jump like an idiot, because they actually have range.
3B- Pedro Feliz. Terrible hitter, Check. Average Defender, Check. Wildly overrated, Double Check. Feliz is not that good, yet he played on some good teams, Bonds' Giants and an intimidating Phillies' team. Make no mistake, Pedro Feliz is not good. He is however, gritty and will try very hard for you.
OF- Juan Pierre, Co Captain. I hate Juan Pierre with a fiery passion. I hate him more that he is now serviceable in the OF, despite is 10 year old girl arm. I especially hate him because he is still stealing bases. He is not even close to fast, if anything he has below average speed. He is stealing still because he has a lot of grit, and tries to steal every time he in on first (which is not nearly enough for your lead off man).
OF- Bernie Williams. I'm trying to not use too many players that are no longer in the MLB, but I'm not sure if Bernie has officially retired, or if he is still holding out hope that the Yanks will pick him up mid season. I'm also not positive that Bernie Williams is not white, I'll have to look into that one further (How many "nots" can I fit into a sentence, this post demonstrates that the number may be infinite). Regardless, Williams is in. Any True Yankee that lacks this much skill is absolutely in. Are there any "True Yankees" out there that are not terrible baseball players, or is that a prerequisite?
OF- Nyjer Morgan. Surely, someone this hood can not possibly be this gritty???? False! While I love Morgan more than most, he poor hitting, poor SB%, and tremendous defense is really what gets him on the list. If only he was a little worse with the glove, and didn't make plays where he completely loses control after missing a would be homerun (can't find the clip). These things take away from his grit, as one is a true baseball skill and the other demonstrates that he does not love playing as much as David Eckstein.