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Position Instability

The 2008 Mets have started 12 different left fielders this season, none of whom have started more than 23 games. How unusual is this?

Fewest games started by team-leader at any position, excluding pitchers and designated hitters, 1956-2007, excluding strike seasons:

Team Pos Leader Starts Starters Notes
1997 Milwaukee Brewers LF Marc Newfield 28 10 Gerald Williams led the team in LF games and innings played.
1961 Kansas City Athletics RF Jim Rivera 29 13
2000 Colorado Rockies LF Jeffrey Hammonds & Larry Walker 30 8 Hammonds also led the Rockies in starts in RF.
1976 Montreal Expos RF Gary Carter 31 12 Carter played OF on the days when he was not catching.
1986 Chicago White Sox LF Bobby Bonilla 32 9 Carlton Fisk started the first 26 games in LF, but was moved back to C.
2005 Los Angeles Dodgers 3B Mike Edwards & Antonio Perez 33 7
1972 Texas Rangers LF Dick Billings & Tom Grieve 35 8 154 game schedule.
1961 Philadephia Phillies RF Ken Walters & Johnny Callison 36 8 154 game schedule.
1963 Los Angeles Angels RF Lee Thomas 37 10
1968 California Angels RF Bubba Morton 37 8 Roger Repoz led the Angels in RF games with 54.

Fewest games started by team-leader at a given position, 1956-2007, excluding strike seasons:

Team Pos Leader Starts Starters Notes
1957 Kansas City Athletics P Ned Garver 23 14 154 game schedule.
1973 Texas Rangers P Jim Bibby 23 17
1960 Chicago Cubs C El Tappe 38 8 154 game schedule.
1962 New York Mets C Chris Cannizzaro & Sammy Taylor 42 7
1973 Chicago Cubs 1B Jim Hickman 38 7
2004 New York Mets 2B Jose Reyes 41 7
2006 Chicago Cubs 2B Todd Walker 41 7
2005 Los Angeles Dodgers 3B Mike Edwards & Antonio Perez 33 7
1961 St. Louis Cardinals SS Bob Lillis 43 5 154 game schedule.
1963 Cleveland Indians SS Larry Brown 45 4
1992 Philadelphia Phillies SS Juan Bell 45 6
1997 Milwaukee Brewers LF Marc Newfield 28 10
1957 Chicago Cubs CF Bob Speake 39 8 154 game schedule.
2003 New York Mets CF Jeff Duncan & Timo Perez 41 8
1961 Kansas City Athletics RF Jim Rivera 29 13
2001 Anaheim Angels DH Orlando Palmeiro & Shawn Wooten 25 15

What do these teams have in common? None made the playoffs, and only the 1961 Cardinals (80-74) and the 2000 Rockies (82-80) had winning records. Six of the teams lost over 100 games.

More to follow tomorrow.

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