I was making the case this morning that Vladimir Guerrero's hacking approach at the plate probably inspires a lot of Dominican hopefuls to similarly hack away and probably ruins a lot of careers way before they even get started. That's probably a bunch of hogwash, but it points towards how unique of a player Vlad really was. Generally, a superstar-caliber player carries a strong walk rate with him into the greatness, but Guerrero is the most glaring exception to this rule.
I should clarify, though, Vlad's Walk rate isn't nearly as bad as I had thought. From his debut in 1996 major leaguers have walked exactly 8.7% of the time; Guerrero only 8.1%. Maybe we are left with this impression after seeing so many of his wild swings, but for the most part, Vlad was only modestly below-average at accepting the free base on balls.
According to Fangraphs, Vlad was worth a remarkable 450 wRAA in his career, which is 68th all-time. I was curious, then, how many other major leaguers have gone on to produce runs at such an elite level with less than impressive walk rates. Using 400 wRAA as the arbitrary cutoff, here are the worst walk rates of the bunch:
LOWEST BB%, MINIMUM 400 wRAA
Obviously what stands out here is the eras in which each of these players played. If we expand the list to include all players with at least 350 wRAA we get a few more players from the live-ball era:
LOWEST BB%, MINIMUM 350 wRAA