Everyone is writing these days about who the favorites are for the Most Valuable Player Award. Many of those writers are "with it" and will tout the latest statistics to prove their points. Well, anybody can do that. This post instead will focus on the worst hitters in baseball in 2010. These guys are so bad that they better pack some pretty good leather to justify their existence. This list does not include fielding value however. We're just focusing on the worst of the hitters in the major leagues.Oh! And this list only includes guys who currently have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title. Not that any of these guys has to worry about that.
1. Cesar Izturis - Baltimore Orioles. This is hardly a surprise. The man has a 64 career OPS+. But he is outdoing himself this year. His OPS+ sits at 54. His line after 393 plate appearances? How about .241/.284/.279. Man. He has walked only 18 times and has 12 extra base hits. [[shudder]] Fangraphs has his batting runs at -22.
2. Jose Lopez - Seattle Mariners. Lopez is the highlight...or lowlight of the Mariners woes at the plate. His season is somewhat surprising because he was at least a league average hitter in 2008 and 2009. But this year? Umm...How does a line like .241/.270/.337 grab you? He has 17 walks in 478 plate appearances. His OPS+ is 66 and FanGraphs gives him a batting runs of -19.8. Lovely.
3. Jason Kendall - Kansas City Royals. This doesn't surprise you does it? Kendall hasn't had a decent year batting since 2004. That's why the Royals went and got him. FanGraphs rates his year batting at -17.7. Kendall has a .299 slugging percentage in 459 at bats. The kicker is, he usually bats second in the lineup. Doh! He has 17 doubles. That's it. That's what he has for extra base hits. Oh, and he's stolen 10 bases...in 17 attempts. Attaboy.
4. A.J. Pierzynski - Chicago White Sox. The Fan used to think this guy was a pretty good hitter. But he hasn't been for a long, long time. His last season above league average was 2003. Peirzynski has trudged up to the plate 389 times and has a .279 On Base Percentage. Just 12 walks all year. That accounts heavily for his 68 OPS+. FanGraphs rates him at -15.8. There is no way that this guy is going to earn the nearly $7 million he is making.
5. Orlando Cabrera - Cincinnati Reds. Lots of shortstops and catchers on this list. It used to be that the shortstop was always the weak hitter. But then along came Ripken and A-Rod and the position changed...for some teams. Cabrera is at -14.5 on FanGraphs. Cabrera has somehow managed to put in 14 seasons in the majors despite having a grand total of18.5 WAR in all those years. That works out to about 1.3 a season. He has a lifetime OPS+ of 85. This year he's at 72 in 453 plate appearances.
6. Clint Barnes - Colorado Rockies. It's hard to understand how the Rockies cut Hawpe loose and kept this guy. At least Hawpe was a league average hitter. Barmes isn't even close. FanGraphs ranks his results this year at -13.9. His OPS+ is 73 in 395 plate appearances. But at least we have a second baseman to break up the monotony. The sad part is that this isn't Barmes worst year at the plate. In 2006, Barmes came to the plate 525 times and finished with a 47 OPS+. That's awful.
6. Alcides Escobar - Milwaukee Brewers. Hey! We got another shortstop here. Escobar has to qualify as ad disappointment. The Brewers really thought he was a better player than this. But he comes in tied with Barmez at -13.9 on FanGraphs. His OPS+ is 78 in 429 plate appearances.
8. Ryan Theriot - Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago Cubs. The Riot started the year at short for the Cubs and them moved to second when Castro came up. It didn't matter. He didn't hit no matter where he played. He ended up with a 68 OPS+ for the Cubs. He's doing a little better for the Dodgers, but The Riot is a fun guy, but he needs to be a utility guy. There is no way to justify giving him 500 to 600 plate appearances. He's just not that good.
9. Cristian Guzman - Nationals/Rangers. Guzman is your typical decent average but nothing else kind of guy. He used to have a lot of speed and hit a lot of triples. But that's a thing of the past now. He was at 88 OPS+ with the Nationals until they traded him to the Rangers where he absolutely tanked, getting three hits in 37 plate appearances. That brought his OPS+ for the season down to 74. FanGraphs: -11.9.
9. Jeff Francoeur - New York Mets. There was a lot written in the New York press about Francoeur not being happy about his playing time. But come on! A .289 On Base Percentage doesn't lie. Not after 412 plate appearances. Francoeur has had only one full season in his career with an OPS+ over 100. And that was just barely. This season, he comes in with a tie with Guzman. He holds the distinction as the worst non-catching, non-infielding hitter in baseball this year.
Honerable Mention: Nyer Morgan, Yadier Molina, Aaron Hill and Kevin Kouzmanoff.