5 of the Best Bad Stats in Major League Baseball
Playing Major League Baseball is incredibly difficult (not saying this from experience). Routinely these players are expected to hit 95 MPH fastballs while having a nasty slider in the back of their mind. They're expected to catch line drives hit towards the gap, or make the backhand play in the hole. They're expected to be the best at their craft.
Well, with this article, I’ve decided not to look at jaw-dropping numbers like Jose Abreu's 40.5% home run to fly ball ratio or Troy Tulowitzki's .451 on-base percentage (OBP). Instead, I’ve opted to look at some of the worst stats in baseball. Maybe it makes me a mean person to enjoy looking at stats like the ones I’m about to show you, but hey, a true stat geek accepts and enjoys all metrics no matter how good or how bad they look.
And with that, I present to you some of the best at being the worst.
Ben Revere's Walk Rate
Mr. Revere is tied with Adam Jones for the lowest walk rate (BB%) in all of Major League Baseball. While I think Jones’ terrible BB% is fascinating, Revere’s interests me a little more. As a leadoff hitter, you’d expect him to try and get on base a little more via the walk, but that’s not the case. As a 5’9'' hitter, you’d expect him to luck into walks due to his size. That’s not the case either. He just doesn’t walk, and his 4.8% walk rate during his career shows that.
How has he accomplished this feat in 2014? Well, he sees the third-most fastballs in the MLB (68.2%), so it’s possible that pitchers are just laying the ball in there for him. As we all know, Revere has just one home run in his career. With a Zone % of 49.3%, we can see that, in fact, he does see a ton of strikes: 19th-most in baseball. While walking only 2% of the time is a terribly low number, it’s probably the best stat to own compared to the next four.
Billy Butler's Isolated Power
The man with the famous BBQ sauce in Kansas City must have skipped out on meats this offseason because he’s lost his power. This is evident by his .058 isolated power (ISO). Are you unsure of how bad that is? Well, the aforementioned Ben Revere comes in at 165 pounds and has the worst ISO in the MLB at .051. With his small frame, at least he has an excuse for his lower power numbers. Butler is fourth-worst in the bigs, even though he weighs 75 more pounds than Revere.
This certainly wasn’t expected out of the Royals' slugger, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to trend upwards. Since Butler hit 51 doubles in 2009, he's seen his doubles’ numbers go down each season. Also, his ISO was just .124 last season, which puts him in the classification of below average. If you’re thinking Butler has bounce back potential think otherwise. His numbers are trending downwards not the other way around.
Torii Hunter's Ultimate Zone Rating
Pretty T, as he likes to call himself, hasn't been pretty out there in right field. He currently owns the lowest ultimate zone rating (UZR) in Major League Baseball. His -10.3 UZR is 1.3 worse than the next worst fielder, Hanley Ramirez. He does the least damage when it comes to his range, as he has an -8.6 RngR, which makes him second-worst in baseball.
Although Hunter was known for his spectacular catches in center field in Minnesota, he really hasn’t been that great of a defender in his career. Including 2014, Hunter has been in the negatives when it comes to UZR eight of the last nine times he's qualified. The trend doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
Carlos Santana's Batting Average on Balls in Play
Santana has had quite the disappointing season for those drafting him in season leagues, and even more so for those who consistently bite on his cheap price in daily fantasy. He currently owns the lowest batting average on balls in play (BABIP), and, not surprisingly, he also has the lowest batting average (AVG) as well. When your BABIP is .177, it’s pretty much expected that you’d be hitting .159.
Is Santana’s terrible BABIP bad luck though? His career BABIP is .272, and his career high is only .301 (2013). His line-drive rate (LD%) is just 11.7%, third-worst in the bigs. The worst two hitters when it comes to LD% have BABIPs of .276 and .270. While Jonathan Schoop and Ian Desmond have more speed than Santana, they don’t have that much more speed. Due to that and the fact that .177 is just a ridiculously low BABIP number for a hitter with Santana's past, it’s safe to think he’ll rebound here eventually.
Jedd Gyorko's Everything
It is safe to say that I saved the best of the worst for last with this one. Gyorko currently is the worst hitter in the MLB for several hitter categories including: weighted runs created plus (wRC+), weighted-on-base average (wOBA), OBP, slugging percentage (SLG), and offense (Off).
It’s safe to say the San Diego Padres are regretting that five-year $35 million extension they gave to him earlier this season. While he has certainly struggled all season long, he does have two amazing positive feats in 2014. He hit a home run off of 2013’s AL Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, and more impressively, has a two home run game off of Jose Fernandez! He might be the only player in the MLB that wakes up every morning hoping to see Fernandez on the mound that night.