Friday, November 16, 2007

Lowest OPS by a CF in a Season Since 1920

Center fielders usually have a lower OPS than corner outfielders. Generally this is because they are slap hitters that rely on speed rather than power to get around the bases. There have been some exceptions in baseball history, but it's safe to assume the average quarterback in the outfield is a lesser hitter (in terms of OPS) than the players on either side of him.

As for all the positions: the explanation of why I chose to look at seasons since 1920 can be found here. The short story is I wanted to avoid the low-power years of the deadball era while compiling lists of poor-hitting position players.

Qualifiers also remain the same: the player must have qualified for the batting title during the season while playing 75% or more of his games in center field.

The Top 20 list:

Del Unser1968WSA690.
Gary Pettis1988DET512.
Jim Busby1952CHW/WSH589.236.273.305.578
Dain Clay1944CIN391.
Bill Virdon1964PIT511.
Brian McRae1992KCR592.223.285.308.593
Mike Kreevich1941CHW484.232.289.305.594
Max Carey1926PIT/BRO483.231.294.300.594
Ray Powell1920BSN666.225.282.314.596
Dain Clay1946CIN502.228.318.280.598
Johnny Rucker1944NYG622.244.275.325.600
Gerald Young1989HOU620.233.326.276.602
Omar Moreno1982PIT706.245.292.315.607
Darren Lewis1995SFG/CIN527.250.311.297.608
Rick Manning1983CLE/MIL615.246.292.316.608
Willie Davis1965LAD595.238.263.346.609
Omar Moreno1983HOU/NYY592.244.284.330.614
Ken Berry1965CHW518.218.268.347.615
Juan Beniquez1976TEX526.255.315.301.616
Fred Brickell1931PHI563.253.316.305.621

A lot of the guys on this list changed teams during the season. I wonder if their original teams were sick of them not hitting well or if their reputation as defenders was such they were coveted.

Since 1920, 66 seasons were put up with a .650 OPS or lower. If you expand that to .700 or below, the number jumps up to 239. Only two players since 2000 had an OPS below .650, but 21 were between .650 and .700 -- since I didn't post yesterday, I'll make it up by putting the whole darn list up. :)
  • Marquis Grissom, 2000, .639
  • Endy Chavez, 2003, .648
  • Doug Glanville, 2001, .660
  • Willy Taveras, 2005, .666
  • Peter Bergeron, 2000, .669
  • Willy Taveras, 2006, .671
  • Jeremy Reed, 2005, .674
  • Juan Pierre, 2002, .675
  • Corey Patterson, 2002, .676
  • Scott Podsednik, 2004, .677
  • Juan Pierre, 2005, .680
  • Doug Glanville, 2000, .681
  • Alex Sanchez, 2003, .682
  • Chris Singleton, 2000, .683
  • Juan Pierre, 2007, .684
  • Tike Redman, 2004, .684
  • Bernie Williams, 2005, .688
  • Terrence Long, 2002, .688
  • Endy Chavez, 2004, .689
  • Corey Patterson, 2007, .690
  • Darin Erstad, 2001, .691
  • Jay Payton, 2004, .693
  • Tom Goodwin, 2000, .698
Obviously, Juan Pierre had the lowest OPS (.684) among center fielders this past season. Who even knew Corey Patterson was playing enough anymore to qualify for the batting title?

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