Monday, November 19, 2007

Lowest OPS by a DH in a Season Since 1973

Same old story 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 as a designated hitter.

The Top 20:

Ted Simmons1984MIL532.221.269.300.569
Alvin Davis1991SEA528.221.299.335.634
Dave Parker1991CAL/TOR541.239.288.365.653
Mitchell Page1979OAK539.247.323.335.658
Gerald Perry1990KCR512.254.313.361.674
Scott Hatteberg2005OAK523.256.334.343.677
Dave Kingman1986OAK604.210.255.431.686
Hank Aaron1975MIL543.234.332.355.687
Deron Johnson1975CHW/BOS621.239.300.388.688
Carl Yastrzemski1981BOS390.246.338.355.693
Ruben Sierra1996NYY/DET587.247.320.375.695
Alex Johnson1973TEX663.287.322.377.699
Lee May1978BAL590.246.286.414.700
Tommy Davis1974BAL673.289.325.377.702
Reggie Jackson1984CAL584.223.300.406.706
Andre Thornton1985CLE514.236.304.408.712
George Bell1992CHW670.255.294.418.712
Rico Carty1979TOR512.256.322.390.712
Darrell Evans1988DET522.208.337.380.717
Paul Molitor1998MIN559.281.335.382.717

This list has a lot of good players on the downside of their careers on it. Mitchell Page and Gerald Perry are the only two players under the age of thirty to appear and besides them, only five others were under the age of thirty-five. There's also no repeats which suggests the players stopped being everyday players (whether through injury or age) and/or teams found they simply had better options at designated hitter.

Since they are the only two guys on the list under thirty, we might as well look at Page and Perry.

Mitchell Page was a one-time Rookie of the Year candidate (who may have been robbed: compare his rookie stats to 1977 winner Eddie Murray's) that essentially disappeared after his age-28 season in 1980. He played four more years but never got more than 100 at bats in a season. He played the role of Angels player "Abascal" in the movie Angels in the Outfield and spent time as a coach for the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Nationals before being granted a leave of absence from his position as hitting coach for the Nationals this past May.

Gerald Perry also is a hitting coach in the major leagues, plying his trade for the Mariners, Pirates, Athletics and, currently, the Cubs. He only spent one season in the American League, depriving him of a chance to appear on the Lowest OPS by a DH more than once. He was a first baseman for most of his playing career.

Only 83 seasons by a DH ended with a below-.800 OPS. Ten of those have occurred since 2000 with Scott Hatteberg's 2005 obviously the lowest. Here are the rest of the guys:
  • Edgar Martinez, 2004, .727
  • Carl Everett, 2005, .746
  • Greg Vaughn, 2001, .766
  • Brad Fullmer, 2001, .770
  • Jose Vidro, 2007, .775
  • Randall Simon, 2002, .779
  • Aubrey Huff, 2007, .779
  • Raul Ibanez, 2005, .791
  • Dmitri Young, 2005, .796
Obviously, Vidro and Huff take the cake as the worst DH's of 2007. To really cherry-pick and make them look bad, they have the 29th and 31st worst seasons ever by OPS of DH's under age 35 qualifying for the batting title. :)

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