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2013 leads the way in spectacularly bad offensive performances

Sep 29, 2013, 6:01 PM EDT

B.J. Upton Getty Images

By OPS, the 2013 season boasts three of the six worst offensive seasons since 2000:

.545 – Cesar Izturis (2010 Orioles)
.559 – Alcides Escobar (2013 Royals)
.562 – Nick Punto (2007 Twins)
.564 – Neifi Perez (2002 Royals)
.565 – Adeiny Hechavarria (2013 Marlins)
.569 – Darwin Barney (2013 Cubs)
.576 – Ramon Santiago (2003 Tigers)
.588 – Michael Bourn (2008 Astros)
.592 – Angel Berroa (2006 Royals)
.593 – Brad Ausmus (2006 Astros)

Yes, the Royals have had some shortstop troubles through the years.

Now, those are just the guys that qualified for the batting title. It doesn’t count Pete Kozma‘s .548 mark in 410 at-bats or B.J. Upton‘s .556 in 391 at-bats. Upton, though, does have the very worst OPS for an outfielder minimum 400 plate appearances since 2000.

.557 – B.J. Upton (2013 Braves)
.559 – Willy Taveras (2009 Reds)
.560 – Peter Bergeron (2001 Expos)

And how about Blue Jays J.P. Arencibia? He finished six plate appearances shy of qualifying for the batting title or his .595 OPS would have put him 12th on the first list. What’s amazing is that he managed the sub-.600 OPS while hitting 21 homers. That’s far and away the worst OPS ever for a 20-homer guy:

.595 – J.P. Arencibia (2013 Blue Jays)
.649 – Willie Kirkland (1962 Indians)
.654 – Marquis Grissom (2001 Dodgers)
.660 – Vernon Wells (2011 Angels)
.663 – Tony Batista (2003 Orioles)

And what’s a “spectacularly bad offensive performances” article without a Yuniesky Betancourt cameo. With his .595 OPS, Betancourt didn’t rank among the very worst hitters this year, but he was spectacularly bad for a guy who played first base half of the time.

Here are the worst OPSs for first baseman (min. 400 plate appearances) during the expansion era (1961-present):

.566 – Ed Kranepool (1968 Mets)
.591 – Dan Meyer (1978 Mariners)
.595 – Yuniesky Betancourt (2013 Brewers)
.600 – Enos Cabell (1981 Astros)
.602 – Pete Rose (1983 Phillies)


  1. db1001 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Neifi Perez….but wasn’t he on steroids lol

    • jwbiii - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:45 PM

      No. Busted twice for amphetamines.

  2. rbj1 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    The entire Houston Astros. A new record for team strikeouts. And the last time a team lost 15 to end the season it was the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. They were soon disbanded.

    • bmh9500 - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      Giving Chris Carter ~600 PAs will do that to you.

  3. proudlycanadian - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    This had to be a Matthew Pouliot thread as he celebrates failure.

    • yahmule - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:01 AM


  4. rhmurphy - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Isn’t it rather unsurprising that there would be several especially “bad” offensive performances when offense is down overall? This will not look nearly as extreme if done with OPS+.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      Yes, but we don’t have real OPS+ yet, considering that they are three-year park factors used by B-Ref. Also, OPS+ hasn’t been updated for today yet and I’m trying to work in real time here.

      By OPS+, Escobar and Hechavarria do fare better. Upton’s is 3rd worst, not worst, in the OF since 2000. Arencibia is still far and away the worst (61 OPS+). And Betancourt (61 OPS+) is the worst 1B easy. Kranepool comes in at 70, Cabell at 67.

  5. apkyletexas - Sep 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Clint Hurdle tried to set baseball back 150 years this season by giving Brandon Inge 100 at-bats of .445 OPS the first month and a half. Fortunately, management took Inge out of his hands.

    • bmh9500 - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Clint Hurdle, favorite for Manager of the Year? UNPOSSIBLE

  6. nygdriveforfive - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    J.P.A season was historically bad. I honestly don’t think he can be any worse next season. The jays can not afford to have the worst overall catcher in mlb starting next season. Even Thole has grown on me. And yes J.P got boos today (I was not the only one).

  7. roanboon - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Does Doug Melvin know Yuniesky Betancourt is a bad hitter?

  8. straightouttavtown - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    At the rate we’re going, we’re gonna be back in the new Deadball Era in no time. No wonder baseball popularity is way down.

  9. yahmule - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    The .602 mark for Pete Rose in 1983 was when I personally began to hate him. Sportswriters and announcers still talked him up like he was a great player. He threw a little hissy fit when Dallas Green dared to start his old pal Tony Perez over him @ 1B in a World Series game that season. He slugged .286 that year. 14 doubles and three triples in 555 PA. The year before, his OPS was .683 and he started @ 1B in the All Star Game.

  10. ctony1216 - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    OK, I’ll take a stab at some reasons for this:

    1. Fewer players are taking PEDs
    2. More players are swinging for HRs, and not shortening their stroke with two strikes.
    3. More players and coaches are focusing on the mechanics of their swing rather than developing an approach for attacking a pitcher and getting on base. (The Red Sox are the exception to this rule. Those guys wear out pitchers.)
    4. 7th and 8th inning relievers throw 96 mph.

    Or, it could just be a coincidence.

    • bmh9500 - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Too many people are going to agree with your 1-3…

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