FanPost

Daniel Murphy And Empty Batting Averages

(Bumped from FanPosts. --Eric)

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I think we can all agree by now that Daniel Murphy can hit. He's put up a .293 average over 1320 MLB plate appearances, which is good for 34th among all MLB players (min 1000 PA) over the past four seasons. The issue is that hasn't done much of anything else this season, if you think of "hitting" as the simple act of accumulating hits, the definition used when people talk about Ichiro or Tony Gwynn. Of course, Murphy isn't exactly the same caliber hitter as either of those guys, which is part of the problem. He hovers around .300, not .330. So when that .300 average isn't supplemented by walks and extra-base hits, you have a recipe for an average hitter.

The following is a list of the emptiest batting averages in 2012 (min 130 PA):
IsoD (Isolated Discipline) = OBP - AVG
IsoP (Isolated Power) = SLG - AVG (this is usually just ISO, but I figured I'd distinguish the two "Iso"s)
wRC+ = Weighted Runs Created Plus, a better version of OPS+ (go to its Fangraphs glossary entry for a big explanation)

Name Team PA AVG OBP SLG IsoD IsoP IsoD + IsoP wRC+
1 Marlon Byrd CHC/BOS 137 .203 .235 .242 .032 .039 .071 14
2 Juan Pierre PHI 139 .299 .343 .331 .044 .031 .075 90
3 Alexei Ramirez CHW 183 .201 .228 .253 .027 .052 .079 24
4 Kurt Suzuki OAK 143 .221 .252 .279 .031 .059 .090 48
5 Erick Aybar ANA 160 .222 .247 .288 .025 .065 .090 49
6 Dee Gordon LAD 164 .209 .250 .261 .041 .052 .093 44
7 Placido Polanco PHI 158 .284 .316 .358 .032 .074 .106 85
8 Starlin Castro CHC 189 .313 .323 .413 .010 .101 .111 96
9 Tyler Pastornicky ATL 142 .263 .293 .346 .030 .083 .113 77
10 Jimmy Rollins PHI 191 .233 .296 .285 .063 .052 .115 66
11 Daniel Murphy NYM 190 .299 .353 .368 .054 .069 .123 102
12 Neil Walker PIT 168 .253 .299 .331 .046 .078 .124 75
13 Michael Young TEX 188 .267 .293 .367 .026 .100 .126 77
14 Yunel Escobar TOR 198 .258 .310 .335 .052 .077 .129 77
15 Jamey Carroll MIN 180 .231 .322 .269 .091 .038 .129 70
16 Emilio Bonifacio MIA 170 .268 .351 .315 .083 .047 .130 105
17 Marco Scutaro COL 179 .252 .315 .319 .063 .067 .130 66
18 Ichiro Suzuki SEA 202 .283 .317 .382 .034 .099 .133 101
19 Brett Lawrie TOR 170 .270 .312 .365 .042 .094 .136 87
20 Denard Span MIN 181 .291 .354 .364 .063 .073 .136 103
21 Cliff Pennington OAK 174 .217 .272 .298 .055 .081 .136 63
22 Clint Barmes PIT 139 .178 .206 .287 .028 .109 .137 25
23 Michael Brantley CLE 180 .269 .306 .374 .037 .105 .142 86
24 Kendrys Morales ANA 135 .294 .333 .397 .039 .103 .142 104
25 Gaby Sanchez MIA 131 .197 .244 .295 .047 .098 .145 43
26 Justin Smoak SEA 167 .209 .251 .316 .042 .108 .150 59


It's important to note that Murphy's walk rate is actually the highest of his career right now (but still below-average). He's on this list due to the disappearance of any sort of power. He was never a home run hitter, but last season he was on a 40 2B pace sometimes hit a home run in addition to the 40 2B pace, which made him a much more valuable hitter than the one who currently has an ISO comparable to Erick Aybar. I'd say Murphy needs to get back to hitting with some semblance of power to deserve the Irish Hammer nickname. Still, he's obviously a better hitter than almost everyone on this list, as he's sitting at .299. It's close to impossible to be a below-average hitter when your batting average is .299. Juan Pierre has managed it, though. (Full disclosure: I set the minimum PA requirement at 130 just so he could make the list; somehow he's just below the qualified hitter line.)

The other side of the coin is that pretty much every player on this list is better at the rest of baseball than Murphy. He's surrounded by middle infielders who are actually middle infielders, speedy outfielders, and clubhouse leaders (lol jk Michael Young). The guys who aren't much good at anything else or have averages much lower than Murphy just suck. It's not a wonderful list to be on. You can still contribute, but only a few of these players have been above-average overall so far this season.

We're only 40 games in, so it's maybe too early to worry much about Murphy's power outage, but if it doesn't end soon, his bat is not going to be good enough to override his deficiencies elsewhere.

Some other notes:

  • Three Phillies in the top 10! I italicized them for maximum LOL PHILLIES. Man, their offense is badddd.
  • Kinda obvious why Gaby Sanchez was sent down.
  • It probably seems weird to have a leaderboard of 26 players, but I added that extra spot for #6org.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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