Why Is Andres Torres Still Playing?

The spark plug of the 2010 World Champion Giants hasn't been quite as combustible for the Mets thus far.

Since Eric opined that Mike Nickeas is undeserving of his current playing time back on June 21, the light-hitting backstop is batting .308. Well, here goes.

Andres Torres is undeserving of his current playing time. Among major league outfielders with 150 or more at bats Torres ranks second from the bottom in batting average as of July 1:

Num Player PA AVG
1 Cameron Maybin
294 .204
2 Andres Torres
190 .209
3 Chris Young
174 .214
4 Coco Crisp
215 .219
5 Brian Bogusevic
246 .222

I don't love to rely on the batting average as a measuring stick, but the thing is that Torres is sixth-worst in baseball in OPS as well.

A highly uncharacteristic BB% over 15 is the only thing keeping Torres from complete futility, buoying his OBP to a barely acceptable .333 — barely acceptable in a vacuum, that is. The problem for Torres is that he does literally nothing else, so that mediocre OBP isn't enough to justify his spot in the lineup.

We know the guy can't hit. Only three times over eight seasons has he batted .300 or higher in a given month. Ronny Cedeno — backup shortstop Ronny Cedeno — has done so eight times in the same number of seasons. Hell, Dickey's done it four times. For reference, David Wright has done it 23 times over nine seasons.

It's not even like you can say he's had the same success with RISP as noted rabbits' feet Justin Turner or Mike Nickeas, who have batted .400 and .368 respectively. Torres is rocking a .263 mark with ducks on the pond.

Yes, he's about the only serious stolen base threat the Mets have, but he's only been successful at a 75% rate, a level which would indicate he should be running less.

His speed has given Torres a reputation as a good defender in center. Anyone watching over the past month or so knows that he's been far worse than that reputation. And I'm not just talking about the inexplicable drop on the Harang flyball on Friday night. Following that play Gary and Ron got into the strangely bad reads he's gotten on balls all year. The metrics agree. Like everything he's done, the only substantial impact Torres had in that category took place in 2010.

On that note, frankly speaking, Torres is 34, and he's had one season of note in any regard. Just one season where in a representative number of at-bats he posted a .300 or greater wOBA. In most of his eight seasons he wasn't able to earn enough major league at-bats to even enter the discussion.

There's very little debate over the fact that Torres shouldn't be starting for the Mets. To his credit there are few other options that can man center, though Kirk Nieuwenhuis is one of them. With Mike Baxter on the comeback trail, Matt den Dekker showing off his tools in Triple-A , and Jason Bay somewhere on the horizon — the discussion Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins should be having is whether Torres can even cut it as the fourth outfielder.

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