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Amazin' Avenue Mets Awards: Worst Hitter

When your team finishes 13th in the NL in wOBA (plus 14th in on-base percentage and 12th in slugging percentage), there should be plenty of candidates from which to select the worst hitter on the team. Eight different players received votes here, with media darling Jeff Francoeur collecting the most points overall. Vote-wise, Francoeur was as bad as Ruben Tejada and Gary Matthews Jr. combined. That's a combo platter of ineptitude.

Just how bad was Francoeur? The average NL shortstop hit .266/.325/.388 in 2010; Jeff Francoeur, a right fielder, hit .237/.293/.369. But really, enough words have been spilled here in eulogy of Jeff Francoeur's once-promising career and carrying on any further would be beside the point. It may be time to invoke the mercy rule vis-a-vis editorializing Francoeur's baseball exploits.

But that won't keep me from drawing attention to some of the other offensive sinkholes who got far more plate appearances than can reasonably be excused.

  • Alex Cora came to the plate 187 times this season, which is perhaps fitting because his bat serially murdered Mets scoring opportunities at every turn. He hit .207/.265/.278, and his .543 OPS was the worst for any Met with that amount of playing time since Joe McEwing's .538 in 2002.
  • Ruben Tejada had 255 plate appearances with a batting line of .213/.305/.282 and a .266 wOBA. His on-base percentage, meager as it was, would have been even worse if not for the eight times Tejada was hit by a pitch (a talent he seemed to cultivate in the minors). Rubes has basically no power to speak of, collecting just 12 doubles and one home run in nearly a half-season of playing time.
  • Rod Barajas hit 11 home runs in April and May and did basically nothing else until he was mercifully traded to the Dodgers in late August. He hit .225/.263/.414 with the Mets; that on-base percentage was the third-worst in all of baseball for players with at least 250 plate appearances. As good as he was in those first two months, his subsequent two months were so bad that on balance he was essentially a replacement-level catcher.
  • Luis Castillo had 247 plate appearances and just six extra-base hits: four doubles and two triples. He had the highest walk rate in his career -- a laudable feat for such a patient hitter -- but the fact that he hit for far less power than even Tejada is really astonishing. His .032 isolated power (slugging percentage less batting average) was the lowest in all of baseball. There were 22 pitchers who hit for more power than Castillo (min. 50 PA).

So congratulations to Jeff Francoeur: the worst hitter on a team with some breathtakingly awful batsmen.

Here is how everyone voted.

1st 2nd 3rd
Alex Ruben Tejada Jeff Francoeur Alex Cora
Eno Jeff Francoeur Ruben Tejada Alex Cora
Eric Alex Cora Ruben Tejada Jeff Francoeur
James Jeff Francoeur Alex Cora Luis Castillo
Joe Luis Castillo Rod Barajas Jeff Francoeur
Mark Jeff Francoeur Alex Cora Rod Barajas
Matthew Gary Matthews Jr. Mike Jacobs Jeff Francoeur
Rob Gary Matthews Jr. Alex Cora Jesus Feliciano
Sam Jeff Francoeur Ruben Tejada Alex Cora

And here is the final vote tally.

Player Points
Jeff Francoeur 17
Alex Cora 12
Ruben Tejada 9
Gary Matthews Jr. 6
Luis Castillo 4
Rod Barajas 3
Mike Jacobs 2
Jesus Feliciano 1