Revisiting the Postseason’s Worst Hitters
Last week, I posted a feature on the worst hitters in the postseason. I would like to revisit that today now that we are down to four teams. In particular we have evidence from play in the LDS to determine which hitters are integral parts of their teams and which are merely on the bench.
New York Yankees – Jose Molina, C – Last time I picked Melky Cabrera, and he remains the weakest Yankee hitter that will start every game. However, as Molina is officially the starting catcher when A.J. Burnett pitches, which could happen twice in the ALCS, I think he deserves the title. Molina is an atrocious hitter, with an OPS of .560, down from his career mark of .609, and a wOBA of .260. The Yankees, of course, have one advantage at this point; it is easy to hide Molina in the Yankee lineup.
Los Angeles Angels – Jeff Mathis, C – If the Yankees are going to be docked for the normal backup catcher, the Angels deserve the same treatment. Mathis played in two of the three LDS games, starting Game 1. As Lackey’s catcher, he could start 2 or 3 games in the LCS, depending on how Mike Scioscia sets up the Angels rotation. Mathis can’t hit. He had a .596 OPS this season, right in line with his career .597. His wOBA was .264, which only looks good in comparison to Molina. In both the Yankees and Angels cases, they have good hitting catchers, but they each choose to play weak hitters with regularity.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Russell Martin, C – Martin had an OPS of .680 with a wOBA of .307. This year is completely out of line with Martin’s previous career, though it did continue into the LDS. In the series with St. Louis, Martin got one hit in nine at-bats, though he did draw three walks.
Philadelphia Phillies – Pedro Feliz, 3B – Feliz and Martin remain from the original list. Though Feliz is no longer as good a third basemen as he was three years ago, he is still well above average. However, he has never been an acceptable hitter, let alone a good one. For the season, Feliz had an OPS of .694 and a wOBA of .302.
For what it is worth, these players group together along series lines. Both backups that start occasionally face-off, while both poor hitting starters face off in the other league. Given that, the Yankees probably have the smallest of advantages; Jose Molina should play the least.