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MLB Arizona Diamondbacks

You Could Make a Strong Case for Michael Martinez as the Single Worst Hitter in Baseball

I absolutely do not understand why Charlie Manuel has continued to keep Michael Martinez on the Philadelphia Phillies’ roster week after week after week – and for the second year in a row.

Martinez is a .179 career hitter. He is hitting .127 this season and he hit .115 in August. Last year, he batted .196. There’s really nothing about Martinez to suggest he is anything more than a mid-.100s hitter with very little power. He can run well and he can play many positions all over the field, but the simple fact that he’s versatile defensively isn’t enough to negate his offensive ineptitude.

Among all hitters with at least 70 plate appearances this season, Martinez’s .127 batting average ranks last, his .173 on-base percentage ranks last, his .211 slugging percentage ranks eighth-worst, and his .384 OPS rates dead-last in the game. Cliff Lee has a higher OPS at .431. So does Kyle Kendrick at .429. Cole Hamels is miles ahead at .575. If 60 percent of the starting pitchers have a higher OPS than Martinez, that’s a problem.

The last major league position player with that many plate appearances and a lower OPS was Kaz Matsui, who put up a .352 OPS in 2010 at the age of 35 when his career was all but over. Martinez’s .384 OPS shows he has absolutely no business being in the majors; he probably shouldn’t even be in Triple-A.

Martinez is one of just 17 position players in history to have batted at least 300 times with a batting average under .180 and an OPS under .505. He’s one of 11 players in history with at least 300 plate appearances, a batting average under .180, and 12 or fewer career extra-base hits. And among the three position players with at least 300 plate appearances and a batting average under .180 since 2000, he has the lowest OPS of them all (.501 to a .527 and .570 mark).

Martinez is under team control for many more seasons but I really can’t see him being on the 25-man roster again in 2013. Manuel would be better off calling up any random player from the Phillies’ Double-A or even single-A teams.