MLB History: Can Jayson Werth's Batting Average With RISP Be Beat?
There are times when an idea, a theory, or a point needs to be made with extensive evidence, logic, and explanation. The idea/theory/point can be so subtle, so complex, so involved, that the importance of it is not immediately clear. Some ideas take a lifetime to understand.
I am not here today with such an idea.
This is my 150th article with Bleacher Report, and I am going to use it on a point that does not require much discussion. It is a point whose relevance, like the very truths referenced by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence, should be self-evident.
As of Wednesday night's game, the Philadelphia Phillies' Jayson Werth is batting .300 with a .913 OPS. With the bases empty, he is hitting .333 (including last night's solo home run). With men on base, his batting average drops down to .255.
And with runners in scoring position, his batting average is an appalling .157.
Like I said, I won't spend much time discussing this point, except to say the following: This is a historical number.
I have searched about 50 players from throughout baseball history for whom season splits are available on baseball-reference.com, and I have only found one player whose batting average with runners in scoring position dipped so low.
His name was Don Wert, and he played for the Detroit Tigers in 1968. He matched Werth's current .157, but his overall batting average was .200. He was not exactly a great hitter.
There was also Curt Blefary, who hit .165 with runners in scoring position that same year, but also only hit .200 overall.
When it comes to guys who were actual hitters, who actually had decent full-season batting averages, forget it. You can't find a player who has performed so poorly with runners in scoring position.
Luke Scott, for example, who is currently hitting .295, dips down to a shocking .186 with runners in scoring position, but even that is almost 30 points higher than Werth.
Mark Reynolds, on the other hand, is hitting .212 on the season, but with runners in scoring position, he's hitting .271.
And there's Rob Deer in 1991, when his RISP-AVG dipped down to .168. To put that in perspective, Deer hit .179 that season, so his average with runners in scoring position was only 11 points lower than his season average.
Werth's is 143 points lower. Shocking.
So I put it to you, baseball fans.
Let's find a real hitter (as in, not a guy who hit .200 for the season) whose batting average with runners in scoring position was as low or lower than Werth's current .157, because it has to be out there. Just to set some parameters, let's say that this player must have qualified for the batting title for the season, and must have hit at least .250 for the year.
We can do this.
And if you can find me a guy and you live in Philly, I'll buy you a cheesesteak.
That you will have earned it is self-evident.
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