Title: San Diego’s Historically Tenuous Trio
Date: May 16, 2014
Original Source: Fangraphs
Synopsis: This article looked at the horribly ineffective group of hitters the San Diego Padres had been using to begin the season.
The San Diego Padres currently own the worst offense in baseball. Maybe that’s not surprising given that they play half of their games in Petco Park, one of the league’s most pitcher-friendly confines. Still, an average of three runs per game is paltry, and the fact that they’ve scored three runs or less – when teams win just 22 percent of the time this season – in 26 of their 40 games is rather astounding, especially since they’ve managed to go 19-21.
It’s so bad, in fact, that even when the park is controlled for using weighted runs created plus (wRC+), the Padres still grade out as the worst offense in baseball, and by a significant margin. Their wRC+ of 75 is indicative of an offense 25 percent worse than the league average, and they’ve produced quite a cushion between themselves and the next worst offense (the Cubs, with a wRC+ of 81).
Where does the blame fall for this kind of offensive ineptitude? You’d think it would be a team-wide epidemic but most of the blame can fall squarely on the league’s most tenuous trio.
Before looking at the three regular hitters sinking the offensive ship, it’s only fair to point out that Padres pitchers have produced a -18 wRC+, a mark that stands a hair above the league median but is ninth among National League teams. Their pitchers aren’t to blame for their NL-relative weakness, but their 73 plate appearances do explain some of the gap between the Friars and the worst American League offense (the Mariners, with a wRC+ of 82).
What does hurt the Padres, however, is having three of the seven worst qualified hitters on the season as everyday players in their lineup. Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable rank 176th, 175th and 173rd, respectively, out of 179 qualified hitters in wRC+ this year with marks of 41, 41 and 46. Said differently, the Padres are regularly employing three of just seven players in all of baseball who have been less than half as good as the average player.
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