The Best And Worst Hitting Pitchers in Baseball: Part II — The Worst

Here is my list of the worst five hitting pitchers currently playing major league baseball.  Please again note that pitchers have to have at least 100 career major league at-bats in order to weed out those who have spent their entire careers in the American League or haven’t been in the majors very long, and to weed out flukes based on very small sample sizes.

1.  Brian Moehler.  The 38 year old right-hander who appeared in 20 games for the Astros this season is by far the worst hitting pitcher I was able to find.

Moehler has a career .045 batting average (9 for 202 with two doubles as his only extra base hits) and a .152 OPS.  That’s pretty terrible.

Moehler was drafted by the Tigers and played the first six years of his major league career in the AL, which certainly didn’t give him many opportunities to develop hitting skills.

However, there is no one-to-one correlation between beginning one’s major league career in the American League and being unable to hit.  For example, Dan Haren nearly made my list of the top five hitters in MLB, despite spending most of his early career in the AL.

Similarly, Tim Hudson (.182 batting average, .446 OPS) and Johan Santana (.162, .440) are good-hitting pitchers, despite having spent the first six or more years of their respective major league careers in the AL.

2.  Clayton Kershaw.  The Dodgers young southpaw is still young enough to improve as a hitter.  However, his career numbers to date (.078 batting average with no extra base hits in 115 ABs and a .187 OPS) are horrendous.

3.  Ben Sheets.  One thing Big Ben can’t do, aside from keeping his pitching elbow healthy, is hit.  He has an .078 batting average and .200 OPS in more than 400 career ABs.  You could make a strong argument that Sheets should be No. 2 on this list given all the extra ABs he’s had compared to Kershaw.

4.  Claudio Vargas.  Vargas is the owner of a career .080 batting average and a .195 OPS.

5.  Doug Davis.  He’s another pitcher who hasn’t been able to do a thing with more than 400 major league ABs.  He has an .085 batting average and an even .200 OPS.  He’s better than Ben Sheets with the bat, but not much.

A few other exceptionally bad-hitting pitchers are: Aaron Harang (.094 batting average, .218 OPS — size doesn’t matter when it comes to hitting), Anibal Sanchez (.083, .237), Mike Pelfrey (.089, .242), Ryan Dempster (.098, .241) and Miguel Batista (.094, .257).

Roy Halladay’s .108 batting average and .225 OPS deserve mention.  However, it’s not entirely fair to include him in this list because 64 of his 102 career ABs have come this year, his first season in the NL.  After playing in the AL for 12 consecutive seasons, it’s safe to say that Doc is a little out of practice.

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