Two Buccos failed to hit .150 in April while getting at least 50 plate appearances. Everyone knows their names: Clint Barmes and Rod Barajas. The result wasn’t all that pretty as Pittsburgh had the worst offense in baseball for the month.
I was wondering what kind of hitter fails to hit .150 in a month? Are they catchers? Do they continue to get regular playing time? Do they rebound to post a decent season if given the chance? So, I ran the data at mlb.com for 2011. I pulled in every instance in which a player had at least 50 plate appearances in a given month. Here is what I found.
There were 1660 total player months in which a player got at least 50 plate appearances. 428 different players were involved.
There were 29 instances of a player hitting less than .150 in a month in which they got 50 plate appearances. 26 different players were involved (Adam Dunn did it three times and Paul Janish did it twice). 1.7% (29/1660) of all player months with at least 50 plate appearances resulted in a batting average of .150 or less. 6.1% (26/428) of all players who got 50 plate appearances in a month hit less than .150 in one of those month.
Notable players involved include Brian McCann (actually started the All-Star game before stumbling in August), Jorge Posada, Chris Young, Adam LaRoche, Casey McGehee, Grady Sizemore and David DeJesus.
Of the 26 different players who accomplished the feat, eight of them were backstops. Final batting averages for the season ranged from .119 (Dan Johnson) to .273 (Yorvit Torrealba). Nine of the 26 players rebounded to hit at least .225 on the season. 13 of the players failed to hit .200 on the season. Offending players averaged a total of 290 at bats on the year. Four players wound up getting enough at bats to qualify for the batting title (which they obviously didn’t win) – DeJesus, McCann, McGehee and Young. Dunn just missed.
Only one team in 2011 had two players hit less than .150 in the same month. The Rays had the aforementioned Johnson and catcher Kelly Shoppach both hit less than .150 in April of 2011.
Based on data from 2011, it happens most often to catchers. Most of them wind up being part time players. Getting over the Mendoza line proves to be difficult. None of this makes me feel any better. But it does satisfy some curiosity.