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Checking on the Pitchers’ Bats

With the second go-round of interleague play looming and roughly 40% of the season done, now seems like a good time to check in on how well pitchers are hitting. Although it’s usually not given too much thought, having a group of starting pitchers who are capable of putting bat to baseball outside of just laying down the sacrifice bunt can make a big difference. Let’s take a look at which National League teams’s hitters are better at being really bad hitters through yesterday’s games:

TM. PA. AVG.. OBP.. SLG.. wOBA wRC+ RAAP
ARI 160 0.162 0.208 0.243 0.206 +21 +6.8
LAN 155 0.162 0.232 0.208 0.206 +24 +6.6
HOU 139 0.176 0.210 0.227 0.199 +16 +5.1
FLA 155 0.165 0.221 0.181 0.190 .+9 +4.4
MIL 160 0.157 0.186 0.229 0.187 .+9 +4.2
CIN 156 0.161 0.173 0.219 0.174 .-2 +2.3
SFN 162 0.138 0.179 0.196 0.172 .-2 +2.1
PHI 169 0.158 0.185 0.178 0.165 -10 +1.2
CHN 140 0.144 0.164 0.192 0.161 -13 +0.5
WAS 155 0.126 0.165 0.134 0.142 -20 -2.0
COL 162 0.131 0.137 0.168 0.135 -30 -3.1
STL 164 0.113 0.143 0.141 0.132 -26 -3.6
ATL 150 0.096 0.137 0.120 0.123 -33 -4.4
SDN 138 0.105 0.118 0.137 0.115 -31 -5.0
NYN 153 0.087 0.120 0.126 0.114 -38 -5.7
PIT 154 0.083 0.109 0.098 0.097 -53 -8.0
AVG 155 0.135 0.168 0.175 0.157 -11 +0.0

The Dodgers have been powered so far by Chad Billingsley’s fantastic 8/26 line, including three doubles, a homer, and three walks. Barry Enright and Zach Duke, although they only have 21 combined PAs, have slugged three homers for Arizona. Zack Greinke has a homer for Milwaukee; Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf also have on-base percentages above .250. Houston has been powered by J.A. Happ’s .304/.360/.487 line, his .370 wOBA second only to Billingsley’s .401. Other notables include the ever-present Carlos Zambrano (.363 wOBA), Clayton Kershaw (.313 OBP), and Jason Hammel (.200 wOBA, but a homer against Greinke).

The bottom of the leaderboard presents some pretty hilarious lines, chief among them that of baseball’s best pitcher to date: Roy Halladay. Halladay has only two hits and a walk to go with 19 strikeouts in 44 plate appearances, good for a .069 wOBA. Remarkably enough, though, he has scored two runs already this year. Other oh-fer kings include Jhoulys Chacin (.093 wOBA), Kevin Correia (.066 wOBA), Charlie Morton (.047 wOBA), and Kyle Lohse (.084 wOBA). Most of these guys have pitched well this season, but it really should be noted that their poor performance at the plate does hurt the team a bit. Halladay, for example, will likely be a full win below the major league average by the time the season is over. Not that I wouldn’t take him, but that does sharply reduce his value to a National League club.