Stat of the Day: Who are the best-hitting pitchers?

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In honor of Ross Ohlendorf smacking a three-run homer against the Dodgers last night after coming into the game with a career .070 batting average, here’s a list of the best-hitting active pitchers based on their career OPS:

                     PA      OPS
Micah Owings        217     .820
Dontrelle Willis    443     .663
Yovani Gallardo     263     .660
Carlos Zambrano     708     .646
CC Sabathia         104     .627
Mike Leake          125     .606
Daniel Hudson       106     .601
Dan Haren           291     .581

Prior to this season Micah Owings was so good at hitting and so bad at pitching that becoming a hitter who occasionally pitches seemed like a good idea, but he’s 7-0 with a 3.05 ERA in 59 innings for the Diamondbacks and is hitting just .211.

All of the other guys on the above list have impressive numbers for a pitcher, but it’s worth noting that they’re still pretty terrible at the plate in general. For instance, Dontrelle Willis has the second-best OPS at .663, which is lower than position players who’re often mocked for their lack of production like Aaron Miles (.674), Jack Wilson (.676), Miguel Cairo (.682), and Yuniesky Betancourt (.683).

Incidentally, after last night’s homer Ohlendorf boosted his career OPS from .140 to .211 (and it comes with a nifty 47/3 K/BB ratio).

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.