Most pitchers are atrociously bad hitters. The major league average batting line for pitchers is .129/.156/.161, with a 36.8 percent strikeout rate. For New York Mets pitchers it's even worse, as they are hitting .074/.131/.090 with a 43.2 percent strikeout rate. Bartolo Colon is hitless in 27 plate appearances with 17 strikeouts.
However, there is one Mets pitcher that is making waves at the plate. Jacob deGrom has managed a .412/.462/.500 line in 16 plate appearances. He's responsible for five of the nine hits by Mets pitchers. Monday night manager Terry Collins slotted him in at 8th in the Mets lineup.
deGrom has produced more value with his bat than his arm. At the plate he's been good for 1.6 batting runs and 0.4 fWAR, which makes him the Mets fifth-most productive batter on the year. On the mound he's been exactly replacement-level, posting an FIP of 4.33. Of course his little league-esque .625 in-play batting average will drop, but let's enjoy the absurdity of it while it lasts.
Overall, there are just four major league pitchers that have been at least average with the bat while receiving at least 10 plate appearances. Jacob Turner and Adam Wainwright are lurking close behind with a 99 and 97 wRC+, respectively. Besides deGrom, Chicago Cubs slugger Travis Wood owns a .250/.300/.500 line for a 119 wRC+ with two home runs. Madison Bumgarner has also smacked two home runs, and he possesses a .242/.278/.455 line for a 104 wRC+. Jhoulys Chacin is at .300/.364/.400. Last year's star hitting pitcher, Zack Greinke, is "slumping" to .185/.241/.333, which still places him 9th.
Pitcher hitting stats are fun, though in the big scheme of things, they are relatively insignificant. For example, the team with the best hitting pitchers, the St. Louis Cardinals, has managed a .145/.197/.202 batting line, which comes out to 0.4 fWAR. On the other end of the spectrum is the Atlanta Braves, whose pitchers have a .105/.122/.112 slash line, adding up to -0.5 fWAR. Last season the separation between the best and worst teams was a more significant three wins, thanks to the total ineptitude of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hit .104/.138/.104. Over the last ten years, the difference between the teams with the best and worst hitting pitchers is only 12 wins.
Here's a one more interesting tidbit about pitcher batting stats. Since interleague play was introduced in 1997, there are four teams who have not had a pitcher hit a home run. Those teams would be the Yankees, Twins, Angels and Athletics. In that time frame, the Mets have the fewest home runs for a National League team, with just 10 long balls to their credit. Mets fans have had to suffer through more than their fair share of bad-hitting pitchers. Maybe deGrom can change that.
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Stats courtesy of Fangraphs
Chris Moran is a former college baseball player and current law student at Washington University in St. Louis. He's also an assistant baseball coach at Wash U. In addition to Beyond The Box Score, he contributes at Prospect Insider and Gammons Daily. He went to his first baseball game at age two. Follow him on Twitter @hangingslurves