Stats Corner: Mercer's bat historically bad in 2014
Shortstops are generally a light-hitting bunch, compiling the lowest on-base plus slugging percentage (.683) of any spot on the diamond. But even by that modest standard, Jordy Mercer has been a wreck at the plate. The 27-year-old slugged his way into the lineup last year, but he's struggling to get the ball out of the infield in 2014 — and challenging franchise records for offensive ineptitude in the process.
Mercer was the majors' eighth-best hitter among shortstops in 2013 as measured by OPS+, which adjusts a player's OPS for park and league factors and places it on a scale where 100 is average. In the National League, only Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Desmond topped Mercer's 118 OPS+ (minimum 300 plate appearances).
This year, Mercer's adjusted OPS is 68 percent below the MLB average. With a 32 OPS+, he is turning in one of the all-time worst offensive performances for a Pirates shortstop.
All glove, no bat
Player Season OPS+
Enrique Wilson 2001 11
Brian Bixler 2008 15
Huck Geary 1943 22
Mario Mendoza 1976 30
Jordy Mercer 2014 32
Mercer has been somewhat unlucky (his batting average on balls in play is just .224), but he's channeling Mario Mendoza in part because his ground ball rate has spiked from 46.8 percent last season to 60.5 percent this year. Driving pitches into the dirt so often, Mercer has yet to homer entering play Saturday.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle continues to play Mercer despite his poor start, hoping the shortstop can reclaim his 2013 form. That's a stretch, but one projection system predicts Mercer will post a .667 OPS during the rest of the season — close to the positional average and comfortably above the projection for Barmes (.591).
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Twins 2
- About face: Pirates’ Burnett now digging the shifts
- Pirates notebook: Worley bounces back after rough start
- Pirates notebook: Catcher Sanchez to break camp with Pirates
- Forbes: Pirates worth $900 million
- Spring training breakdown: Braves 7, Pirates 5
- Pirates notebook: RV is home to pitcher Lincoln for spring training
- Reliever Caminero’s chances of making Pirates’ roster heating up
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen says he’s ‘glad’ to be on field