One of sport’s most difficult skills is hitting a baseball. It’s hard. It’s even harder for Major League Baseball pitchers. A couple times a game, and even less frequently for those in the American League, pitchers are asked to come to the plate and bat. Most are not very good, but some are just simply awful. Here’s a look at last year’s worst hitting pitchers.
Cody Reed, Cincinnati Reds Reed started seven games for the Reds last year and made 17 total appearances. His pitching record of 1-3 with a 3.98 ERA didn’t turn many heads. His hitting? It dropped many heads in disbelief. How could someone be so bad? In 11 official at-bats last season, Reed struck out 10 times. He put one ball in play, a nice, soft ground ball that registered 70 miles per hour, the same speed at which Little Leaguers pitch. For his career, Reed is 0-for-24. Ouch.
Elieser Hernandez, Miami Marlins The 23-year-old Hernandez pitched 65.2 innings for the Marlins last season and went 2-7 with a 5.21 ERA. It was his first season in the majors and he had to get adjusted to the pitching … and the hitting. Hernandez never reached base in the minor leagues and it carried over into his major league debut. In 11 trips to the plate in 2018, Hernandez went 0-for-11 without a single positive as a result. A handful of other pitchers that went 0-for-11 at least had one sacrifice bunt. Not for Hernandez. Nothing. And he struck out seven times. That’s bad.
Jose Urena, Miami Marlins Urena was once compared to Vladimir Guerrero. Because he swings a lot. At least Guerrero hit the ball. Urena batted 52 times in 2018 and while he hit .042, struck out in almost 70 percent of those appearances at the plate. As a result of his ineptitude, Urena tries to bunt … a lot. He tried to bunt for a hit nine times last season. None were successful. In fact, none of his bunts have been successful since 2015. He did lay down three successful sacrifice bunts in nine attempts in 2018. Still, Urena strikes out more than any other pitcher and he hits the ball with less power – average exit velocity of 64 mph.
Ivan Nova, Pittsburgh Penguins Nova is a big (6-5, 250) powerful pitcher who went 9-9 with a 4.19 ERA in 29 starts for the Pirates this season. He’s also one of the worst hitting pitchers of all-time. Last season, he was a dismal 1-for-56 giving him an average of .019. How he batted worse than he did in 2017 – Nova hit .020 – is anyone’s guess. In 161 career at-bats, Nova’s slash line is .042/.042/.042 which indicates that 1) he has never reached base on a walk, 2) he has never had an extra base hit, and 3) he has the worst OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of any active pitcher with at least 50 career plate appearances. Yikes!
Luis Severino, New York Yankees As good as Severino is as a pitcher, he is the complete opposite as a hitter. Severino is one of the game’s elite pitchers. Last year, he went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA. He struck out 220 batters in 191.1 innings pitched. Being in the American League, Severino only went to the plate five times in 2018. He faced only 17 pitches. There were probably two he should have taken a swing at. Instead, he swung 11 times! Severino chased everything. And yes, as a result, he was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
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A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.