clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Rays Tank: #MatsuiFacts

Getty Images

After a dismal weekend where the Rays lost two of three to the third-worst team in the American League, there are only three things to do: complain, moan, and writhe in agony. And judging from the comments in the game threads and recaps this weekend, we're already found a scapegoat to receive the majority of our frustration: Hideki Matsiu.

Matsui has seen a large share of playing time in recent weeks, and even though he's been a dud at the plate, he's still holding on to a roster spot thanks to the Rays' injury woes. He's so far managed to rack up 103 plate appearances, and the results are even to make you flinch: .147/.214/.221 for a .197 wOBA. He's been a remarkable 82 percent below average on offense, and when you combine that with below average defense, he's cost the Rays 1 WAR so far this season.

We all know that's bad, but just how bad is it? The Rays have had a number of offensive flubs in recent years -- there's always one, isn't there? -- so let's see how Matsiu stacks up against that crowd.

Name Year PA wOBA wRC+ WAR
Hideki Matsui 2012 103 0.197 18 -1.0
Dan Johnson 2011 91 0.181 9 -0.8
Reid Brignac 2011 264 0.203 23 -1.1
Pat Burrell 2010 96 0.282 76 -0.2
Dioner Navarro 2010 142 0.242 48 -0.4
Hank Blalock 2010 69 0.297 86 0.0

So Matsui may not be the worst in recent memory, but he's pretty darn close. Dan Johnson did redeem himself at the tail end of last season, and Brignac accrued a greater negative WAR total but in over 150 more plate appearances than Matsui. Through this lens, I have no problem rating Matsui as the greatest flop of the bunch...and considering the company, that's a pretty dubious title.

Think about it this way: remember how painful it was watching Pat Burrell and Hank Blalock back in 2010? Heck, many of us were glad to see those guys go, yet both of them would be a huge improvement over the current production from Matsui. Now that's impressive, and not in a good way.

If there's a silver lining, it's this: Matsui likely won't be around for much longer. Based on how the Rays have dealt with many of these other duds, the average time period before they make a switch is generally around 100-120 plate appearances. If a player isn't hitting, the Rays give them enough of a sample to get things turned around, but they won't wait indefinitely. Matsui's just over 100 plate appearances now, so if he's still on the Rays' roster in two weeks, someone will need to check that Andrew Friedman is still sane. The only question is, who do the Rays replace him with?