Plenty of switch-hitters still getting the job done
V-Mart, Melky, Crisp, Hamilton, Aybar represent some of game's best from both sides
There's a common thought going around baseball that switch-hitting is a bit of a lost art. Granted, there's no Mickey Mantle or Pete Rose or even a Ripper Collins out there in today's game, but there are plenty of players still getting it done from both sides of the plate.
Minus catcher Matt Wieters of the Orioles, who was coming into his own offensively this year (.308/.339/.500) before going out for the season with Tommy John surgery, and Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, who has long been a successful switch-hitting spark-plug but is also on the DL and has been solely batting right-handed since last year, here's a list of some of MLB's best switch-hitters:
1. Victor Martinez, 1B/DH, Tigers: This one isn't close, because Martinez is one of the best overall hitters in the game so far this year. Through Sunday, he had a line of .326/.384/.597 with 19 homers and 49 RBIs. He's walked 28 times with 22 strikeouts.
2. Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays: The guy just keeps hitting. Entering Monday's action, Cabrera was cruising along to the tune of .303/.347/.476 with 11 homers, 38 RBIs and 48 runs scored, making him a huge reason the Blue Jays have been at or near the top of the American League East this year.
3. Coco Crisp, OF, A's: He's 34 and he's on pace to put up the best OPS of his career. Through Sunday, Crisp was batting .282 with a .377 on-base percentage and slugging .437. He's stolen 13 bases for the first-place A's and has added five homers, 25 RBIs and 39 runs.
4. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds: The only question was whether he could get on base. After a horrendous start, he's getting on base, and when this guy gets on first, he often gets to second and third and home plate, too. Entering Monday, Hamilton had a more-than-respectable line of .273/.309/.396, four homers, 23 RBIs, 36 runs and 31 stolen bases.
5. Erick Aybar, SS, Angels: In addition to providing Gold Glove-caliber defense (Aybar won the award in 2011), he's been hitting this year, with a .283/.322/.423 line through Sunday, five homers, 18 doubles and 38 RBIs, which puts him on pace for a career-high total in that category -- by a lot.
6. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees: The surgically repaired right wrist was a big concern entering this season, and there have been some cold snaps, but there's still some thunder left in Teixeira's bat. Through Sunday, the slugger had an OPS of .828 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs.
7. Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays: The dynamic shortstop has been banged up this year and hasn't found his usual offensive groove, but this is a dangerous hitter when he's right, and even with his struggles in 2014, he's still stolen 15 bases, walked 22 times and scored 37 runs.
8. Carlos Beltran, OF, Yankees: He's struggling this year at the plate, but Beltran would have to be in the Top 20 of most peoples' best all-time switch-hitters, particularly in the postseason, so that body of work gets him in this year's Top 10. The Yankees need him to get hot down the stretch, and his resume says he just might.
9. Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants: The Panda might never return to the glory of some of his early offensive seasons, but in 2014, he's been a solid contributor to the lineup of a first-place team, as his .268/.316/.430 line, nine homers and 33 RBIs entering Monday show.
10. Ben Zobrist, IF/OF, Rays: The numbers aren't there this year like they normally are (.250/.333/.375 through Sunday), but Zobrist's versatility and production over the years (33.1 career WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.com) earns him a spot on here via track record.
Also: Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH, Twins; Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians; Carlos Santana, C/3B, Indians; Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, Indians; Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies; Angel Pagan, OF, Giants; Chase Headley, 3B, Padres; Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres; Jed Lowrie, SS, A's; Yangervis Solarte, IF, Yankees