ST. PETERSBURG -- The offensive production from left fielders has dropped dramatically in the Major Leagues this season.
Major League left fielders went in to Memorial Day with a combined .713 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), the lowest from that position in the past 30 years. The second worst was .731 in 1992.
That would suggest there is a great need for offensive left fielders in baseball and, with Josh Hamilton back off the disabled list, the Rangers have David Murphy as their fourth outfielder. The league-wide numbers suggest there are plenty of teams that could use Murphy.
"It's hard to think about numbers right now because I'm struggling," Murphy said. "You don't even want to think about numbers, you just want to go out and play well. You don't need to look at the scoreboard. You get a feel if you are hitting the ball well or not. The numbers will take care of themselves."
Murphy has been part of the problem as far as lack of production from left fielders. He went into Monday's game with a .599 OPS as a left fielder and his overall OPS of .618 was the eighth lowest among all qualifying outfielders in the Major Leagues. Overall, he was hitting .225 with four home runs and 14 RBI.
Last season he was hitting .253 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 123 at-bats through May. His OPS was .667. He ended up hitting .291 with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs and an .806 OPS that was 24th best out of 71 Major League outfielders.
"I just need to focus on getting right," Murphy said.