November 18, 2019

Clearing The Bases

June 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The baseball season is more than 1/3 completed, the weather is warming up, and pennant races are starting to shape up.  We are in mid-June; no longer can any player state that they are in a slump. Slumps don’t last two plus months.  With that in mind we are going to take a look at who might be the most disappointing player at each position.

Catcher:  Jorge Posada, New York Yankees:  Yes I know Posada hasn’t picked up a catcher’s mitt all season, but still that is the position he qualifies for.  Posada has had a rough go of things, only this week has he raised his batting average over .200, perhaps he has finally put the fact that he is no longer a catcher behind him, and accepted that he will only be a designated hitter for the Yankee.  The average has come up of late, but Jorge still hasn’t hit a HR in over a month, and if he doesn’t pick it up soon he could find himself replaced my minor leaguers Jesus Montero or Jorge Vazquez.

Dishonorable Mention:  Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins;  Kurt Suzuki, Oakland Athletics

First Base:  Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins:  While it was well known that Morneau was coming back from a severe concussion that ended his 2010 season prematurely, no one could have predicted that it would still be affecting him this season, and that he must still take medication to control it.  Target Field also doesn’t seem to be agreeing with him as the dimensions are nowhere near as cozy as the Homerdome.  Plus now we hear that he will miss the next couple of games to deal with a wrist injury.  All in all this is looking like a lost season for Morneau and the Twins.

Dishonorable Mention:  Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels;   Adam Laroche, Washington Nationals

Second Base:  Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves:  Was there any doubt that Uggla would be the winner at this position.  His first season in Atlanta has been an utter and complete bust.  He is batting .170 with seven home runs and 16 runs batted in, not the production the Braves were expecting when they acquired Uggla from the Marlins in the off-season.  What’s the problem?  He’s playing in the same league and in the same division, not exactly a big culture change.  What’s even worse now is that Uggla is getting regular days off as the Braves are trying anything to snap him out of this “slump.”

Dishonorable Mention:  Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox;  Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles

Third Base:  Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays:  Most people perceive Longoria as one of the best third basemen in baseball, some would even go as far as to say if there was a draft today and you could take any player in baseball to start a team, they would select Longoria.  Problem is Longoria went from 33 home runs in 2009 to 22 last season to only four so far this season, true he has battled injuries, but still the power outage is a concern.  OPS is also in decline, over .100 points since last season.  Might be time to find someone else to start your team with.

Dishonorable Mention:  Chone Figgins, Seattle Mariners;  Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates;  Ian Stewart, Colorado Avalanche

Shortstop:  Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins:  Hopefully a stint on the disabled list will give Ramirez and the Marlins time to figure out what is wrong.  HRam is only batting .210 with four HRs this season, while he had a slow start last year as well, it wasn’t as slow as molasses.  Perhaps those 15 days off will enable HRam to relax at the plate and get back to mashing the ball the way he is capable of, lord knows there is many a fantasy owner who is praying for such an outcome.

Dishonorable Mention:  Derek Jeter, New York Yankees;  Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers

Outfield:  Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland Indians;  Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves;  Nick Swisher, New York Yankees:  Choo seemed to have everything going for him, he had a strong 2010 season, he was a part of the South Korean team that won the Asian Games in the off-season thus eliminating the need for him to fulfill two years worth of military service, and he was regarded as a top 10 outfielder by most pundits coming into the season.  Then he was arrested for DUI in early May and Choo seems not to be able to get over this.  Perhaps he is trying too hard at the plate trying to make the fans forget.  Perhaps he is just embarrassed and hasn’t been able to focus on baseball.  Either way he better figure it out and figure it out soon.  The Indians were able to win without any contribution from Choo for a while, but it has caught up with them now and they need his bat to start to produce.

Heyward came up to the big leagues with quite a bit of hoopla but has yet to realize that potential.  Teammate Chipper Jones believes that Heyward needs to get on the field everyday even when not 100%.  This is a slippery slope as the last thing a player wants is a reputation for being on the trainer’s table rather than being on the baseball diamond.  This would not be the way he wants his career to get started.  His recent comments that he doesn’t want to return from the DL until he is 100% healthy certainly didn’t help matters.  As Jones stated, 80% of Heyward is probably better than 100% of another player.

The best thing to happen to Swisher this season may be the struggles of teammate Jorge Posada, mentioned above.  This has allowed Swisher’s struggles to go pretty much unnoticed but with Posada playing better of late it’s now time to wonder if Swisher will also turn it around as he is only batting .216 with 27 RBIs, and five HRs.  This is a pretty big decline from .288, 89, and 29, the numbers he posted last season.  Also not the best timing as he has a $10.5 million team option for next season that looked like a no-brainer for the Yankees to pick up next season, but now seems unlikely if his hitting struggles continue.

Dishonorable Mention:  Jason Bay, New York Mets;  Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels;  Brett Gardner, New York Yankees

Starting Pitcher:  Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals:  Someone has to explain to me how the Cardinals could possibly be in 1st place with just one win combined from Adam Wainwright and Carpenter, simply unbelievable.  Carpenter’s ERA is over a run higher than last season and his WHIP has also taken a similar beating.  Like Swisher of the Yankees one has to wonder if the contract plays a part in this as the team also possesses an option of $12 million for next season that hasn’t been picked up yet.  There was some thought earlier this season that Carpenter could be traded if the Cardinals fell out of the race, Carpenter even stated that he would be open to such a move; that seems unlikely, however, but perhaps it’s still playing into his psyche.

Dishonorable Mention:  Phil Hughes, New York Yankees;  Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros

Relief Pitcher:  Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox:  Really you could have placed just about anyone in the White Sox bullpen on this list in April, but Thornton gets the nod since he had the closer job.  “Had” would be the important word there as Sergio Santos finally grabbed the job by the throat and doesn’t look like he is giving it back, which leaves Thornton with his old role of left-handed specialist.

Dishonorable Mention:  Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins;  Fernando Rodney, Los Angeles Angels, Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

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