The 12 Sluggers Whose Power Outputs Have Short Circuited in 2012
David Ortiz. Josh Hamilton. Adam Dunn. Much has been made of the sluggers having stellar years at the plate. But what about the guys who have fallen off? What about the players for whom 2012 has brought not a resurgence, but a precipitous decline in the power numbers?
What follows is a list of the 12 players whose power production has most dropped in 2012. They’ve all got a chance to turn it around after the All-Star break. But for now, these guys are slumping in a big, big way.
1. Alex Rodriguez
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The active career home run king is having quite a slow 2012. In half a season, he’s hit only 10 doubles and knocked in just 13 HR—hardly numbers befitting a player who’s getting paid $29 million this year. His season slugging percentage of .436 is also markedly short of his career mark of .563. And despite playing for the large-market Yankees, this 14-time All-Star didn’t even come close to garnering a nod this season.
Looks like A-Rod’s hot rod is in the shop.
2. Jim Thome
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Jim Thome has hit 609 home runs in his 22-year major league career. And how many of those have come in 2012?
Five. Just five.
Yes, 2012 has been rough on Thome. To be fair, his recent midseason trade from the Phillies to the Orioles puts Thome on his fourth team in one and a half years. The guy’s like a bedouin all of a sudden; he can’t settle down and call one place home. Still, roster shuffles aside, just two doubles in 95 at-bats amounts to some serious underproduction for Thome, regardless of which team he’s playing for.
3. Albert Pujols
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After signing an enormous offseason contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Pujols endured a much publicized home run slump to start the year. But he’s on a tear now, having knocked 12 HR in the last two months, and he’s got 21 doubles in just half a season to date.
Of course, Pujols is also slugging a pedestrian .452, well below his career .609 average. When you hit like Superman for a decade, it stands to reason that playing like an everyman is going to pull down your figures.
4. Bobby Abreu
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Bobby Abreu was nearly forced into retirement when it became clear that the Angels had no room for him in their lineup. But thanks to an early season gamble by the Dodgers and injuries to key outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, Abreu finds himself an everyday player again.
That doesn’t mean that he’s making a good show of it.
In his 198 at-bats this season, Abreu has hit just 11 doubles and only two home runs, and his season slugging percentage is just .371, well below his career mark of .478. The numbers he’s putting up are those of a middle infielder, not a power-hitting outfielder.
5. Scott Rolen
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Last season, Scott Rolen was an All-Star. This season, he is platooning and has just seven doubles and three home runs in 141 at-bats. The guy’s only batting .178—that’s sub-Mendoza Line! C'mon, Scott—hit the batting cage, would you?
This is Rolen’s 17th year in the bigs. If he doesn’t turn things around, it may be his last.
6. Jason Giambi
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Remember when Jason Giambi looked like a lock to be the next player to crack the 500 HR barrier? Not anymore.
In 2012, Giambi’s hit just four doubles and only one home run, and all this playing in the tissue-thin air of Colorado. Ouch.
He’s slugging just .333 on the season, which is below some player’s batting averages. That’s like walking onto the PGA tour with a 20 handicap and still getting smoked.
7. Carlos Lee
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Carlos Lee has spent a long career reliably averaging nearly 30 home runs per season.
Through the first half of 2012, he has hit only five.
There’s a reason things haven’t been looking so good in Houston this year. Plenty, actually. But Carlos Lee has been one of them. The Astros finally shipped him off the Marlins, but even in Miami, Lee has yet to produce.
8. Lance Berkman
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To be fair, Berkman has struggled with injuries this year. But this doesn’t discount the fact that last season, Berkman waltzed into St. Louis and hit 31 home runs for the World Series champion Cardinals.
So far this year, Fat Elvis, as some have taken to calling Berkman, has hit only one.
9. Michael Young
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Michael Young primarily plays middle infield positions, so many people fail to think of him as a power guy. But last year, Young hit 41 doubles and drove in 106 RBIs. Those are power numbers. This year, with more than half a season under his belt, he has just 15 doubles and only three homers, with just 35 runs batted in. That’s quite a drop-off.
Last year, he hit .338 and posted a slugging percentage of .474. This year, he’s hitting 2.70 and slugging .353. When your slugging percentage one season looks like your batting average from the year before, you know you’re slumping.
10. Aubrey Huff
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With Huff, it’s not just his power hitting; his whole year has been a washout. To date, Huff has posted just one measly home run in the limited action he’s seen. His slugging percentage is just .259, and his batting average is a paltry .155. That’s worse than some pitchers. Ooph.
11. Carlos Pena
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Three years ago, Pena led the American League in home runs while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays. Now, he’s homered only 13 times by the break, and he’s hitting just .201.
Carlos Pena is rapidly turning into Adam Dunn lite: a hitter with a terrible batting average and tons of strikeouts, just without all the homers to go with it. And that’s not a comparison anyone wants to be on the wrong side of.
12. Adrian Gonzalez
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Adrian Gonzalez’s fans might point to his increased doubles output to argue that Gonzalez is having an OK 2012. But while Gonzalez’s doubles numbers are way up on the year, his homer numbers are way down, which tells the whole story: Gonzalez, it would seem, is suddenly having trouble driving the ball all the way to the fence.
Gonzalez finished last year with 27 home runs. This year, he has hit only six. His slugging percentage is also way down, having dropped from .548 last year to just .416 this season. Hardly the kind of primo numbers he once put up.