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MLB's Biggest Duds of the Week, Position by Position

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2014

MLB's Biggest Duds of the Week, Position by Position

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    Bill Boyce/Associated Press

    George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic might want the funk, but there isn't a player in the major leagues who is as eager to be paid a visit by the funk—or by the slump that typically comes along with it.

    Yet the funk appears without warning, indiscriminately laying waste to even the most talented players that baseball has to offer.

    In the blink of an eye, a player transforms from stud to dud, some more drastically than others.

    What makes a player a dud? It could be a lack of production at the plate or on the mound, a boneheaded mistake when he reaches base or something that happens off the field.

    There's no shortage of criteria—or candidates—to fill this week's all-dud team.

Catcher: Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves

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    Weekly Stats: 5 G, .190 BA (4-for-21), .429 OPS, 2B, RBI, R, 9 K, 12 wRC+

     

    Evan Gattis' numbers over the past week are dreadful enough, but they don't tell the full story of how things went for El Oso Blanco.

    After stroking a double in the top of the seventh inning on Aug. 3 against the San Diego Padres to score Jason Heyward from third base and tie the game at two, Gattis failed to score from second on Chris Johnson's subsequent double.

    "I just had too much on my mind," he told MLB.com's Mark Bowman. "I [messed] up and made a mistake. That's what I'm most [upset about]."

    Yes, nobody's perfect and everyone makes mistakes, but he had too much on his mind? What in the world was Gattis thinking about?

    Those kind of mistakes can't happen for a team that is fighting for its playoff life—a team that, at the time, was trying to stop a five-game losing streak.

First Base: Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Weekly Stats: 5 G, .143 BA (3-for-21), .446 OPS, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB, 5 K, 18 wRC+

     

    It was just one of those weeks for Anthony Rizzo, with the All-Star mustering only three hits and posting the lowest wRC+ among qualified first basemen in all of baseball.

    He saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end, enduring one stretch where he went 0-for-12 before getting off the schneid against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 8.

Second Base: Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Weekly Stats: 5 G, .158 BA (3-for-19), .368 OPS, 2B, 2 RBI, 8 K, minus-3 wRC+

     

    Things haven't gone quite as anyone predicted in Jedd Gyorko's sophomore campaign. The slugging infielder has missed substantial time with injury and—when he's been healthy—hasn't been able to produce.

    Over the past week, Gyorko struck out 42.1 percent of the time. Only six other players struck out more frequently, and a few of them join him on this week's all-dud squad. Hitting in the heart of the lineup (either fourth or fifth), he has failed to live up to even the most modest of expectations.

    Weeks like the one he just had make one wonder whether he's part of the solution or part of the problem in San Diego.

Third Base: Chris Johnson, Atlanta Braves

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Weekly Stats: 5 G, .150 BA (3-for-20), .350 OPS, 2B, RBI, 7 K, minus-12 wRC+

     

    Remember the double that Chris Johnson laced against San Diego that should have scored Gattis from second base? 

    That was the highlight of the third baseman's week.

    With seven strikeouts on the week, Johnson has already equaled his total from last season (116) and is all but guaranteed to shatter his previous career high of 132, set in 2012 when he split time between the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Weekly Stats: 6 G, .087 BA (2-for-23), .289 OPS, 2 2B, 3 RBI, BB, 7 K, minus-36 wRC+

     

    The good news is that when Xander Bogaerts made contact with the ball this week, it traveled far enough for him to leg out a pair of extra-base hits.

    The bad news is that Bogaerts did nothing else, striking out seven times along the way. That he's struggling to make contact shouldn't come as a great surprise to anyone, as The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo detailed in his latest column:

    He swings at pitches out of the strike zone 25.7 percent of the time. He has a 38.3 percent called strike percentage, the eighth highest in the majors. When Bogaerts has two strikes (which he has had 259 times), he’s hitting .191. 

    Those are some ugly facts right there, and the youngster did absolutely nothing to change any of them over the past week.

Left Field: Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Weekly Stats: 5 G, .095 BA (2-for-21), .190 OPS, R, 10 K, minus-60 wRC+

     

    I'm not sure there's a word to accurately describe the week that Josh Willingham had.

    He struck out 47.6 percent of the time and managed only a pair of singles, base hits that came 15 at-bats apart from one another.

    Does anyone think that the New York Yankees or Seattle Mariners, teams that CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported had interest in acquiring Willingham from the Minnesota Twins before the trade deadline, have regrets about not swinging a deal?

    Me neither.

Center Field: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

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    Trevor Brown/Getty Images

    Weekly Stats: 5 G, .091 BA (2-for-22), .258 OPS, R, 5 K, CS, minus-41 wRC+

     

    How bad was Charlie Blackmon over the past week? Consider this: The Atlanta Braves' B.J. Upton struck out in 50 percent of his plate appearances but was still more productive than Blackmon.

    Ouch.

    No player in the National League—and only one player in baseball—had a lower wRC+ than Blackmon, who was hit by as many pitches (two) as he had base hits.

    Colorado dropped four of the five games that Blackmon played in (and six of its seven) over the past week. When asked by Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post what he and the rest of his Colorado teammates could do to change their fortunes, Blackmon replied, "Play better."

    Thanks, Captain Obvious.

Right Field: J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Weekly Stats: 7 G, .115 BA (3-for-26), .302 OPS, 2B, R, BB, 9 K, SB, minus-25 wRC+

     

    It wasn't that long ago that J.D. Martinez was the darling of Detroit, hitting for average and power while solidifying the team's corner outfield situation.

    What a difference a few weeks can make.

    “It was a little unusual to think he was going to continue to do that,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told The Detroit News' Lynn Henning“I don’t see a big difference. I just don’t see him hitting pitches he probably should have been hitting, or laying off pitches he might not have been chasing earlier.”

    Martinez is certainly no longer as selective at the plate as he once was, as evidenced by his 3.7 percent walk rate and 33.3 percent strikeout rate over the past week.

    With Andy Dirks suffering a setback in his rehab from early-season back surgery (he tweaked a hamstring), Martinez's job seems safe for now. But another week like the one he just had, and Ausmus may have no choice but to start playing Don Kelly far more often than he has been.

Designated Hitter: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox

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    Weekly Stats: 4 G, .000 BA (0-for-15), .000 OPS, 2 K, minus-100 wRC+

     

    When the only thing you're required to do is hit the ball and you can't do that, you might as well take your chances on the mound.

    Adam Dunn made his MLB pitching debut in the Chicago White Sox's 16-0 loss to the Texas Rangers Aug. 5. He allowed one earned run and two hits while walking a batter—far better numbers than any other pitcher the White Sox trotted out to the mound that day had produced.

    Unfortunately for Dunn, those numbers were superior to his week at the plate, which found him unable to reach base even once.

Starting Pitcher: John Lackey, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Weekly Stats: 2 GS, 1-1, 8.25 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 12 IP, 20 H, 1.5 BB/9, 5.3 K/9

     

    A strong debut for John Lackey in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform against the Milwaukee Brewers Aug. 3, in which he allowed only a pair of earned runs over seven strong innings, was erased from memory after his second outing.

    The Baltimore Orioles crushed Lackey for nine earned runs and 13 hits over five innings of work, clubbing three home runs along the way. 

    "They have a great lineup," Lackey said after the game, via The Associated Press (h/t Fox News). "You have to give them credit. They got some great hitters. It's a good place to hit. For the most part, I got my butt kicked."

    After allowing only 15 home runs over 21 starts for the Boston Red Sox before he was traded, Lackey has surrendered four bombs in two starts for the Cardinals. 

    That makes him a dud with a capital D.

Closer: Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Weekly Stats: 3 G, 0-1, 13.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2 IP, 4 H, 0.0 BB/9, 4.5 K/9, 0-for-1 SV

     

    Casey Janssen was presented with only one chance to save a game for the Toronto Blue Jays over the past week, and he made it a memorable one.

    Detroit tagged him for four hits and three earned runs on only 13 pitches, resulting in Janssen's third blown save of the season and another missed opportunity for Toronto to make up ground on Baltimore in the AL East.

    "Casey's been so good this year," Gibbons said, per the AP (h/t the Boston Herald). "They just came out swinging and got to him pretty quick."

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs and are current through games of Aug. 9.

    Hit me up on Twitter to talk all things baseball: @RickWeinerBR

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