Biggest MLB Duds of the Week, Position by Position
Another week of baseball, another week of underwhelming individual performances to sift through as we put together our All-Dud team.
Part of me wanted to include the entire Detroit Tigers' roster, seeing as the team managed to ruin what should have been a triumphant return to Tampa Bay for David Price.
"In last 100 years, David Price joins Bob Feller (April 23, 1952) as the only pitchers to throw CG 1-hitter (with hit being a triple) & lose," ESPN Stats & Info tweeted.
But one game—no matter how brutal it may be—doesn't make any player worthy of inclusion on this squad. It takes a handful of brutal, uninspiring performances to earn the right to wear the All-Dud uniform.
Unless you're part of the grounds crew.
So with the group entrusted with caring for one of the last remaining cathedrals of baseball—Chicago's Wrigley Field—coming along for the ride (watch your step, please), let's take a look at this week's All-Dud squad.
Catcher: Brian McCann, New York Yankees
Weekly Stats: 5 G, .150 BA, .500 OPS, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 3 K, 28 wRC+
Some will consider it unfair to include Brian McCann here, considering that he only came off of the seven-day concussion disabled list at the beginning of the week. That's too bad, for this past week has been much like his previous 19: disappointing.
Advertised as a catcher who could hit for average and power and get on base consistently—remember, this was a seven-time All-Star who brought a career .277/.350/.473 slash line with him to the Bronx—McCann has failed to come close to matching any of those numbers.
Among qualified catchers, only Cincinnati's Brayan Pena had a lower wRC+ (27) over the past week. Only 17 players, regardless of position, had a lower mark than McCann. Those are some pretty ugly facts.
First Base: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
Weekly Stats: 6 G, .174 BA, .513 OPS, 3 2B, R, 7 K, 37 wRC+
While he's played third base in Baltimore for most of the week, we're moving Chris Davis back across the diamond to his natural position at first base for our All-Dud squad.
Davis, who has looked like a shell of the player who led baseball in home runs (53) and RBI (138) a season ago, is doing his best to stay upbeat, as he told The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly:
I feel like I've been hanging there all year. I feel like I’m seeing the ball well, there’s just pitches that I’m missing. I feel like I’m one swing away. Obviously, at this point in the season, I’d like to see a little bit more of a return. But you take what you can and keep going.
His manager, Buck Showalter, told Connolly that he isn't about to give up on his slugger:
He knows there’s always going to reach a point with everybody where [it’s] "how far do you go?" But with Chris, because he defends, because he plays with great effort and he gets some walks now and then, you think about all the big hits he has had for us. So it doesn't send a good message to throw him under the truck.
Except Davis has become allergic to drawing walks.
Of the 29 players who failed to earn a free pass over the past week, only four—Chicago's Chris Coghlan (29.2 percent), Cleveland's Zach Walters (33.3 percent), Los Angeles' Dee Gordon (34.8 percent) and Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd (32 percent) struck out as often as Davis did, 29.2 percent of the time.
Second Base: Donovan Solano, Miami Marlins
Weekly Stats: 5 G, .091 BA, .303 OPS, 2B, 3 RBI, R, BB, 7 K, minus-15 wRC+
The 26-year-old committed his first error of the season on Tuesday night against Texas, and while he redeemed himself with a two-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning that ultimately led to Giancarlo Stanton's game-winning hit, he failed to replicate that success the following evening.
Solo home runs by Marcell Ozuna and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the bottom of the ninth pulled the Marlins to within one run of the Rangers on Wednesday, but Solano would strike out on five pitches to end the game, keeping Stanton's powerful bat from leaving the on-deck circle.
Solano finished the week as the only qualified second baseman with a negative wRC+.
Shortstop: Yunel Escobar, Tampa Bay Rays
Weekly Stats: 6 G, .130 BA, .297 OPS, R, BB, 6 K, minus-16 wRC+
All you need to know about Yunel Escobar's week can be summed up in one at-bat. Against Toronto on Friday, with Tampa Bay in the midst of a four-run sixth inning, Escobar stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and only one out.
Facing Toronto reliever Aaron Loup, against whom the 31-year-old shortstop had gone hitless in six career at-bats, all Escobar needed to do was hit a fly ball to the outfield to plate another run. Instead, he drove the third pitch weakly up the middle, allowing the Blue Jays to turn an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Among a group of eight shortstops who failed to produce a wRC+ of 50 or greater over the past week, Escobar's minus-16 was the lowest. Coupled with his inability to produce with runners on base and his shoddy defense, he's the overwhelming choice as the dud of the week at the position.
Third Base: David Wright, New York Mets
Weekly Stats: 5 G, .095 BA, .232 OPS, R, BB, 4 K, minus-35 wRC+
The 2014 season can't possibly end fast enough for David Wright.
Michael J. Fensom of the Newark Star-Ledger summed up Wright's week—his season, really—in recapping the Mets captain's performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday:
Even here in baseball paradise, David Wright can’t find the fix for a cheerless season.
Five empty at-bats under the gleaming floodlights at Dodger Stadium Saturday night brought a swelling list of flaws in Wright's swing into full focus.
While the Mets pounded 12 hits -- a pair of home runs included -- Wright flailed at pitch after pitch, striking out three times. Even when he connected, he knocked into a pair of double plays (in that category, he leads the Mets with 21).
"Captain America" continues to underwhelm, both at the plate and in the field, posting the worst wRC+ of any player in baseball over the past week. That's no small feat when you consider that 13 players either failed to crack double digits or wound up in the red.
Left Field: Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians
Weekly Stats: 6 G, .091 BA, .258 OPS, RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 2-for-2 SB, minus-24 wRC+
As many have noted—most recently FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan at Fox Sports—Michael Brantley has quietly gone about putting together a MVP-caliber season in Cleveland.
Unfortunately for Brantley and the Indians, that level of play was not on display last week.
Facing three teams with some of the shakiest starting rotations in the game—Baltimore, Houston and Minnesota—Brantley mustered only two hits, a pair of singles. His .091 slugging percentage was the lowest of any qualified player, one of only two (along with David Wright's) that failed to crack .100.
Center Field: Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Weekly Stats: 5 G, .150 BA, .340 OPS, 3 R, BB, 4 K, minus-3 wRC+
It's no secret that Yasiel Puig's power has disappeared, with only two home runs since May 29, but the Cuban phenom has been hitting for average and getting on base consistently instead, making that power outage far less painful than it normally would be.
Except this week, when Puig managed to reach base only four times in five games courtesy of three singles and a walk.
Sure, he scored three runs, put his cat-like reflexes on display and continues to make terrific plays in the outfield, but finishing the week without an RBI, an OPS below .400 and a negative wRC+ is the quickest way to play your way onto our All-Dud squad.
Right Field: Brock Holt, Boston Red Sox
Weekly Stats: 7 G, .154 BA, .387 OPS, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 8 K, SB, 9 wRC+
Were it not for Los Angeles' Kole Calhoun, Brock Holt probably wouldn't have wound up as the starting right fielder on this week's All-Dud team. But the Angels' right fielder elevated above the short right field wall at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, robbing Holt of a three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning.
That set the tone for the hotshot rookie's week, one that saw him hit the ground ball that ultimately resulted in Garrett Richards, ace of the Angels pitching staff, tearing the patella tendon in his left knee.
Holt, who was carrying a 10-game hitting streak into the week, extended that streak to 12 games before recording only one base hit over his last 21 plate appearances, a stretch that featured him go without a hit for four games.
Designated Hitter: Chris Carter, Houston Astros
Weekly Stats: 6 G, .083 BA, .362 OPS, HR, 3 RBI, R, 2 BB, 13 K, 0 wRC+
It's true that one of Chris Carter's two hits on the week was a three-run shot off Yankees closer David Robertson that ultimately gave Houston a 7-4 victory.
But it's also true that Carter struck out in 50 percent of his plate appearances this week.
Only two other players struck out at least 40 percent of the time: Chicago's Javier Baez (48.3 percent) and Carter's teammate Jonathan Singleton (42.9 percent). Both Baez and Singleton were tremendously productive in spite of the strikeouts, posting a wRC+ of 118 and 172, respectively.
Carter? A big fat zero.
Starting Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Weekly Stats: 2 GS, 1-1, 7.04 ERA, 2.74 WHIP, 7.2 IP, 13 H, 9.4 BB/9, 4.7 K/9
After delivering the second-shortest start of his career against Washington on Saturday, Tim Lincecum's days as a member of San Francisco's starting rotation may be coming to an end.
“This is something we need to talk about internally, what our best option is,” Giants manager Bochy told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’ll look at it and see what the best thing is for Timmy and for us the next time around.”
“I think the problem is me right now,” Lincecum told Shea. Ya think, Tim?
Pulled after surrendering four earned runs (six runs in total) over 2.2 innings of work against the Nationals, Lincecum walked four batters in each of his two starts on the week. While that lack of command didn't hurt him against Philadelphia, which managed only two runs and seven hits against him over five innings of work, it certainly played a part in his failings against Washington.
With the Giants trying to keep pace with the Dodgers in the division and hold off Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh and St. Louis in a race to clinch one of the two available wild-card berths, San Francisco needed a pair of solid outings from the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
They barely got one.
Closer: Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox
Weekly Stats: 2 G, 0-2, 32.40 ERA, 4.80 WHIP, 1.2 IP, 7 H, 5.4 BB/9, 10.8 K/9, 0-for-1 SV
Weeks don't get much uglier for a reliever than the last seven days have been for Boston's Koji Uehara.
He's allowed six earned runs and seven hits over his last 1.2 innings of work, including a five-run bloodbath on Friday night against Seattle in which he blew a 3-0 Boston lead in the ninth inning.
No longer in the conversation as one of the best closers in baseball, Uehara looks very much like a 40-year-old veteran who has nothing left—making Boston's decision to not deal him at the trade deadline look all the more puzzling.
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