There is less than a month and a half left in the regular season. Now is the time for contenders to separate themselves from the pack in the playoff race.
There are players on contending teams that are failing to perform.
We have seen players like Adam Dunn and Jayson Werth struggling to live up to expectations in 2011.
There are also players on teams that stick at the bottom of the rankings season after season who are showing the negative impacts of being in a losing environment.
Now let's take a look at which MLB players are slumping right now.
Pedro Alvarez is expected to be a huge part of the Pirates' future. However in 56 games in the big leagues he is hitting .196. Alvarez was optioned to Triple A Indianapolis this week, after hitting .174 with 25 strikeouts in 20 games since rejoining the Pirates' roster.
Alvarez is only 24 years old, so it is far too early to give up on him yet. However his inability to live up to expectations may have cost the Pirates in 2011 where they were serious contenders for a good portion of the season.
The New York Yankees are currently using a six–man rotation, but two of those men are on the bubble. AJ Burnett is 9-9 with a 4.61 ERA in nine starts this season. In the past week he has given up 10 hits in 5.2 innings.
However his strengths may be perfect for a set-up man, and it looks like he is headed to the Yankees bullpen.
Logan Morrison is on this list because he just got demoted to Triple A. He was hitting .249 on the season with 17 home runs, which isn’t that bad. He was also a fan favorite and there has been speculation as to why he was sent down.
Morrison started off hot and has steadily declined but was off to a good start in August. This set back will certainly not help his case.
Before the All-Star break, Jair Jurrjens was 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA. He was leading the Atlanta Braves staff and solidified their postseason chances.
However after the break and a stint on the disabled list, Jurrjens returned to post an 0-2 record with a 6.52 ERA. This second half slump sounds awfully familiar to the 2010 Ubaldo Jiminez.
The Giants offense is notoriously bad. The defending champions are one of the three worst teams in all offensive categories in the majors.
Aubrey Huff has been the team's biggest disappointment at the plate in 2011. However he has stepped it up recently, and in the wake of a plague of injuries Cody Ross has not been able to deliver for the team.
Ross has been hitting leadoff while center fielder Andres Torres has been placed on the disabled list. He has been ineffective, to say the least. Ross is hitting just .192 in August.