Biggest MLB Duds of Week 12, Position by PositionJune 28, 2015
Biggest MLB Duds of Week 12, Position by Position
Slumps are a part of baseball, and even the most talented players in the game go through them. But that doesn't make it any easier for fans, players and teams to swallow a significant lack of production.
While some of the players on this week's All-Dud Squad are in no danger of losing their starting jobs, others don't enjoy that same level of job security. There's plenty of time for these players to get off the schneid, but with the trade deadline quickly approaching, teams are up against some big decisions with these slumping players.
Who stood out for all the wrong reasons in Week 12 of the regular season? Let's take a look.
Catcher: Derek Norris, San Diego Padres
6 G, 2-for-22 (.091), RBI, BB, 10 K
Few would have bet on Derek Norris becoming one of the most popular new faces in San Diego this season—not with high-profile talent like Matt Kemp and Justin Upton also in the fold. But that's exactly what has happened, with the "Norrisaurus Rex" endearing himself to the Padres faithful.
While his five June home runs are tied with Kansas City's Salvador Perez and Los Angeles' Yasmani Grandal for the most of any catcher, Norris has struggled mightily of late.
Not only has he mustered only two base hits over the past week, but he's been striking out at an alarming rate. His 43.5 percent whiff rate was easily the highest among catchers and the fifth-highest posted by any player, regardless of position.
First Base: Lucas Duda, New York Mets
6 G, 3-for-22 (.136), 2 RBI, BB, 9 K
Lucas Duda is having himself a fine season, leading a depleted New York Mets lineup in multiple offensive categories, including on-base percentage (.362) and extra-base hits (30). But that production was missing last week, as he managed only three singles and two RBI in six games.
His lack of production really isn't anything new, as Duda has only five extra-base hits (one of them a home run) over his last 24 games, dating back to May 31.
With David Wright's continued absence, the Mets need Duda, who hit 30 home runs a year ago, to do more than chip in with the occasional single.
Second Base: Johnny Giavotella, Los Angeles Angels
6 G, 3-for-24 (.125), 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 6 K
It's easy to be overshadowed when you're on a team with the likes of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, so it's no surprise that few people outside of Los Angeles realize that former Kansas City prospect Johnny Giavotella has been holding down second base for the Angels this season.
While his defense has been shaky, the 27-year-old has been a solid contributor at the plate...until last week, anyway. His .125 batting average last week was the second-lowest among qualified second baseman, his .327 OPS the worst by nearly 100 points and he was the only player at the keystone to produce a negative wRC+ (minus-10).
Third Base: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
5 G, 2-for-22 (.100), 3 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Matt Carpenter may only be five years into his major league career, but he's experienced enough to know that every player, no matter how talented, experiences ups-and-downs at the plate.
"Every season I've ever had, at any level—minor leagues, college—you go through patches were you don't feel good at the plate," Carpenter recently told KSDK.com. "You've just got to find a way to fight out of it. If you can work walks and work a couple singles and do that, that's how you have good seasons is if you can shorten that time."
While it's safe to assume that his horrid showing at the plate last week isn't working him into a panic, it's fair to wonder if he's pressing at the plate just a bit, as his .187 batting average and .560 OPS are June's lowest for any qualified third baseman.
Shortstop: Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers
6 G, 4-for-22 (.182), 3 RBI, BB, 2 K
While Jean Segura managed to reach base safely in five out of six games over the past week, he still saw his season numbers drop across the board, most notably his OPS, which tumbled almost 30 points, from .673 to .646.
Since his 10-game hitting streak came to an end on June 8, the 25-year-old has barely been able to keep himself floating above the Mendoza Line, hitting .203 (14-for-69) with a .414 OPS.
The subject of trade speculation for much of the season, Segura has just about a month to turn things around at the plate and raise his value as a trade chip if Milwaukee hopes to bring back a substantial package of talent for him at the trade deadline.
Right Field: Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers
4 G, 2-for-18 (.111), 2B, BB, 6 K
After hitting .295 with six home runs, 18 RBI and a .888 OPS in May, it looked as if maybe—just maybe—Shin-Soo Choo had finally turned a corner and was back to being the player Texas thought it was getting when the team signed him to a seven-year, $130 million deal before the 2014 season.
But Choo has proven once again that looks can be deceiving, as he's struggled mightily in June, including a miserable showing last week that saw him strikeout against Toronto's Matt Boyd, who was facing his first major league batter.
Choo's minus-21 wRC+ on the week was not only the lowest among right fielders, but the second-lowest in the American League, ahead of only Tampa Bay's David DeJesus (minus-31).
Center Field: Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins
6 G, 3-for-23 (.130), 2B, 12 K
There's a strong case to be made that Marcell Ozuna got incredibly lucky on June 23, as it's the one day over the past week when Miami's center fielder actually reached base, going 3-for-3 against St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez.
He barely made contact with the ball in the other five games in which he played, leading the majors with a ridiculous 52.2 percent weekly strikeout rate, a figure that's all the more damning when you consider that he didn't draw a single walk.
Left Field: Michael Cuddyer, New York Mets
6 G, 2-for-19 (.105), 2B, BB, 4 K
Michael Cuddyer was supposed to be the consistent, steadying force that New York's lineup needed heading into the season, but he's instead looked more like a player on the downside of his career whose recent numbers were grossly inflated by playing half of his games at Coors Field.
If there's a positive to be taken from Cuddyer's most recent slate of games, which saw him reach base safely only three times, it's that he only hit into one double play, something he's done 12 times this season, a total that trails only Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons for the National League lead.
Starting Pitcher: Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh Pirates
2 GS, 1-1, 17.55 ERA, 2.85 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 18 H, 13 ER, BB, 7 K
Charlie Morton didn't have much to say other than "that was embarrassing" after recording only two outs against Washington in his first start of the week. “The good pitches I made, they hit them,” Morton told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Stephen J. Nesbitt. “The bad pitches I made, they hit them."
Washington torched Morton for nine earned runs on eight hits, including a pair of home runs, in the first inning of Pittsburgh's 9-2 loss to the Nationals on June 21.
By comparison, Morton's second start of the week against Atlanta on June 27 was stellar, as he retired 11 straight batters at one point, but he still managed to surrender four earned runs and 10 hits over six innings of work.
That's not nearly good enough for a Pirates club that, while nine games over .500, hasn't been able to make up any substantial ground on St. Louis in the National League Central and finds itself in the thick of a multi-team race for one of the league's two available wild-card berths.
Relief Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit, San Francisco Giants
2 G, 0-0, 7.88 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 8 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, K
It was a week to forget for Yusmeiro Petit, who was hammered in both of his relief appearances, first by the Los Angeles Dodgers, then by the Colorado Rockies.
Tasked with replacing starter Tim Lincecum on July 21 in the second inning, Petit surrendered four home runs to the 20 Dodgers batters he faced, including a pair to catcher Yasmani Grandal in the third and fourth innings.
"He doesn't throw it that hard to get it by you, and today he was just leaving balls up," Grandal told the Associated Press (via USA Today) after the game. "He made some mistakes and we capitalized on them. I've faced Petit a lot in the past couple of years, and he's pretty good. He has that kind of invincible ball that he throws on the bottom of the zone and you think it's a ball, but it just keeps getting called a strike."
Things were only slightly better against the Rockies on June 27, as he scattered three hits and two earned runs over 4.1 innings of work, though he didn't record a strikeout.
Unless otherwise linked/noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs and are current through June 27.
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