Biggest MLB Duds of Week 15, Position by Position
It doesn't seem possible, but we're closer to the end of baseball's regular season than we are the beginning. With the All-Star Game behind us, the second half of the regular season has officially gotten underway.
For some players, like Detroit's Ian Kinsler and San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner, they've been able to pick up where they left off before the pause in regular-season action. For others, well, they're making their first—or in some cases, a repeat—appearance on our All-Dud team.
Granted, this past week was a short one, but those games count—and our All-Dud squad needs to be filled. Taking traditional and advanced statistics (mainly FanGraphs' weighted runs created plus metric) into consideration, here's a look at the players unlucky enough to make this week's cut.
Catcher: Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians
If there's one thing we can say about baseball players, its that they do their best to pick up their teammates when someone is going through a rough stretch. For Yan Gomes, who hasn't recorded a base hit since July 3—and went 0-for-9 last week—that help came Saturday before the team's game against Minnesota.
Taking a cue from the comedy classic Major League, Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli presided over a "sacrificial ceremony." Gomes, dressed in a flowing white robe and holding a bat in one hand and flowers in the other, asked Jobu for forgiveness as he was serenaded by a clubhouse full of kazoos.
It concluded with the backstop cutting open a chicken bought from Walmart as an offering to the baseball gods. Kipnis recorded all the action and posted a trio of videos to his Instagram account for all to see.
Dioner Navarro (CHW): 3 G, .000 BA (0-for-9), 5 K, .000 OPS
First Base: Mark Reynolds, Colorado Rockies
There hasn't been much chatter about Mark Reynolds outside of Colorado these days, with the 32-year-old putting together a solid, albeit unspectacular season for the Rockies. He's hitting for average (.276, more than 40 points above his career .232 mark) and has an OPS (.787) that's approaching .800.
But the veteran slugger was anything but solid over the past week, striking out five times in his first nine trips to the plate before drawing a pair of walks against Atlanta on Saturday. He'd finish the week 0-for-11 with a .154 OPS.
Brandon Belt (SF): 3 G, .091 BA (1-for-11), 2 BB, 6 K, .322 OPS
Second Base: Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies
For some players, the All-Star break is a blessing. For Cesar Hernandez, it looks like it was a curse.
Philadelphia's speedy second baseman headed into the break on a tear, hitting .339 with a .815 OPS from June 1 to July 10—and an even more robust .397 with a .881 OPS from June 15 up until the season's unofficial halfway point.
But he's failed to rediscover that stroke at the plate since returning to action, going 0-for-10 with four strikeouts last week, posting a minus-100 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus), the lowest in baseball among qualified batters, regardless of position.
Brett Lawrie (CHW): 3 G, .100 BA (1-for-10), 3 K, .200 OPS
Third Base: Todd Frazier, Chicago White Sox
You can't get down on Todd Frazier for failing to defend his Home Run Derby crown at this year's All-Star Game. Babe Ruth would have had a hard time keeping up with the vulgar display of power that Giancarlo Stanton put on during the festivities.
Vulgar is a good way to describe Frazier's performance for the White Sox last week, with the slugger striking out nearly 50 percent of the time (five strikeouts in 11 at-bats) while recording only one base hit.
Gordon Beckham (ATL): 2 G, .000 (0-for-8), 4 K, .111 OPS
Shortstop: Erick Aybar, Atlanta Braves
I've lost count of how many starts at shortstop this makes for Erick Aybar on our All-Dud squad this season—it's either four or five—an impressive feat when you consider that we've still got half the regular season left to play.
After striking out eight times in an 11 at-bat span from July 7 to July 9, the 11-year veteran did manage to put the bat on the ball in each of his 10 trips to the plate last week. Problem is, that resulted in only one base hit—and three double plays.
Marcus Semien (OAK): 3 G, .100 (1-for-10), 2 BB, 4 K, .350 OPS
Left Field: Michael Saunders, Toronto Blue Jays
Michael Saunders rode a terrific first-half, including a 10-game stretch that saw him hit .357 with a .973 OPS leading into the All-Star Break and his first appearance at the Midsummer Classic. He won the MLB Final Vote with nearly 18 million ballots cast in his name.
While he drove in a pair of runs last week, Saunders hasn't picked up where he left off, hitting only .091 (1-for-11) with two walks, three strikeouts and a .305 OPS.
Melky Cabrera (CHW): 3 G, .167 BA (2-for-12), 1 K, .333 OPS
Center Field: Carlos Gomez, Houston Astros
It's become fairly commonplace to find a player putting up big-time numbers in their walk year, leading to a sizable payday as a free agent after the season. Apparently, Carlos Gomez never got that memo.
Gomez, who has struggled mightily since Houston acquired him at last year's trade deadline, finished the week hitting .091 (1-for-11) with three strikeouts and a minus-66 wRC+, the lowest among qualified center fielders by more than 40 points.
Rajai Davis (CLE): 3 G, .100 (1-for-10), 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, .282 OPS
Right Field: Yasmany Tomas, Arizona Diamondbacks
It's no secret that, so far, the six-year, $68.5 million deal that Arizona signed Yasmany Tomas to before the 2015 season looks only slightly better than the team's trade for Shelby Miller, which we'll get to later.
Tomas did nothing to endear himself to the D-Backs faithful last week, hitting .091 (1-for-11) with an intentional walk, four strikeouts and a .258 OPS. Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers is a perfect example of how disappointing he's been.
He stepped to the plate in the bottom of the second inning with one out and a runner on third base. All Tomas needed to do was hit a fly ball into the outfield to give the Diamonbacks a 1-0 lead. Instead, he went down swinging on three pitches against Brandon McCarthy, who would escape the frame unscathed.
Ryan Rua (TEX): 3 G, .100 BA (1-for-10), 1 BB, 4 K, .282 OPS
Designated Hitter: Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels
Years from now, when Albert Pujols is being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, nobody's going to care much about his time with the Angels, focusing more on his successes as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
But we've got a long time to go before we reach that point—and weeks like the one Pujols just had, in which he went 0-for-9 with a .091 OPS—only make that day seem even further away than it actually is.
Victor Martinez (DET): 3 G, .083 (1-for-12), 2 RBI, 3 K, .167 OPS
Starting Pitcher: Shelby Miller, Arizona Diamondbacks
Shelby Miller didn't have to throw a single pitch to earn a spot on this week's All-Dud squad, as he was optioned to Triple-A Reno on Thursday. It was a move Miller not only saw coming, but one he expected weeks ago.
“I saw it coming,” Miller told the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro. “I have a 7.14 ERA. It’s not like I’m pitching great. … Obviously I was kind of struggling up here for a while. I’m surprised I stayed up here this long.”
Some time away from the big league clubhouse and a fanbase that is still outraged at the price the team paid to acquire Miller from Atlanta—pitching prospect Aaron Blair, outfielder Ender Inciarte and shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson—might be a blessing in disguise for the 25-year-old.
John Lamb (CIN): 1 GS, 0-1, 40.50 ERA, 5.50 WHIP, 2 IP, 9 H (2 HR), 9 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Relief Pitcher: Cesar Ramos, Texas Rangers
Texas signed Cesar Ramos as a free agent before the season in the hopes that the veteran southpaw could replicate his numbers from a year ago, when he pitched to a 2.75 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over 65 outings for the Los Angeles Angels.
While he's primarily been a reliever over his eight-year big league career, Ramos has bounced between the rotation and bullpen this season for the Rangers. Somewhat surprisingly, he's been far less effective in relief, pitching to a 6.83 ERA and 1.59 WHIP over 12 appearances.
Those numbers include a dreadful showing last week that saw Ramos allow five earned runs and five hits, including two home runs, over only two-thirds of an inning.
Brooks Pounders (KC): 1 G, 45.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP, 1 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 5 ER. 1 BB, 3 K
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs and MLB.com and are current through July 16. All contract information courtesy of Cot's Contracts (via Baseball Prospectus).
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