Biggest MLB Duds of Week 22, Position by Position
Major League Baseball's final month of the regular season has arrived, and with it, the pressure to perform has only increased. Some players thrive under the spotlight, raising their games to levels worthy of inclusion on B/R's Team of the Week.
Others fall far short of meeting even the most modest expectations and find themselves here, among the candidates to star on our latest installment highlighting baseball's biggest duds of the past seven days.
Duds come in all shapes and sizes and on contenders and non-contenders alike. Case in point: Addison Russell isn't just the starting shortstop on baseball's best team, the Chicago Cubs, but he gets the starting nod on this week's All-Dud team as well.
Besides Russell, who fills out our 10-player roster featuring one player per position, including a designated hitter and starting pitcher? Let's take a look.
Catcher: Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners
If things always went according to plan, Mike Zunino, the third overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft, would be a perennial All-Star behind the plate for the Seattle Mariners by now. Instead, the 25-year-old continues to mix his prodigious power with a questionable approach at the plate, limiting his overall production.
Zunino, who carried an 0-for-11 streak into the week, extended that stretch of futility to 21 at-bats before collecting his first hit in nearly two weeks on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, delivering a bases-loaded single that scored Kyle Seager.
He'd finish the week 2-for-18 with a pair of RBI, three walks and 10 strikeouts.
Martin Maldonado (MIL): .133 BA, .478 OPS, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
1st Base: Brandon Moss, St. Louis Cardinals
Brandon Moss has come a long way from the disappointing second half he posted for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015. He's tied for the team lead in home runs (25) with second baseman Jedd Gyorko and emerging as one of the most consistent bats in a Cardinals lineup that leads the National League in round-trippers (192).
With games against the non-contending Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds, both Moss and the Cardinals figured to continue rolling in Week 22 action. But the A's, Brewers and Reds rose to the occasion, sending St. Louis to a 2-4 record on the week.
Moss did little to try to change those results, going 1-for-17 with three walks and six strikeouts. Suddenly, a team that looked like a lock for one of the two NL wild-card berths now holds just a one-game lead over the New York Mets for the final playoff spot in the Senior Circuit.
Chris Davis (BAL): .095 BA, .446 OPS, 1 XBH (1 HR), 2 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K
2nd Base: Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins
With four games on tap against the New York Mets last week, the Miami Marlins had a chance to not only surpass them in the NL East standings, but jump over them in the Senior Circuit's wild-card race.
That didn't happen, as Miami dropped three of its four games against the Mets and went just 1-6 on the week. Dee Gordon's ineffectiveness atop the lineup was part of the problem, with the speedster hitting only .103 with a .299 OPS.
Sadly for the Marlins, weeks like that have been commonplace for Gordon ever since his late-July return from an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing substances. In 34 post-suspension games, he's hit .246 with a .301 on-base percentage and .585 OPS.
Ben Zobrist (CHC): .059 BA, .392 OPS, 7 BB, 5 K
3rd Base: Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
If Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had his way, he'd have a team full of Justin Turners at his disposal.
"J.T. is the epitome of what we're trying to do going forward, the type of baseball player he is, what he stands for," Roberts told the Los Angeles Times' Andy McCullough last month. "Those are the guys you win with."
While the Dodgers went 3-2 in the five games in which Turner played last week, his .190/.227/.190 slash line says that Turner had little to do with those three wins and was part of the problem in the team's two losses.
David Freese (PIT): .125 BA, .489 OPS, 5 BB, 9 K
Shortstop: Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs
To be fair, Addison Russell's two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, the eventual game-winning hit, was a big deal. Not only did it extend Chicago's winning streak to four games, but it represented the first time he recorded hits in back-to-back games in over a week.
Unfortunately for Russell, that was the extent of his Week 22 success, as he hit just .118 with a .390 OPS over seven games, though he did manage to drive in four runs as the Cubs went 5-2 to continue their dominance over the rest of the National League.
Ketel Marte (SEA): .208 BA, .448 OPS, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K
Left Field: Melvin Upton Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
For a second, it looked as if Melvin Upton Jr. had finally turned a corner for the Toronto Blue Jays, finishing Week 21 on a 6-for-13 tear that saw him go down on strikes only once. Alas, it was only for a second. Upton went right back to his inconsistent ways in Week 22, going 1-for-18 with a pair of RBI and walks with four strikeouts.
Not even a return to his former stomping grounds in Tampa Bay, where he last played in 2012, has been able to get him going, as he's gone 0-for-7 with a walk and three whiffs to start that series.
Alex Gordon (KC): .174 BA, .443 OPS, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K
Center Field: Leonys Martin, Seattle Mariners
Leonys Martin's thievery against Ian Desmond and the Texas Rangers was almost enough to keep the 28-year-old off our All-Dud team this week. Almost.
But one home run-robbing catch doesn't atone for a week of ineptitude at the plate, with Martin going 3-for-25 with two walks and nine strikeouts atop Seattle's lineup. That kind of table-setting did nothing to help the Mariners in their quest for a spot in the playoffs, as Seattle dropped five of its six games for the week.
Odubel Herrera (PHI): .174 BA, .348 OPS, 7 K
Right Field: Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox
Avisail Garcia spent most of his time in right field last week, but it was a play he made—or rather, failed to make—while patrolling left field in Week 22 that perfectly sums up not only the season for the Chicago White Sox, but Garcia's career as a member of the club.
Have a look at what might be the worst throw of the season. Now have a look at his weekly numbers, which aren't any easier to view: .077/.143/.077 slash line with two walks and 12 strikeouts.
Now proceed immediately to your bathroom, and start drinking Pepto-Bismol.
Aaron Judge (NYY): .056 BA, .327 OPS, 1 XBH (1 HR), 2 RBI, 1 BB, 13 K
Designated Hitter: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers
Thankfully for the Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera is still Miguel Cabrera, and Justin Upton has finally found his mojo. Victor Martinez had little to do with the team's Week 22 success, which saw the Tigers go 4-2 to move within one game of an American League wild-card berth.
V-Mart would reach base safely six times in those six games—two singles and four walks—while striking out six times. His .087 batting average and .309 OPS were among the lowest in baseball last week, regardless of position.
Miguel Sano (MIN): .138 BA, .435 OPS, 1 XBH (1 HR), 5 RBI, 2 BB, 13 K
Pitcher: Doug Fister, Houston Astros
Doug Fister has become a streak-buster—busting the Houston Astros' winning streaks, that is.
Fister, who has failed to pitch out of the fifth inning in three of his last four starts, allowed 12 runs (nine earned) and 17 hits over two starts last week for the Astros, spanning a total of eight innings. Not only did Houston lose both games, but both ended what were three-game winning streaks at the time.
To his credit, the veteran starter didn't try to deflect blame after his latest outing, in which he allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits against Texas on Friday.
"It was a night full of some big swings, and unfortunately—good, bad or indifferent—you have to go out there and get your job done," Fister told the Houston Chronicle's Angel Verdejo Jr. "I didn't get my job done tonight and put our team in a pretty big hole."
Dan Straily (CIN): 2 GS, 1-1, 8.64 ERA, 2.35 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 11 H (5 HR), 8 ER, 8 BB, 8 K