Biggest MLB Duds of Week 25, Position by Position
If there was ever a time for a player to not turn in a poor performance, it'd be the final two weeks of the regular season. Pennant and wild-card races are neck and neck, with division crowns and postseason dreams hanging on every pitch and every swing.
For some, such as the San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence, the job of turning those dreams into reality fell to their teammates, as Pence and the rest of this week's All-Dud squad were unable to contribute much of anything to the cause.
As usual, players on contending teams who deliver dud-worthy performances will get the nod over those not on contending clubs as we fill out our roster. Normally, that includes one player per position, including a designated hitter and starting pitcher.
However, there wasn't a worthy DH candidate last week, with an average .292/.370/.634 slash line from the guys who rarely, if ever, get a chance to play the field. So we'll roll with a nine-man squad this time around.
Who joined Pence on this week's team? Let's take a look.
Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
When the San Diego Padres' Carlos Asuaje lofted a pop-up behind home plate in the bottom of the third inning Saturday night, San Francisco catcher Buster Posey threw his mask off, put his hands in the air and lost the ball in the sky. Luckily for Posey, Eduardo Nunez sprinted in from shortstop to make a terrific play.
But there was nothing funny about the way Posey swung the bat last week, hitting just .200 (5-for-25) with three RBI, four strikeouts and a .440 OPS with the Giants fighting for their playoff lives.
San Francisco went 3-3 when Posey played (and 3-4 overall), falling seven games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West and failing to gain any separation from the New York Mets or St. Louis Cardinals in an incredibly tight wild-card race.
Stephen Vogt (OAK): .167 BA (3-for-18), 2 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K, .485 OPS
First Base: Mike Napoli, Cleveland Indians
Mike Napoli went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night, cracking the 100-RBI mark for the first time in his 11-year career and becoming the first Cleveland Indians player to accomplish the feat since Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez in 2007.
But it wasn't enough to keep Napoli, who started the week 0-for-16 with seven strikeouts and finished it hitting .130 (3-for-23) with a .297 OPS, from earning a spot on our All-Dud squad. Those struggles are nothing new—over 19 September games, the veteran slugger has gone 12-for-76 (.158) with 26 strikeouts.
Justin Bour (MIA): .083 BA (2-for-24), 3 BB, 5 K, .269 OPS
Second Base: Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles
Jonathan Schoop looked as if he had made the turn from talented youngster to borderline All-Star in the season's first half, hitting .304 with an .847 OPS at the All-Star break. He's looked nothing like that player since, with a .216 batting average, .620 OPS and 61 strikeouts over 68 second-half games.
That includes a woeful 4-for-28 (.143) showing with six whiffs at the plate last week, a seven-game stretch that saw the Baltimore Orioles go 3-4 and fall 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League's top wild-card berth.
“You know, the pitchers are making better pitches,” Schoop told the Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli. “This time of the season, the last weeks, that’s baseball. You have the ups and downs, and I’m learning from it. ... It’s something you have to go through.”
Rougned Odor (TEX): .056 BA (1-for-18), 1 2B, 2 BB, 5 K, .261 OPS
Third Base: Yulieski Gurriel, Houston Astros
Yulieski Gurriel might have slid in ahead of the tag from Los Angeles Angels catcher Jett Bandy on Saturday night in Houston, but the 32-year-old rookie was powerless to stop the Angels from putting 10 runs on the board against the Astros for the second consecutive game—or to help Houston snap a three-game slide.
Gurriel reached base safely only five times in 32 trips to the plate last week, hitting .129 (4-for-31) with a .318 OPS. That kind of performance hasn't done anything to improve Houston's outlook in the playoff race, with the Astros sitting three games out of a wild-card berth entering the season's final week.
Jake Lamb (ARI): .056 BA (1-for-18), 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, .261 OPS
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
Francisco Lindor isn't making excuses, but the grind of his first full major league season has taken a toll on the 22-year-old shortstop.
"Today, I feel good," Lindor said Friday, per MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. "A week ago, tired. But, today I feel good. I go through patches during the season, stretches during the season, where I'm dead. And then out of nowhere I'll feel great for the next three weeks. And then I'll go back to feeling tired. I think everybody goes through that."
Lindor might feel good, but he was anything but that at the plate last week, failing to record a hit (0-for-17), though he did draw five walks. Over his last 14 games, he's hitting .065 (3-for-46) with a .294 OPS.
Marcus Semien (OAK): .100 BA (2-for-20), 1 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, .317 OPS
Left Field: Brandon Moss, St. Louis Cardinals
Brandon Moss' power has been a big part of St. Louis' success this season, but the power went out for the 33-year-old outfielder and first baseman last week, as he went just 1-for-19 with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts for the Cardinals.
Moss has been struggling down the stretch, hitting .076 (5-for-66) with two home runs, four RBI and 26 strikeouts over 19 September games. That lack of production helps to explain why the Cardinals have been unable to put any distance between themselves, New York and San Francisco in the wild-card chase.
Brett Gardner (NYY): .214 BA (6-for-28), 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, .491 OPS
Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees
A bone bruise in his right knee limited Jacoby Ellsbury to only four games for the New York Yankees last week. With the way the veteran outfielder swung the bat, the Yankees might have been better off had he sat the week out.
Ellsbury went 2-for-18 (.111) with a walk and six strikeouts en route to posting the lowest OPS (.269) among 54 qualified outfielders in Week 25. That lack of production isn't a big surprise to Yankees fans, however, as he's hit just .216 with a .662 OPS in the season's final month.
Jon Jay (SD): .130 BA (3-for-23), 1 BB, 5 K, .330 OPS
Right Field: Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants
Two weeks ago, Hunter Pence played his way into a starring role on B/R's Team of the Week. Last week, he found a way onto our All-Dud squad.
Pence went 4-for-24 in Week 25 action, including a 2-for-13 showing against St. Louis and Los Angeles, two teams San Francisco couldn't afford to lose any ground to. Considering how vital of a cog Pence is in the middle of the lineup, it's no surprise that the Giants went 3-4 with him struggling to produce.
Brett Eibner (OAK): .111 BA (2-for-18), 1 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, .367 OPS
Starting Pitcher: Matt Moore, San Francisco Giants
A win this past Wednesday against the Dodgers not only would have found San Francisco taking two of three from its division rivals, but it would have also put the Giants within five games of Los Angeles for the NL West lead.
“I picked a bad day to have a bad day,” said Giants starter Matt Moore after the game, which the Giants lost, 9-3, per the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman. Calling his outing a “bad day” might be putting it lightly.
Moore was torched by the Dodgers, allowing seven hits (one home run) and six earned runs over just one inning of work.
Alex Cobb (TB): 1.1 IP, 9 H (1 HR), 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K