Top 5 Underperforming Sluggers in 2016
Any baseball fan or player knows that baseball is a game of incredible highs, and devastating lows. It's inevitable that any good hitter will go into a slump at some point in their career. Some have them more seldom than others, but when they happen, they are often inscrutable.
In 2016, there happens to be a number of household names with big bucks tied to their names who haven't lived up to their standards of excellence. Call it a slump, call it an injury, blame your eye doctor, but at the end of the day, the fans will be disappointed when you are not producing.
As for my personal top 5 (in order) of who I think has been terrible this year, the list is as follows:
5) Jose Bautista
For me, there is only one reason as to why Bautista's numbers are down. His move to the leadoff spot is a move that simply just doesn't make any sense. The guy is a 3 or 4 hitter in any lineup across baseball. I really never understood John Gibbons' logic behind this move, and I think his struggles can be attributed to that. Bautista is now on the 15-day DL with a toe injury, and expected to be in a walking boot for a couple weeks. However, with a guy like Joey Bats, all he needs is one good week of baseball for those numbers to turn upside down. Gibbons is still doing him no favors by continuing to bat him in that 1 hole, though.
4) Justin Upton
Brutal numbers here from Upton who has always been a consistent producer via the long ball. Goes to show that you cannot live and die by the home run as a hitter, or as a team. The Tigers have been a staying afloat at 38-35 after a rough start, no thanks to Upton. The dude is currently on pace for 207Ks, and his career high is just 171. Upton has not fared well with fastballs above 94mph, and he better start hitting them if the Tigers want to catch the Royals and the surprising Indians.
3) Prince Fielder
You want to talk about a guy that provides absolutely nothing to your team when he's not hitting, this is that guy. Fielder does absolutely nothing in the field at 1st base, couple that with his weak bat thus far and he is the least productive player in the MLB. Strikeouts are up, walks are down, isolated power is wayyy down, bad news all around for Prince. The Rangers are going to need him down the stretch so they better hope he can turn it around. They play the Yanks next week and last year Fielder destroyed them at Yankee Stadium, could be opportunity to get back on track.
As referenced in Fielder's spray chart, his inability to drive the ball to the opposite field has evidently been KILLING him.
2) Andrew McCutchen
The 2013 NL MVP has not played like himself yet in 2016. I accredit it to him cutting the dreads, others will have their own theories. Bottom line is that the Pirates need this guy to be better, because he is truly this team's leader. With the Cubs commanding the NL Central, it's impossible to envision the Cards or Pirates catching them. Out of anyone on this list, this guy is the most likely to come out of this on FIRE. He's too good not to, plain and simple.
1) Giancarlo Stanton
Two seasons ago, Stanton was inked to a mega-deal worth $310 Million dollars over 13 years. Since then, Giancarlo has absolutely not earned that kind of a paycheck. Stanton is on pace for 197Ks over the course of just 137 games. Rumor has it he has some type of ailment in his upper body, and that's been hindering his play as of late. On May 6th, his OPS was 1.203, that number has now dipped to .738. Odds are he didn't just forget how to hit after that day, so the Marlins should not be all that worried. Although, they do have 310 million reasons to be.