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NL West: Underachieving stars
For a division that is close to getting all five of its teams to .500 or better, the NL West still has some noteworthy underachievers. Below are five that have been playing spoiler for their own teams.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Carlos Quentin
The right fielder has lost none of this preternatural ability to get hit by a pitch: After 103 plunks in three minor-league seasons, the 24-year-old Stanford grad had 14 in his first 346 major league plate appearances. But last year, Quentin was inflicting his own damage, slugging .530 in 191 plate appearances as a rookie. This season, Quentin's slugging percentage has been punished, falling to .380 -- though that itself is an improvement from three weeks ago, when it was down at .271.
Colorado Rockies: Garrett Atkins
The guy is 27 years old, coming off a season in which he had a .409 on-base percentage and .556 slugging percentage. And he's playing at Coors Field. So why was he down to a .300 OBP and .335 slugging heading into Sunday's games? The humidor doesn't only work on him, does it? Colorado will be hoping that a homer, double and game-winning 10th-inning single Sunday against Cincinnati isn't just a tease. The home run was the second since April 14 and fourth on the season for Atkins, who hit 29 in 2006.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Nomar Garciaparra
In a year that has been a surprising challenge for several big-name major-league first basemen, Garciaparra can console himself that Richie Sexson, Carlos Delgado and Paul Konerko, among others, are hurting at the plate. Still, Dodger fans might not be in much of a mood to commiserate now that Garciaparra looks like he's 33 going on 43. In the first half of 2006, Garciaparra had a 1.004 OPS. in the second half, his OPS tumbled to .694, and now through the first two months of 2007, he's at .685 with one solitary home run. He had two extra-base hits in 104 plate appearances during the entire month of May (.289 slugging percentage).
San Diego Padres: Khalil Greene
Last week, an attention-worthy post at Padres blog Gaslamp Ball asked, "Is Khalil a Bust?" The conclusion: "As it looks right now, we have a starting shortstop with a history of injury problems that can't hit for average, has no speed, not much power, can't hit in his home park and can't get on base." Gaslamp might be too tough on Greene for his power -- seven home runs, 16 doubles and a .436 slugging percentage for a good-fielding shortstop at Petco Park ain't so bad -- but with a .262 on-base percentage for the year, it's been an all-or-nothing kind of existence.
San Francisco Giants: Omar Vizquel
Speaking of slick-fielding shortstops, here's one who has seen better offensive days. It's hard to expect to much when a player has turned 40, but Vizquel has never been more of a one-dimensional player than he is now: a .274 on-base percentage and .278 slugging percentage, essentially rendering him a nonentity in the Giants' lineup. Since May 14, Vizquel was 7-for-52 (.135) with three walks before getting two singles and a walk Sunday.
The NL West enters play this week with Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona virtually tied for first place, and San Francisco and Colorado essentially tied for fourth. The Padres and Dodgers begin a three-game series Tuesday in San Diego, which will be marked by the return from the disabled list of Jason Schmidt, who threw six shutout innings in a rehabilitation start last week against a Class A opponent but won't have faced major league competition in nearly two months.
Chris Young will challenge Schmidt on the hill Tuesday, followed by Greg Maddux against Randy Wolf on Wednesday and Jake Peavy vs. Hong-Chih Kuo (making his second start of the year) Thursday.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, will host the Giants while the Rockies hope to gain ground by playing the slumping Houston Astros. Over the weekend, interleague play returns, with Arizona drawing the short straw by getting the AL's top dog, the Boston Red Sox.
Labels: NL West
posted by SI.com | View comments |
are you kidding?!!! Nomar underachieving? Why not mention Juan Pierre!!!?!!! Nomart is batting almost 500 with runners in scoring position. Juan Pierre has one of the highest pop out rates in all of baseball. He has been predictably horrible.
Carlos Quentin, Garrett Atkins, and Khalil Green are harldy "stars" which would make it difficult for them to underachieve as a star. It shouldn't come as a big suprise if a player that is unproven for greatness to become a "star" has a bad few months. Even if one were a "star" 2 months into a 8 month season is harldy a time to paste judgement on "stars".
One could easily say that Juan Pierre is not underachieving, Dusto, as you yourself said that he's been "predictably horrible". He's just been a bit below his projections of mediocrity...
Dusto, I wrote at length about Juan Pierre in this space two weeks ago. Didn’t want to be redundant.
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