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>>caption: TWO-TIME STIFF B.J.
UPTON OF THE ATLANTA BRAVES<<
Every year since 1981 we've
unveiled our first half "All-Stiff"
Team at the MLB All-Star break.
It's a tradition we take seriously
and there are some serious stiffs in
our 2014 list of underachievers.....
CA.....ALEX AVILA...DET...There are catchers with worse stats than
his 7-HR, 24-RBI and a .230-BA. But he's just so darn frustrating when
he flashes that occasional doubles and LONG homerun power, then
follows it up with countless strikeouts with the bat on his shoulder.
Enough already of Rod Allen and Jim Price defending Avila's handling
of the pitching staff. Instead consider this: Avila is 12th among the
13 Tiger position players in batting average. The only one worse is
utility infielder Andrew Romine at .217.
1B.....CHRIS DAVIS...BAL...Last year's homerun and RBI champ has
respectable numbers in those categories at 15 & 48, but both
are far off his 2013 pace. Davis' .199-BA at the ASB puts him 26th
among the 26 MLB qualifiers at his position and his 106-K are the
most by any AL first sacker.
2B.....DARWIN BARNEY...CHC...Two years ago he was handed the 2Base
job on a talent poor Cubs team. He's handed it back with 2-HR, 16-
RBI and a .225-BA in an even 200-ABs.
3B.....CHASE HEADLEY...SD...Corner infield spots are power positions and
7-HR, 29-RBI & a .226-BA doesn't fit the bill. As recently as 2012 Headley's
full season numbers were 31-HR, 115-RBI and a .286-BA.
SS.....YUNEL ESCOBAR...TB...One of the reasons T-Bay has tanked are
Escobar's 4-HR, 22-RBI & . 249-BA (way below his career mark of .276).
The Rays deserve what they get from Escobar, who has been an enigma
wherever he's played.
LF.....SHIN-SOO CHOO...TEX...9-HR, 33-RBI, a .242-BA and three
stolen bases in six attempts in 90 games are not what the Rangers
had in mind when they inked Choo to a huge, multi-year, free agent
contract last winter.
CF.....B.J. UPTON...ATL...7-HR, 26-RBI and a .215-BA at the break. His
numbers are actually better than last year's 8-HR, 20-RBI & .177-BA
when he also made our All-Stiff Team.
RF.....JAY BRUCE...CIN...10-HR, 41-RBI and a .229-BA. Without injured
Joey Votto in the Reds lineup to protect him Bruce has become very
DH.....BILLY BUTLER...KC...3-HR & 36-RBI. Hardly worthy of a clean-up
man. His .273-BA is 23 points lower than his career mark for 1108 games.
He still stings Tiger pitching though.
SP.....BRANDON McCARTHY...NYY...McCarthy hopes a July change of
scenery from Arizona to the Bronx will signal an upturn in his luck.
(Based on only one start for the Yankees it has.) McCarthy's 3-10
record with a 4.80-ERA and .300-BA against are a big reason D-Backs
MGR Kirk Gibson is wondering about his job security.
RP.....JOE NATHAN...DET...What Tiger fan didn't want Detroit to sign
free agent Nathan last winter? Yet, here we are at the ASB and his
5.61-ERA is the worst on a bad bullpen with a 1.51-WHIP that's second
poorest to Ian Krol's 1.59. Nathan has five blown saves in two dozen
chances, less than you'd think given the stats I just quoted. Nathan
replaces ex-Tiger Jose Valverde, the 2013 All-Stiff closer, on our 2014
MGR.....WALT WEISS...COL...It would be easy to pile on Gibby at Arizona
or Bo Porter in Houston, whose teams are tied for the second worst
records in MLB just ahead of injury-riddled Texas. However, I think
the Diamondbacks and Astros misfortunes have more to do with the
front office than the skippers. Our choice instead is Weiss, whose
third worst Rockies are 40-55. In a season and a half Weiss has failed
to rise above nondescript and therefore may be headed back to high
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