Justin Upton (.234/.342/.359)
This slump dates back to September 11th of last year, after which the younger Upton ended the season in an 8-for-48 rut. Following a sluggish start in 2012 he seemed to be pulling out of it as April drew to a close, but then proceeded to struggle throughout much of May. He dealt with a sore left thumb early on, an ailment that may have caused him to alter his swing. His .289 BABiP doesn't look too bad, but it's 45 points below his career rate even though he's managing a career best in line drive rate. He's taking more walks and chasing fewer pitches outside the zone, encouraging signs for a maturing hitter, and has reached base in each of his last ten games. June and July are his best months, so a hot streak should be just around the corner. In the meantime at least his running game's improved; with six steals in seven attempts after finishing last year with an unspectacular 70 percent success rate. Not sure if he winds up with the awesome statistics he put up last year, but he's too talented to keep underperforming much longer. I'd still rather have him than his older brother, B.J. Upton. Oh, and he's still only 24.
Aramis Ramirez (.218/.289/.366)
|Give Ramirez a few more weeks and he'll be |
Brandon Phillips (.252/.290/.358)
Phillips sat out a week of games in April to rest his ailing hamstrings (which have limited him to just one stolen base in the early going), and the time off may have prevented him from getting in a groove. Everything in his batted ball data checks out except for a middling home run to fly ball ratio and a fluky 20 percent infield fly rate. He's always lacked plate discipline but has been much too aggressive, chasing nearly 41 percent of pitches off the plate to date. In order to turn it around he will have to be more selective. To his credit he's been better as of late, though, with a .318 batting average since May 7th. I think he's miscast as a cleanup hitter (Jay Bruce is the guy) and would probably be better suited batting out of the two hole. I don't expect him to repeat last year's numbers, but he's better than this.
Rickie Weeks (.159/.297/.297)
|It's been a rough year for Weeks and the Brew Crew|
Danny Espinosa (.209/.293/.309)
Like Weeks, Espinosa whiffs a ton; he's second in the league with just one fewer strikeout than Weeks. It's no surprise, then, that he's prone to lengthy droughts. Right now he's stumbling through a sophomore slump primarily because he's just not making enough contact. When he does he's hitting more line drives and fewer pop ups, if you're a glass half full kind of guy. Washington's offense is in shambles, so Espinosa has plenty of company when it comes to underpforming hitters wearing Nationals uniforms. His OPS has jumped almost 100 points in the past ten days, so perhaps he's finally breaking out. I don't see any reason why he can't threaten 20/20 like he did last year.