Every MLB Playoff Team’s Biggest Liability At The Plate
Every MLB Team's Liability Going Into Postseason
MLB has finally finished its regular season. After 162 games, there are only 11 teams still alive as the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers will play a one-game playoff to make the one-game Wild Card play-in game.
Every team has at least one player who make them weary when they come to the plate. Sometimes they are in primarily to be a fielder. Sometimes they are having a down season. Sometimes they are just a stop gap for a prospect who still needs a full year in the minors. Either way, fans tend to get a bad feeling when they come up to the plate in a situation where they absolutely need a hit.
Then, there are those players who are very good during the regular season, but completely disappear in the playoffs. Some players relish the spotlight, and others die in it. You can look at what happened last season to Alex Rodriguez in the playoffs as an example. He came into the playoffs as the guy the team wanted to bat as much as possible, but ended up getting booed every time he comes to bat. There are some on this list that will fall into that category.
There are always those stories where the guy that nobody expected to do well actually came through in the clutch. Those stories are few and far between, unfortunately. This season is likely not going to come down to any of the guys on this list. If it does, it most likely won't end favorably for that team.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Starling Marte
Starling Marte is coming off an injury less than a month ago. He also suffered a hand injury recently that has caused him to play less than what Pittsburgh Pirates fans are used to seeing. He strikes out a ton lately. The young left fielder is going into his first playoff appearance at less than 100 percent. He needs to play like he is 100 percent if he is going to add to a Pirates lineup that ranked 20th in the majors in runs. They could definitely use the pre-All Star break Marte when they play the one-game playoff on Tuesday.
Oakland Athletics - Coco Crisp
Coco Crisp is one of the few veteran players on an extremely young Oakland Athletics team. They look up to him and seem to go as he goes. Last season, Crisp dropped the ball in the playoffs. He hit .182 in the five-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Crisp has played in three postseasons. He did extremely poorly two times. Will this become a trend and see him do well this season? That is doubtful. They are going against the same Tigers team that fooled Crisp last season. He will be the player who nobody wants to see when they need a run.
Atlanta Braves - Dan Uggla
Dan Uggla has had one of the most roller coaster careers in the history of baseball. This season was an all-time low. He hit a paltry .179 on the 2013 season. Unfortunately for the Atlanta Braves, he is the best they have at second base. He can still hit a home run, but with B.J. Upton on the same team with the same problem, it causes some serious problems for manager Fredi Gonzalez whenever he puts out his lineup card. Uggla needs to think more about getting on base for the likes of Justin Upton and Jason Heyward rather than trying to blast one out of the park.
Texas Rangers - Mitch Moreland
Mitch Moreland is another player who is having a bad season. He has played for the majority of the season for the Texas Rangers. Moreland has hit .233 over the season. He is even worse when there are runners in scoring position, hitting .191 in those situations. Moreland is going to need to play much better to not be the goat of the Rangers' season.
Cincinnati Reds - Zack Cozart
Zack Cozart is still trying to become a decent hitting shortstop. His slugging percentage has dipped from last season, and he is much better when there is nobody on base. His batting average fluctuates 40 points when there are no runners on and when there are runners on. The Reds need him to be much better if they are going to play him in the no. 2 slot.
Detroit Tigers - Alex Avila
Alex Avila hit .207 last season in the playoffs, and Tigers fans were relieved he didn't do worse. His first postseason two years ago saw him batting .073. To put that into an easier perspective, he had 41 at-bats and had three hits. He isn't great in the regular season, but he is awful in the postseason.
Tampa Bay Rays - Yunel Escobar
The Rays will play the Rangers in the first play-in game to have the chance to play the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card game. Yunel Escobar has had 20 at-bats against them this season. In those 20 at-bats, he has managed one hit. If that first game comes down to one hitter and it ends up being Escobar, then it may be a short postseason appearance for the Rays in 2013.
Los Angeles Dodgers - Yasiel Puig
He's most likely the biggest name on the list. Yasiel Puig has taken the league by storm this season. He started off the season as one of the best in the league, hitting close to .400 for the first couple of months he was up. Puig has gone cold in September. His average dips nearly 100 points when there are runners in scoring position. He doesn't do well with pressure or the media, both of which are escalated during the postseason. He has every arrow pointing to having a rough first postseason.
Boston Red Sox - Will Middlebrooks
Will Middlebrooks went from the third baseman of the future to being sent down to the minors and then right back to the former. That is life when you play for the Boston Red Sox. Middlebrooks seems to play his best when he has no pressure on him. With runners on, he hits .180. It just isn't enough to get him anywhere but in the dog house with Red Sox fans. The playoffs will most likely be more of the same.
St. Louis Cardinals - Pete Kozma
The shortstop position on the St Louis Cardinals is very weak. They are very strong at most of their hitting positions, but Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso have not contributed enough. They both need to step it up if they want to contribute anything to this offense.
Cleveland Indians - Nick Swisher
Nick Swisher has shown that he just can't cut it in the postseason. He has 46 postseason games and has an average over his career of .169. He has eight RBIs in 154 at-bats. He usually gets put towards the bottom of the lineup at the end of a series. He has a World Series ring of course, but he did not contribute much to that New York Yankee team.