Ricescapades: Why Do These Guys Stink? (NL Edition)

A former star at his position, Rickie Weeks has been a complete disaster in 2012. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Two weeks ago I went over a group of American League players having unexpectedly crappy years. We laughed, we cried, we talked some trash at the expense of the White Sox and their hilariously ineffective middle infield. This time out, let's go into some National Leaguers having down years, and whether or not they can pull themselves out of their funk. We'll hold the laughter until their fantasy owners can pull their heads out of the oven.

In the poll for the AL version of this article, readers voted that Adrian Gonzalez was the most likely player to bust out of his funk and deliver like he normally does. I'd tend to agree, except that unfortunately he's done absolutely nothing to indicate a hot streak is near. I watched a few of his at-bats against Oakland last night, and he didn't look good. He was swinging weakly at pitches he usually spits on, and had one particularly embarrassing check swing double play grounder. He just finished one whole month without drawing a walk, which would have been unheard of from the Gonzalez we used to know and love. Perhaps he will return to his former brilliance, but isn't it at least possible that he has fallen victim to the dreaded "old player's skills" and is in the beginnings of a sudden post-30 decline?

Something to ponder, or cry about, if you own him and paid out the nose for him in an auction league. Without further ado, some of the most surprisingly uninspiring players in the National League this year.

Rickie Weeks

To all of my fellow fantasy owners who drafted Weeks way too high and are now suffering through historic misery because of it, I feel your pain...

This is, to me, a particularly sad case, since Weeks is an exciting, star-caliber hitter at a weak fantasy position when he's at his best. This year however, he's been invaded by whatever evil alien possessed Adam Dunn last season. Weeks has flat out forgotten how to hit, striking out an insane 94 times in 320 plate appearances. There have been zero redeeming qualities to Weeks's season; he's been an all-out train wreck from the word go. Dunn bounced back from his disastrous season, but Weeks looks completely lost and hasn't shown any sign of coming out of his slump. Cross your fingers, Weeks owners, but keep a firm grasp on that hankie.

Ryan Zimmerman

The former face of the Nationals franchise, Zimmerman has seen his stock plummet amid a sea of recent injuries and the rise of stars like Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. It hasn't helped, of course, that he isn't hitting. Three years removed from a 30-homer season, Zimmerman has seen the pop disappear completely from his bat, as he enters Tuesday slugging a paltry .366. He's still young enough to rediscover that power, and his owners have to hope that the drought is just the residue of his injury trouble in 2011.

Logan Morrison

Quick! Describe Logan Morrison's season in 140 characters or less! Obviously you don't need that many to spell out "crappy". Everybody's favorite self-proclaimed "Twittaholic" has been a complete disappointment with the bat this year, coming into Tuesday with just a .715 OPS after showing a lot of power promise last season. Some of that has been the new ballpark, as he's slugging just .386 in Marlins Embarrassment Park. Let's hope the dip in average is due to his .251 BABIP, because LoMo's tweets are that much more fun to follow when he's going good.

Ryan Roberts

TatMan has sank back into the murky depths of mediocrity from which he busted out last year. While no one expected him to build on his solid 2011 and become a star, it probably wasn't too much to ask for him to put up another near-20/20 season and provide good value at multiple positions, especially in hitter-friendly Chase Field. Sadly, Roberts's bat has tanked, and since he's 31 and was a Quadruple-A soldier before 2011, it isn't very likely to recover.

Dee Gordon

Ok, I understand that Gordon has provided some value with his league-leading stolen base total at a weak position, but I think the managers that drafted him were expecting a little more than a .228/.278/.279 line. Even in this year's uninspiring crop of NL shortstops, that's pretty bad. Gordon has been an absolute black hole in every category besides steals. He has pretty much exemplified the polarizing player who helps you dominate one fantasy category while murdering you everywhere else. He's so fast that I would imagine his bating average will go up by default, but he can't hit the ball over the second baseman's head and he doesn't walk. Count me as not a fan.

Jordan Schafer

Schafer represents sort of a personal de-pantsing, because I spent a lot of time singing his praises before the season. Let's face it though: he's been crap all year. I'm still holding out hope that he'll realize some of the potential that made him such a hot prospect in Atlanta's system (he is still only 25). However, his strikeout rate is wholly unacceptable for a guy with so little power. For now, he's a cheap source of steals, but he won't be anything more than that until he shortens his swing and gets on base more to take advantage of his speed.

Ike Davis

Davis swung the bat much better in June, but he has been an utter mess for most of the year. Despite his solid past month, he still sports a .203/.278/.390 line. He was supposed to bounce back from an injury-marred 2011 to build on his promising 2010, not act like the second coming of Marv Throneberry. His strikeout rate has been ugly but, again, he's been much better over the past month, so of anybody on this list, I think he's the most likely to bounce back and make a good season of it.

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