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Alex Remington

Slumpbot .200: All-Star spot won't cure Jose Reyes' walk rate

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Using the best technology available today, Slumpbot .200 identifies a few players who are currently having trouble and then offers solutions for recovery. Today's session focuses on players who are headed to the Midsummer Classic, though not in top form.

Jose Reyes(notes), New York Mets

Data: .277/.320/.415, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 19 SB, 19/38 BB/K

Malfunction: Jose Reyes hasn't been to the All-Star Game since 2007, and after missing nearly all of 2009 due to injuries, he's back at the Midsummer Classic as an injury placement for Troy Tulowitzki(notes). He's still not feeling 100 percent — a week ago, he missed six games with a back injury, and he started the season on the DL with a thyroid problem — and his unimpressive .735 OPS makes it look like Reyes was selected more for star power than for star performance this year. Reyes is a wonderful player having a merely decent year and Rafael Furcal(notes) probably deserves to go in his place instead.

Diagnosis: What's wrong? Easy: Reyes' walk rate has fallen off a cliff From 2006-2009, he walked in 8.9 percent of his plate appearances. This year, he's walking in 5.6 percent of his plate appearances. It's almost impossible to be a successful offensive player with a walk rate that low, and he doesn't have enough power or batting average to make up for it. He has played much better since an awful April, batting .310/.352/.513 since June 1, but still has just eight walks in those 27 games. His power and batting average have really started to come back, but that walk rate is worrisome — especially since he's penciled in at the top of the Mets' lineup.

Reboot Directions: Reyes entered the league an exciting player with an appalling walk rate, and his leap to elite status in 2006 coincided with a major improvement in his plate discipline, culminating in an All-Star 2007 campaign where he had 77 walks to 78 strikeouts — an auspicious ratio for a man who'd previously struck out more than twice as often as he'd walked. He needs to rediscover his patient ways in the second half.

What other All-Stars are currently slumping?

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Ty Wigginton(notes), Baltimore Orioles .249/.334/.442, 14 HR, 44 RBI
Wigginton was having a wonderful season until the calendar hit June, as he was among the league leaders in homers and one of the few bright spots on a woeful Oriole club. He was an easy choice as the lone Baltimore representative in Anaheim. But now he's been mired in a horrendous slump for over a month, paying the piper for his early success with an awful .191/.282/.261 stretch over his last 31 games. He's a fine utility infielder with enough pop to hold down a starting position — his overall numbers are more indicative of his true worth than his streak and slump stats — but his first All-Star appearance is likely to be his last.

Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks .267/.329/.476, 15 HR, 59 RBI, 16 SB
Young is having the finest season of his short career. He's on pace to join the 25-25 club for the first time since his rookie season, while maintaining career highs in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. But his .329 OBP is only promising in comparison to the awful results he's produced during the rest of his career: his .311 career OBP has rendered him one of the least effective starting outfielders in the National League. This year he's been a lot better. But he still has the second-worst OBP in the Diamondback lineup. Kelly Johnson(notes) was arguably a better choice to be Arizona's lone rep.

Omar Infante(notes), Atlanta Braves .307/.337/.369, 1 HR, 22 RBI
Yadier Molina(notes) has the lowest batting average on the All-Star team with a mark of.229. But his selection isn't nearly as inexplicable as that of Omar Infante, the biggest All-Star head-scratcher of the year. At this point in his career, Infante has two assets: the ability to hit for a high average and the versatility to play numerous positions, which is why Charlie Manuel selected him. Infante is a slick supersub who, over the past three years, has played every position but first base, pitcher and catcher for the Braves while hitting exactly .300. But he has a career OPS of .701, and he isn't an everyday player for a reason: He isn't a good enough hitter or fielder to hold down a starting position. As Jeff Passan writes: "Every team needs someone like him. Except the All-Star team."

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