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July 11, 2005
July 11, 2005

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July 11, 2005

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Tom Verducci's All-Bust Team

This is an article from the July 11, 2005 issue Original Layout

With the midsummer classic about to happen, it's time again to make selections. No, not for my All-Star team (page 60). It's the All-Disappointment team. These players might be able to run, but they can't hide from the truth of a poor first half.

Catcher
Oakland's Jason Kendall has begun to show some signs of improvement, hitting .300 in June. But a catcher with no home runs and 20 RBIs, who has thrown out only nine of 63 base stealers, earns his way onto this team.

First base
Where's the power? Kevin Millar's slugging percentage has shrunk from .474 to .385, and he's no longer hooking balls over or off the Green Monster. Boston's Millar has only four homers and 12 doubles overall.

Second base
Not a good season for the Boones (see third base, below). Like Millar, Seattle's Bret Boone has lost the pop in his bat, hitting .235 with six homers and a measly .383 slugging percentage.

Shortstop
The worst offensive player in baseball, period, is Cristian Guzman of the Nationals. Roger Clemens is a better hitter. Guzman, who's batting .201 overall, has the worst OPS in baseball (.530) and has hit .154 against lefties, .106 with runners in scoring position and .059 with runners in scoring position and two outs. He is a decent glove, but not nearly golden enough to justify such a lame bat.

Third base
The Marlins' Mike Lowell gets the nod over Cleveland's equally bad Aaron Boone, who comes with a note from his doctor. (He missed last season due to knee surgery.) Lowell's slump is mystifyingly long and deep. (He's batting .217.) A legit 25-homer guy, he has hit only three and driven in 29 runs.

Outfield
Why is Tony Womack in the Yankees' lineup? To annoy George Steinbrenner? Like Guzman, he can't hit, but Womack can't field very well either. Since May 27 Womack (below) has one RBI, zero extra-base hits and one walk. Pathetic. For the year he has five extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in 250 at bats. The last time he hit a double was on April 26. Give me Bubba Crosby, Bubba Smith, Bubba Gump ... anybody else.

Outfield
With a .257 average and a .303 on-base percentage, Florida's Juan Pierre has been far below his career norms (.306, .356, respectively). His glovework and throwing have also been questionable, giving pause to any club that might consider signing him as a free agent next winter.

Outfield
Devil Rays G.M. Chuck LaMar couldn't pull the trigger on a deal to move Aubrey Huff over the winter, and now Huff's value has shrunk as his slugging percentage has dropped from .493 to .361. He's hit only five home runs.

Pitcher
Of the 351 batters to put the ball in play against Cincinnati's Eric Milton this year (excluding sacrifice bunts), one out of every 13 has hit a home run. This is a man with a shot at breaking Bert Blyleven's record of 50 gopher balls in one season.

For complete coverage of major league baseball, including the All-Star Game, go to SI.com/baseball.

The Poll Position

Which first-half bust is most likely to rebound and redeem himself after the All-Star break?

__ Bret Boone
__ Aubrey Huff
__ Mike Lowell
__ Kevin Millar
__ Other

Vote at SI.com/baseball.

COLOR PHOTORICH KANE/ICON SMI (WOMACK)