What's Wrong With ...

Several in-their-prime stars have curiously struggled through the season's first half, but three have had a particularly rough go of it. SI asked three anonymous pro scouts to diagnose what has ailed these players and to offer a prognosis
July 09, 2012

ADRIAN GONZALEZ, Red Sox 1B

Gonzalez lived up to his billing in his first season in Boston, in 2011, hitting .338 with 27 home runs, 117 RBIs and an OPS of .957 after coming over from San Diego. This year has been a different story for the 30-year-old, who started 18 games in rightfield to keep the now-traded Kevin Youkilis in the lineup. Through Sunday, Gonzalez was on pace for career lows in average (.272), homers (six) and OPS (.730).

SCOUT'S TAKE

"He's just trying to pick up for the other losses [the Red Sox] had, injuries, lack of production. I think he's just pressed a little bit. There's nothing wrong with him physically. They have him back at first now. Not only can moving guys around hurt you defensively, but it can affect players offensively. He's one of the best. He'll be fine."

TIM LINCECUM, Giants SP

June 27 represented a step in the right direction for the two-time Cy Young Award winner, but seven shutout innings against the Dodgers lowered Lincecum's ERA only to 5.60 (101st among 106 qualifiers) while lifting his record to 3--8. The 28-year-old righthander has, as usual, more than one strikeout per inning, but his command has deteriorated: He was walking a career-high 4.7 batters per nine at week's end.

SCOUT'S TAKE

"He's really having trouble controlling his fastball. Pitchers just go through slumps—wear and tear on the arm over the years. And he's not the biggest guy [5'11", 175 pounds] in the world. If I could pinpoint his problem, I'd talk to the Giants and see if I could get hired. He's going to come back. I would say it's just a stage he's going through."

ADAM LIND, Blue Jays 1B

In 2009, at age 25, Lind hit .305 with 35 home runs and 114 RBIs. His production declined in '10 and '11 and reached its nadir early this season: He was batting .186 with three home runs and 11 RBIs through May 16 when Toronto banished him to Triple A. After hitting .392 with a 1.112 OPS in 32 games with Las Vegas, Lind was recalled on June 25 and was hitting .250 with two homers and four RBIs in six games back.

SCOUT'S TAKE

"There are a lot of similarities in his struggles with those of another Adam—Dunn—last year: Things start going wrong, your frustration mounts, and it snowballs. He did well in Triple A, and I think he rebounds. Though 35 home runs, I don't think that's him—more 20 to 25, with a higher average."

The Next Wave

These three top prospects are the next in line to receive the call and make their major league debuts

WIL MYERS, Royals, IF/OF

Scouts agree that Myers (right), 21, is the best hitting prospect in the minors. For the season the catcher turned outfielder was batting .329, with 27 homers, 71 RBIs and an OPS of 1.096. He could get a call-up this month.

DANNY HULTZEN, Mariners, SP

The lefthanded Hultzen, 22, was the most polished pitcher in the 2011 draft and his 1.75 ERA in 15 minor league starts has him positioned to be the second player from the '11 class (after Arizona pitcher Trevor Bauer) to reach the majors.

MIKE OLT, Rangers, IF

Texas has been making do with Mike Napoli and Michael Young at first. The team could turn to Olt, a 2010 first-rounder, who hit .300 with 21 homers and 60 RBIs through his first 72 games with Double A Frisco.

PHOTOAL TIELEMANS PHOTOTOM SZCZERBOWSKI/US PRESSWIRE PHOTOBRAD MANGIN PHOTOMIKE JANES/FOUR SEAM IMAGES

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