April Baseball's Flowers, Showers, And Plug-Ugly Numbers

Apr 12, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano (12) breaks his bat as he singles and drives in two runs in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

With April in the books, we've had enough time for the standings to sort themselves out, but not enough time for all the crazy individual stats to even out. Below, we've got something in the middle: the highs and lows at each position, team-wise ...

CATCHER

The Good: Milwaukee Brewers
Jonathan Lucroy got a long-term contract. The scoffers scoffed. But Lucroy and back-up George Kottaras have combined for a 934 OPS, easily the best in the majors.

The Bad: Houston Astros
After trading Humberto Quintero to the Royals, the Astros were left with Jason Castro and Chris Snyder, who have combined for an MLB-worst 513 OPS.

The Ugly: Pittsburgh Pirates
Pirates catchers have driven in one run in 2012. One. The glorious moment came on the 12th of April, when back-up Michael McKenry went deep against Chris Capuano. That's it. One.

FIRST BASE

The Good: Chicago
Cubs and White Sox first basemen -- largely Brian LaHair and Paul Konerko -- rank 1-2 in OPS, both above a thousand.

The Bad: Cleveland Indians
Casey Kotchman's started 17 of the Indians' 20 games, and is batting .149/.240/.254 with four RBI. The good news is that Matt LaPorta's been brilliant in the minors this spring. The bad news is, Matt LaPorta. If Kotchman doesn't start hitting, Johnny Damon might actually see some time at first base.

The Ugly: Orange County Angels
Albert Pujols has not hit a home run.

SECOND BASE

The Good: Houston Astros
Jose Altuve, the 5'8" sparkplug from Venezuela, is batting .360 and hitting scads of doubles and triples.

The Bad: Chicago White Sox
Once a real prospect, Gordon Beckham seems to have bottomed out, batting .153/.231/.203 as the Sox' every-day second baseman this season.

The Ugly: Detroit Tigers
The Tigers entered the season with no apparent plan at second base, and it shows. Four players -- including the recently released Brandon Inge -- have started there for the Tigers, and combined for a 444 OPS.

SHORTSTOP

The Good: New York Yankees
Derek Jeter's having a Hall of Fame season.

The Bad: Pittsburgh Pirates
Clint Barmes is not having a Hall of Fame season.

The Ugly: Tampa Bay Rays
The left side of the first-place Rays' infield is looking pretty ugly, with Evan Longoria out of action for a couple of weeks and their shortstops not hitting at all. With Sean Rodriguez getting most of the action at short, the Rays are the only team in the majors without a double from that position.

THIRD BASE

The Good: New York Mets
David Wright's having a Hall of Fame season.

The Bad: Cincinnati Reds
Scott Rolen spent most of last season hurt, and didn't hit much when he did play. This season he's played every day, and hit even less.

The Ugly: Oakland Athletics
The A's lost their every-day third baseman, Scott Sizemore, in spring training. That left them with Eric Sogard, Josh Donaldson, and Luke Hughes; in April, Oakland's third basemen batted .129 with three long hits (one double, two home runs). Not to worry, though: Brandon Inge to the rescue!

LEFT FIELD

The Good: Minnesota Twins
The Twins have all sorts of issues, but left field hasn't been one of them as recent free-agent signee Josh Willingham's been outstanding.

The Bad: Washington Nationals
Only one team's left fielders have combined for a sub-550 OPS ... and the Nationals' left fielders are really sub-.550, as they've compiled a 363 OPS, which necessitated the early promotion of Bryce Harper. The primary offenders: Xavier Nady and Mark DeRosa.

The Ugly: Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano is batting .237/.250/.263 with zero homers and earning $18 million.

(By the way, do you know how many homers all of the Cubs' outfielders have hit this season? One. By bench player Joe Mather.)

CENTER FIELD

The Good: Los Angeles Dodgers
OMG Matt Kemp.

The Bad: Chicago Cubs
Mostly Marlon Byrd, who's been shipped to the Red Sox. Byrd's replacement, speedy little Tony Campana, has actually done quite well since taking over in center field. He might not be good, but he could at least be interesting.

The Ugly: Orange County Angels
Peter Bourjos didn't hit at all, so the Angels have turned to phenom Mike Trout. He hasn't hit, either. But it's early, and this position does figure to eventually become a strength for the Angels rather than one of their many weaknesses.

RIGHT FIELD

The Good: Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto got the big contract, but Jay Bruce has been the Reds' biggest hitter this spring.

The Bad: Pittsburgh Pirates
Still waiting for Jose Tabata ...

The Ugly: Detroit Tigers
Brennan Boesch has started 21 of the Tigers' 22 games, and drawn two walks.

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