After missing nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury Glaus signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Braves and batted .281/.372/.496 with 14 homers through 69 games to basically match his career norms.
Because the Braves were atop the division and Glaus was driving in a bunch of runs ESPN went so far as to show a graphic listing him as one of four “MVP candidates” during a Fourth of July broadcast.
It was plenty silly at the time because Glaus ranked just 32nd among NL hitters in OPS, but now it seems downright absurd because he’s gone into an incredible funk. Glaus has hit .159 with zero homers in his last 32 games, including a .540 OPS and just five RBIs in 21 games since ESPN misguidedly deemed him worthy of serious MVP consideration.
Glaus was benched yesterday in favor of Eric Hinske and afterward told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that knee soreness isn’t to blame for his six-week slump:
It’s certainly no worse than it has been at any point in the season. I mean, I feel pretty good. It’s the middle of the season and everybody goes through swoons of some sort. Obviously you want to try to keep them as short as possible. Obviously the swing hasn’t been fantastic over the past couple of weeks, for who knows what reason. It’ll turn around. Work in the cage and try to figure out what’s going on, and apply it to the game situations.
Given that he missed all but 14 games last season it’s possible that Glaus is simply wearing down while playing every day again at age 34, but it’s also worth noting that even after the slump he has a .244 batting average and .344 on-base percentage that are very close to his career marks of .255 and .359. The power outage is more of a concern, because streaky hitter or not Glaus has always smacked the ball over the fence and his current .410 slugging percentage is 80 points off his career average.