Gnats of the Week: Week Three

Your weekly rundown of the best worst players in baseball.

Welcome back to Gnats of the Week! It’s the series where I take everything that happened in Major League Baseball this week and single out the most brilliantly stupid performances to be enshrined in eternal (until next week) glory.

What is a gnat, you ask? Good question. Gnats are the little guys, the washed-up utilitymen, unheralded prospects, and unproven entities who seem to come out of nowhere to make their mark on a game. If you watch a lot of baseball (and if you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet on it), then you know that this happens pretty much every day.

These players are delightful stories, unless, of course, they’re playing your team. Then they’re the most daggum irritating thing you’ve ever seen. That’s what makes them gnats; a truly beautiful phenomenon.

New in this week’s gnat breakdown (gnatdown, if you will): some red-hot utility guys and pretty much everyone who pitched against the Dodgers. Enjoy.

Honorable Mentions:


Third Runner-Up: Jordan Luplow

1-2, HR, 3 BB, 2 R vs. Carlos Rodon, White Sox on Tuesday

As we saw last week, there’s apparently nothing more exciting for gnat-caliber guys than going up against a guy who just threw a no-hitter. This week the victim (?) was Carlos Rodón, who fell prey to the on-base demon that is Jordan Luplow. Not only did Luplow register the first hit against Rodón in the lefty’s past 14 innings, but he became the first run to score against him all season with his third-inning home run. And it was not, uh, very close either.

If that’s not enough (and it never is, for the Indians’ offense), Luplow — a career .233 hitter — would end up tying a career-high with three walks in the 8-5 White Sox victory. Now that’s just annoying. Good on you, Jordan.

Second Runner-Up: Ryan Weathers

5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 K vs. Dodgers on Thursday

As the past two weekends have shown, these Padres-Dodgers pitching matchups are something to behold this season. Sure, the Dodgers are better, but you can’t blame them for dropping a few up against the likes of Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and…Ryan Weathers? Wait, run that last one back. Really?

Yes, one week after looking good for 3.2 innings in his first career start against the Dodgers, Weathers ran it back on Thursday to the tune of nearly six innings scoreless on the defending champs. At 21 years old, he became the youngest player to ever go five innings-plus allowing no runs and one or fewer hits as a visitor in Chavez Ravine. What’s more, according to Padres beat writer A.J. Cassavell, the only Dodger to have done that is Clayton Kershaw. So yeah, maybe this guy’s legit. See for yourself:

Still, when you’re facing the hulking behemoth that is the Dodgers, anything short of Stephen Strasburg feels like a gnat. This is especially true when baseball people are saying that you look more like that one kid from American Vandal than an MLB starter.

First Runner-Up: Marco Gonzales

7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 6 K vs. Dodgers on Tuesday

Next up on “who played the Dodgers this week?” is Marco Gonzales, who hurled an absolute gem for the Mariners on Tuesday and still somehow — because, Dodgers, and also Julio Urías — came away with the loss. Seven innings, two hits, six strikeouts and if not for a two-out, third-inning double from early MVP contender Corey Seager, we might be talking about a series sweep of the defending champs (??) by Seattle this week. As a consolation prize, I’m awarding Marco second place in my stupid little baseball column. He should receive his Gnat Certificate in the mail in 5-6 business days (we can’t afford Prime Delivery around here).

Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of not-the-Dodgers, then you should enjoy this delightful K reel courtesy of atMariners.


GNAT OF THE WEEK: Guillermo Heredia

6-14 (.429), 2 HR, 6 RBI, .529 OBP, 1.000 SLG vs. Cubs, Yankees & D-Backs

When Cristian Pache went down with a groin injury on April 13, the Braves’ immediate options in center field appeared to be limited to Ender Inciarte and a limp sack of week-old Chik-Fil-A biscuits. The fan base was torn. Then Inciarte got hurt. Instead, they called up February waiver-wire addition Guillermo Heredia and promptly stuck him in the lineup for last Thursday’s series finale against the Marlins. In his first start since Sept. 27 of last year for the Mets, Heredia walked twice and scored a run, which is probably more than anyone would have expected from Inciarte or the sack of biscuits.

Then, on Sunday Night Baseball against Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs, the 30-year-old Cuban journeyman let loose. He recorded three hits, a walk, two homers, and six RBIs in the 13-4 drubbing, including this monstrous 386-foot grand slam that put the game completely out of reach in the sixth inning.

The Cuban Thistle continued to sizzle in the days that followed, posting two hits, two walks, and a run scored in the Braves’ short midweek series at Yankee Stadium. After game one, he shared an embrace with countryman Aroldis Chapman, who was fortunate enough to induce a game-ending pop-out in foul territory from Heredia when we can only assume he was about to tie the game with a dinger on the next pitch. It was a cool moment nonetheless.


Through seven games with Atlanta, Heredia is batting .286/.444/.667 with a 190 OPS+, which is a far sight better than his previous career line of .239/.316/.344, most of which was with Seattle in 2017 and ’18. He’s been so good that the Braves optioned Pache to the alternate site after activating him from the IL today, with the hope that he can continue to develop there and hopefully learn something from watching a true superstar get reps in his spot. GUILLERMO!

(Photos by Gerry Angus, Leslie Plaza Johnson & Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)

Wynn McDonald

Born a Kentuckian, much like Dan Uggla. Braves fan by choice, unlike Dan Uggla. I enjoy long walks on the Brandon Beachy. @twynstagram

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