A lot has changed since last we looked at the homerless leaderboard, but two names continue to stick out: David Ortiz and Bobby Abreu.
Ortiz's power outage has been well-documented (and then some), but Abreu's hot start allowed his lack of power to fly under the radar early on and now he's slugging just .348 through 36 games.
Here are the players who've accumulated the most plate appearances without going deep this season:
PA Chone Figgins 167 Nyjer Morgan 161 Bobby Abreu 159 David Ortiz 157 David Eckstein 153 Placido Polanco 153 Russell Martin 151 Akinori Iwamura 151 Emmanuel Burriss 142 Jason Kendall 133
Most of the names on that list belong there. Chone Figgins, for instance, has homered a grand total of 26 times in 814 career games, including once in 520 plate appearances last season. The same can't be said for Ortiz, Abreu, and to a lesser extent Russell Martin, who've combined for 467 homerless trips to the plate after going deep 56 times in 2008 and 70 times in 2007.
Martin's game isn't built around power, and aside from the homerless streak the rest of his performance has been fairly typical. He's batting .272 with .397 on-base percentage after hitting .280 with a .385 OBP in 2008 and .293 with a .374 OBP in 2007. Certainly his measly .320 slugging percentage is worrisome for Dodgers fans, but as long as he's getting on base and throwing out runners from behind the plate things will be just fine.
On the other hand, both Abreu and Ortiz offer zero (or less) defensive value and thus become pretty useless players if they're not hitting for at least some power. Abreu has maintained some value by hitting .289 with a ton of walks, but is just 9-for-51 (.176) with two RBIs (and 14 walks) in 15 games this month and will eventually see a lot more strikes if he continues to slug .348.
Ortiz also continues to draw plenty of walks, but all the patience in the world can't make up for zero homers and a .208 batting average, leaving him as one of the least valuable players in baseball as we close in on the season's one-quarter mark. If his name still appears the next time we check in on the homerless leaders, the Red Sox will have a very tough decision on their hands regarding Ortiz's future.