Coming into this season, nobody really knew what to expect from Nate McLouth. The optimists thought that he would return to being "Pittsburgh Nate" and the realists thought he'd probably struggle (though not as much as last year). But nobody really knew.
So far, the early returns are mixed. Nate has been on a bit of a hot streak lately, but even with that streak his season numbers are pretty depressing: .244 / .326 / .317. His on-base skills are fine, but he has shown very little power thus far. It's too early to draw a conclusion, of course, so I tried to find some more information.
I searched for players in the last 20 years who had been All-Stars and then had a season roughly as bad as Nate's 2010. After some trimming (especially for age; I eliminated players older than 32), I came up with 30 comparable players. I'll have more on my analysis of those players later in the week, but for now, here's a graph that summarizes their careers (click to enlarge):
I'd be interested to see what others think of this group of players. Who is the best comp? Do these players make you more encouraged or more pessimistic about McLouth's prospects in 2011 and beyond?