Clearing The Bases
With the season being a little less than 50% over we’ve decided to take a look at players who have played below expectations so far this season. Once again I’m not looking to choose players that no one expected much out of anyway, but players who many thought would at the very least have a solid season. For the most part I’m trying to stay away from players who have spent a majority of the season on the disabled list (Jacoby Ellsbury, Troy Tulowitski), but rather players who have played more often than not, but have just not been able to get the job done. As with the over performing players, we will go with the entire infield, catcher, four outfielders, designated hitter, three starting pitchers, and two closers.
Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers: I can’t say it enough about how much I dislike catchers in a fantasy league. Way to many variables. They sit more often than other players, get hit with foul ball, bats, and base runners which can lead to injuries or just don’t perform up to expectations due to the physical toll of the position. Avila seems to fit all of these categories. Now he has spent some time on the disabled list but he wasn’t playing all that well even before getting hurt. He’s back now, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath expecting an offensive explosion anytime soon.
Gaby Sanchez, Miami Marlins: Sanchez was playing so poorly to begin the season that he spent a good chunk his time in AAA. Now Sanchez isn’t anywhere near the top tier of 1B, but he was someone that most thought could be a reliable corner infielder in case you weren’t able to get one of the big guys. Sanchez is back with the club but is still hitting below the Mendoza line with only two HRs. Perhaps he is another player who is letting the vast dimensions in his home ballpark effect how he plays.
Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers: Another player that I’m really not surprised has gotten off to such a slow start. There was some talk during the spring that Weeks might bat cleanup to replace the departed Prince Fielder but that was quickly forgotten about, and apparently Weeks has also forgotten how to be a good hitter. It’s almost July and Rickie is only batting .184 and it’s not like he’s helping in the power department, he has only six HRs. What about speed you say? Only six SBs also. That last part doesn’t surprise me after the ankle injury last season, but to just totally fall off planet as a hitter. Didn’t see that coming.
Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers: Quite a few fantasy owners were thrilled with getting Peralta in the late rounds of their fantasy draft. They figured why waste a top pick on a Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez when they could get a SS who was going to hit around 20 HRs and not hurt them in AVG later on in the draft. Sound strategy I have to admit, but Peralta has suffered along with a number of other Detroit hitters not named Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. Sometimes, you get what you pay for.
Kevin Youkilis, Chicago White Sox: Unless you have been living under a rock you know this story. Youkilis didn’t have a good spring training or start to the season. This prompted new manager Bobby Valentine to criticize his preparation. When Youkilis was injured, top prospect Will Middlebrooks was called up and quickly became one of the Sox best hitters. This was a problem as there was no good way to get Youkilis and Middlebrooks into the lineup. This meant someone had to go and Youk was the most logical choice. Question now is, does Youkilis have anything left in the tank? Getting a new start in Chicago with a first place team sure can’t hurt.
Delmon Young, Detroit Tigers: Could’ve actually picked Brennan Boesch also as they have both have been severe disappointments this season. Not only has Young been bad at the plate, but he’s also had a run in with the law that caused him to be arrested and then suspended for a week. All in all this hasn’t been the season many thought Young would have hitting behind Fielder and Cabrera. Outside of the arrest we can say the same about Boesch hitting in front of those two.
Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays: Coming into the season it was thought that Jennings would supply about 15-20 HRs and 30+ SBs making him a pretty valuable fantasy commodity. Problem is even when healthy Jennings had not been the hitter many have expected him to be. Jennings started off strong last season before tailing off, many assume that it was just the long season that got him but perhaps he had failed to make the necessary adjustments that are necessary in baseball, and that has continued into this season.
Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks: Putting Young on this list feels like cheating since he was out with a shoulder injury for so long, but I feel like I must put him on her because of how good he was playing before the injury. He looked like a different player who had finally figured out how to be a consistent offensive force, but then the shoulder injury occurred, one in which he more than likely came back early from, and now he looks completely lost at the plate.
Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres: The Padres thought they would get more production from Maybin after signing him to a multi-year deal prior to the start of the season. Somehow I don’t think 3 HRs, 22 RBIs, .201 AVG, and an OPS of .575 is quite what they have in mind. Is Maybin putting to much pressure on himself after signing the big contract? Is Petco Park in his head? The lineup is far from good, but not terrible. One year after we thought Maybin had turned the corner, we are having our doubts once again.
Manny Ramirez, free agent: Now I know I may be cheating here as Ramirez never made it to the big leagues after being released by Oakland from their AAA team, but the fact that the offensively challenged Athletics couldn’t find a spot in their lineup for Manny should tell you all you need to know what they thought of him, not to mention no other teams are beating down his door to try and sign him.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants: If you’re going to try and trade high on Lincecum, now would be the time. Since giving up three runs before getting an out versus Oakland in his second to last start, Lincecum has looked like his old self. He got angry, which led to him retiring 18 of the next 20 batters in the Oakland game, and holding the Dodgers scoreless Wednesday thru seven innings (yes I know the Dodgers have a horrendous lineup right now). Either you believe Tim is going back to his Cy Young form or you believe he just had good outings against bad teams. It’s time to make a decision either way. Personally, I’m selling.
Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks: Kennedy seems to be the definition of a one hit wonder. Last year Ian was a Cy Young candidate finishing the season by going 21-4, with a 2.88 ERA, WHIP of 1.086 and almost 200 strikeouts. This season he is 5-7, 4.42 ERA, WHIP of 1.345, but is on pace for the same amount of strikeouts. So why the difference? Perhaps he really did just get lucky last season.
Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox: Lester was played no small part in the collapse of the Sox last September but it was thought that he would rebound this year and once again be the ace of the staff. Well that hasn’t panned out. Once again Lester doesn’t look anywhere near the ace he was supposed to be. He is 4-5 with an ERA of 4.48 and WHIP of 1.367. What is going on here? He is a much better pitcher than this, or is he?
Heath Bell, Miami Marlins: Bell had shown some regression last season before signing a big free agent deal with Miami, but he has been a small nightmare so far this year. Closers always seem to be a roll of the dice, but Bell seems to always come up snake eyes. He’s throwing as hard as ever, just has no idea where the ball is going, and anyone can time a fastball if they know that is the only pitch you can get anywhere near the plate.
Jordan Walden, Los Angeles Angels: Hate to put Walden on this list, but seeing as though many fantasy owners (me included) thought Walden was going to have a great season, I really don’t have a choice. Unfortunately for his owners, the Angels got off to a very slow start, Walden blew a save or two, and then was made the scapegoat for the Angels troubles, and lost his job. Things got even worse when his replacement Scott Downs became unhittable. Oh well, this is why we always say, don’t pay for closers.
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