|Disappointed! - All Star Edition|
|AL or Nothing|
|Written by Ryan Carey|
|Thursday, 28 June 2012 05:29|
With the All-Star game just around the corner, writers all around the web are throwing out their opinions, lists and “ballots” for this year’s team. Since I hit on a bunch of this year’s early stars a couple weeks ago, I decided instead on singing the praises of those players we are patting ourselves on the back for drafting, I would instead focus on the biggest disappointments from the first half of 2012. Think of them as the All-Stars of underachiement and injury, those players that make you want to scream like Kevin Kline after he opens the safe in A Fish Called Wanda. While I do touch on those hit by the injury bug, they don’t get penalized as much as players who have stayed healthy and made us suffer their lousy stat lines week after excruciating week.
Santana was highly touted by yours truly coming off his 27 home run 2011 campaign, but so far 2012 has been a bit of a nightmare. He’s battled nagging injuries and missed two weeks with a concussion. His batting average is down to .219, his power is down and now it looks like he’s battling a bad back. Add it all up and you have one of the biggest disappointments from the first half.
Coming into the year, Suzuki had settled into a niche as a second catcher who would play every day and provide some cheap power. Instead, the bottom has fallen out this year as he has yet to homer this year and is hitting a career worst .210 which has led the A’s to finally relent and call up top prospect Derek Norris.
I think it’s safe to say that Gonzalez has been the biggest non-injury bust of this year’s first round picks. Lord Zola called it in a Roundtable discussion before the season and was spot on in predicting a regression was coming. But even our fearless leader didn’t predict the power falling off a cliff and the average tumbling into the .260’s.
Hosmer has fallen prey to the sophomore slump, and hasn’t come close to delivering the stats that people were hoping for when they pushed him up draft boards this spring. A solid June has his owners still holding out hope that a big second-half is on tap, but the step up to elite status will have to wait until 2013.
I will admit that I bought into the hype that Pujols’ arrival was going to help propel Kendrick up another level from last year’s promising season, putting him on the cusp of joining the elite ranks at a bargain price. Instead he has regressed, with a 55/14 strikeout-to-walk ratio crippling his OBP leading to a drop in stolen bases as well as a demotion in the batting order. Add in the fact that the increase in power he showed last year has vanished and you just get more disappointment.
The big preseason debate was Kipnis or Ackley and as the season approached it looked like Ackley was the one to get. While Kipnis has exceeded expectations, Ackley has struggled, striking out 67 times in 69 games. While he has stolen a few bases and scored runs, his power hasn’t materialized and his .242 batting average has been a drag. If you chose him over Kipnis, it only makes it more frustrating.
Shortstops: Alexei Ramirez, Erik Aybar
Ramirez has been a major disappointment for anyone who banked on him delivering his usual 15/15 production. While the speed has remained, he has one measly home run to date. He’s been hot of late, so maybe better days are ahead in the second half.
Aybar joins Kendrick on the squad with an equally slow start to the 2012 campaign. If you drafted Aybar to be your starting SS, you were banking on getting stolen bases, a bunch of runs and even a little pop. His 5 stolen bases are way off his pace of last year and his 1 home run means he’s unlikely to match last year’s output there as well. A recent hot streak has his average up to .250, so like others on this list, he has nowhere to go but up.
The year got off to a bad start, with his back flaring up before the season even started. That was followed by his manager calling him out in public and a DL stint which led to rookie Will Middlebrooks rendering him expendable. His trade to the White Sox should give owners some hope for a rebound, but needless to say, it’s just as likely that he’ll get hurt again.
If you drafted Reynolds, you did so knowing the downside involved. You knew his crappy batting average would be the price you would pay for all those home runs. So what do you have to show for holding your nose and picking him? Six home runs and tons of strikeouts, and quite possibly a guy you already cut bait on.
This is a motley crew full of various forms of disappointment. Jennings has struggled to build on last year and a knee injury which landed him on the DL in May slowed him on the base-paths. After hitting 10 home runs in 63 games last year, he has only 3 in the first half to go along with a dreary .239 batting average. Gordon has followed up last year’s breakout with a maddeningly inconsistent first half. His 5 home runs and 3 stolen bases are way off last year’s 23/17 pace. Boesch was a popular breakout candidate who has failed to take advantage of hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Bourjos struggled mightily and lost his everyday job leaving his power/speed potential buried on the bench. Francoeur has reminded us all again not to pay for a career season. He also likely has the Royals asking themselves why they chose him over Melky Cabrera. Thames won the starting job in one of the most potent lineups in baseball and then forgot how to hit. Now he’s in AAA trying to remember.
Designated Hitter: Delmon Young
Yeah, you knew I was going to have to include the cover boy from this pre-season on this list. He was one of the guys I hyped this year, and he has been one of my biggest disappointments this year. Much like Boesch, he has yet to deliver on the promise he showed in the Detroit offense last year and the career year I predicted for him isn’t coming.
This may be more my list of starters than yours, but hey it's my list after all and all of these guys have been less than I hoped for. I'm running long here so we'll just bunch all of these guys together as one big inconsistnent, frustrating bunch of so-called "Aces" that have failed to deliver the goodies we were banking on.
Relief Pitcher: Jordan Walden
Thanks for the one save you bum.
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