Dontrelle Willis Released: Ranking MLB's 10 Fastest Nosedives

Sam DrakeCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2012

Dontrelle Willis Released: Ranking MLB's 10 Fastest Nosedives

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    According to Stephen Borelli of USA Today, Dontrelle Willis was released by the Phillies.

    Major League Baseball is riddled with players who have provided great performances only to fall by the wayside the next season.

    Players who were once applauded by fans are now booed and looked down upon because they can no longer preform and live up to past expectations.

    In some cases, there is no real explanation as to what happened to them. On the flip side, drugs and injuries derailed their once explosive career.

    Now these players are either retired or still trying to salvage part of their career.

10. Josh Hamilton

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    Bear with me for a moment while I explain.

    Hamilton was the No. 1 pick in the 1999 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.

    In high school, he was both a flame-throwing pitcher and a home-run hitter. 

    He threw a 96 MPH fastball and was 7-1 with 83 punch outs in 47 innings of work. On the flip side, he batted .556 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs, and what is most impressive, only four strikeouts in 63 total at bats.

    He was the first high schooler drafted No. 1 overall since Ken Griffey Jr., so the comparisons started to pour in.

    We all know what happened after he got to the majors: drug addiction and subsequent treatment. Now he has made himself one of the leagues best hitters. 

    His is a real good story.

9. Barry Bonds

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    Barry Bonds used to be the most celebrated and best baseball player in the country. Now, only Giants fans think that.

    He makes this list because of his rapid decline in public opinion since the whole steroid issue.

    He was once celebrated, now he's loathed. 

8. Bret Boone

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    Bret Boone had a magnificent 2001 season with the Seattle Mariners.

    After coming to the Mariners from the early 2000's trade tube that the Mariners has set up with the Padres, Boone proceeded to hit .331 with 37 home runs and 141 RBI. He also possesses an OPS of .950. He was loved throughout Seattle.

    There was one problem with him though.

    He was juiced out of his mind!

    I saw him one day walking around a local mall and you could not believe how 'roided up he could be. He is only 5'8" but was absolutely huge. 

    He stayed around the Mariner organization for a few more years but after the Mitchell Report came out, his power and average numbers decreased and he trolled around the minors and different teams, not contributing at all.

    He finally retired in 2006.

7. John Lackey

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    John Lackey is one of the most hated Red Sox players in Red Sox Nation. 

    There was a time when he was adored by the Angel fan base. He won two games in the World Series for the Angels against the Giants and was celebrated as the ace of the staff.

    Then he signed a free-agent deal with the Red Sox and it went downhill from there. His WHIP and ERA shot up and has recently been chastised for drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the club house.

    He is currently recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

6. Richie Sexson

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    Mariner fans were ecstatic that they would be signing Richie Sexson. Yes he was injured the previous season, but he had power. He used his tall, lanky frame to power the balls over the outfield fence. He had hit 45 home runs, two out of four seasons prior to his signing with the Mariners in 2005.

    After signing, his numbers started to drop. All the way until he hit .205 in 2007 and was loathed by Mariner fans.

    He could never seem to hit a clutch shot and would use his tall frame to watch balls fly right by him for strikes. 

5. Adam Dunn

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    Adam Dunn has never been a hitting for average guy. He does, however, produce a lot of home runs.

    Prior to last season, he hit 116 home runs in three seasons.

    Last year, he only managed to knock 11 out of the park. He also had a batting average .100 points less than last year.

4. Daisuke Matsuzaka

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    Dice-K was a star pitcher in Japan. He dominated hitters and won the Japanese equivalent to the Cy Young award.

    The Red Sox got the sole privilege of negotiating and signing Dice-K back in 2007.

    During his 2008 campaign, he went 18-3 with 154 strikeouts and 2.90 ERA.

    Since then, he has battled injury problems and has not reached the double-digit win mark.

3. Chone Figgins

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    Chone Figgins was a key part for the Angels organization for the longest time. Then he decided to sign with a division rival, the Seattle Mariners, and it went downhill.

    He continued to steal bases but his batting average was 40 points lower than normal.

    He hit the basement last season when he was constantly benched for younger guys and hit .188. 

2. Eric Gagne

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    Eric Gagne was the record-setting closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Between 2002 and 2004, he has a combined 152 saves. He was un-hittable.

    He had to undergo Tommy John surgery but once he recovered, he was never the same. His movement on pitches disappeared and his fastball lost its velocity.

    He bounced around to different teams, from the Dodgers, to the Rangers, Red Sox and Brewers but never found his stuff again.

1. Dontrelle Willis

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    The last meaningful thing that Dontrelle Willis has done is play the New York Yankees in the 2003 playoffs.

    Since then, he has made a career out of going from place to place because he is an ineffective pitcher.

    It might be his windup, but something changed with him and has not seen the same success he had back in 2003 with the Florida Marlins.