Every MLB Team's Biggest Underachiever of the 2012 Regular Season
With the 2012 MLB season just about over, it is possible to look back on the year and evaluate the performance of the players around the league.
There were a number of surprises and disappointments this season. The Baltimore Orioles proved to be a playoff team, while the MLB had to deal with the fact that the National League batting average leader, Melky Cabrera, tested positive for steroids.
Each team also had its own bit of good and bad. It is certainly possible to identify a player from each team that let their franchise down with their poor performance.
Stats as of October 2nd.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Chris Young
Following back-to-back 20/20 seasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks had big expectations for Chris Young this year. Unfortunately, Young failed to live up to them.
Young posted one of the lowest batting averages of his career. He was nowhere close to the 20-home run mark. Additionally, he did not surpass 10 stolen bases. Most shocking has to be the fact that Young only drove in 41 runners on the year.
Atlanta Braves: Dan Uggla
The Atlanta Braves have known that strikeouts were an issue for Dan Uggla in the past, but they expected that he would still be able to produce at a high level and hit for a decent average.
Instead, Uggla put up some fairly disappointing numbers. His .219 batting average is the lowest of his career, and he is near his career high with 166 strikeouts. Uggla has also produced career lows in both home runs (19) and RBI (77) this year.
Baltimore Orioles: Jake Arrieta
Even with the outstanding year the Baltimore Orioles had, they still managed to have some players that struggled. Jake Arrieta looked lost at the major league level this year.
In 18 starts and five relief appearances, Arrieta went 3-9 with a disappointing 6.18 ERA. His ERA has gotten progressively worse in every season since he reached the majors.
Boston Red Sox: Alfredo Aceves
There is certainly a long list of players on the Boston Red Sox that are deserving of this position. They were one of the most disappointing teams in baseball this year.
Closer Alfredo Aceves gets the nod for the Red Sox on this list. Just one year after he posted a 10-2 record and a 2.61 ERA for the Sox, Aceves imploded. He seemingly could not do much right this year.
Aceves has seen his record flip to 2-10, and he has a 5.40 ERA as the Red Sox closer. To make matters worse, he has only converted 76 percent of his save opportunities on the year.
Chicago Cubs: Geovany Soto
Just a few seasons ago, Geovany Soto was the National League Rookie of the Year, and he looked like the Chicago Cubs' catcher of the future. It is amazing how quickly things can change.
Although Soto had struggled a bit in the past, he had never experienced something like what happened this year. In 52 games for the Cubs, Soto hit a measly .199 with six home runs and 14 RBI.
The Cubs decided to trade Soto to the Texas Rangers, and he continued to struggle with his new team.
Chicago White Sox: Phil Humber
Between his performance of 2011 and his perfect game in 2012, it appeared that Phil Humber had broken out. However, that thought was short-lived.
Humber struggled mightily following his perfect game. On the year, Humber posted a 6.44 ERA in 16 starts and 10 relief appearances. The Chicago White Sox were certainly expecting more from him this year.
Cincinnati Reds: Drew Stubbs
Even with the outstanding season that the Cincinnati Reds have had, they do have one player who stands out as an underachiever. Drew Stubbs had a tough go of it this season.
The 14 home runs and 30 stolen bases from Stubbs are actually solid numbers, but there were some issues with him, including a career-low .216 batting average and 75 runs scored.
Cleveland Indians: Ubaldo Jimenez
When the Cleveland Indians traded for Ubaldo Jimenez in the summer of 2011, they thought that they were getting a front-of-the-rotation starter. That turned out to not be the case at all.
Jimenez's tenure in Cleveland has mostly been marked by struggles. For the year, Jimenez went 9-17 with a career-worst 5.40 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.
Colorado Rockies: The Starting Rotation
It is hard to pick out just one member of the Colorado Rockies starting rotation that belongs on this list. They were absolutely miserable this season, and the team's starters had a 5.88 ERA, the MLB's worst by a wide margin (h/t ESPN).
The only player that could potentially be absolved of some of the blame for this is Jhoulys Chacin. He posted a 4.78 ERA in 13 starts.
Detroit Tigers: Jhonny Peralta
Following his All-Star campaign in 2011, the Detroit Tigers had higher expectations for shortstop Jhonny Peralta this season. He has not been able to live up to them.
Peralta has done a decent job driving in runs, which is evident from his 13 home runs and 63 RBI, but he has struggled in other areas. On the year, Peralta has a .241 batting average and an 87 OPS-plus.
Houston Astros: Bud Norris
Given the youth of the Houston Astros and the fact that they were in a rebuilding year, it is hard to pinpoint just one player who was really a disappointment. However, Bud Norris does still stand out a bit.
Coming off a season in which he posted a career-best 3.77 ERA, the Astros were expecting good things from Norris. They did not come, however, as Norris regressed and had a 4.82 ERA and 1.39 WHIP on the year.
Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Sanchez
The Kansas City Royals traded for Jonathan Sanchez this winter with the hopes that he would bolster their starting rotation. That proved to be the exact opposite of what happened.
Sanchez imploded and had the worst season of his career. In 12 starts with the Royals, he went 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA and a WHIP over two.
Los Angeles Angels: Ervin Santana
Contract years have meant improved production from a number of players. That was not the case for Ervin Santana, who had a team option for 2013.
The Los Angeles Angels starter struggled mightily this season. He had a 5.16 ERA and gave up 39 home runs in 30 starts.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Bobby Abreu
Bobby Abreu signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers early in the season after he was released by the crosstown Angels. Abreu struggled to perform with his new team.
Power is a key part of Abreu's game, and it appears that he did not bring it with him to the Dodgers. A year after hitting 21 home runs, Abreu hit just three. On top of that, he drove in just 19 runs in 91 games with the Dodgers.
Miami Marlins: Heath Bell
After signing a big contract with the Miami Marlins in the winter, Heath Bell was supposed to serve as the team's closer and the anchor of their bullpen. He did not perform either of those roles effectively.
Bell had a 4.95 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 72 appearances. Out of the 37 saves that were recorded by Marlins pitchers, Bell had just 19 of them.
Milwaukee Brewers: Randy Wolf
One of the reasons why the Milwaukee Brewers did not get off to a great start this season was the performance of Randy Wolf.
They expected more out of him this year. Wolf went 3-10 with the Brew Crew and had a 5.69 ERA before the team released him in August.
Minnesota Twins: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
There were multiple players on the Minnesota Twins roster who got strong consideration for this spot. Nick Blackburn was a mess this year and had a 7.39 ERA, but Tsuyoshi Nishioka was worse.
Nishioka struggled since he came over from Japan in 2011. He spent a majority of the 2012 season in the minors and did not collect a hit in the majors in 2012. He was interested in leaving the team, and they worked with him and eventually released him (h/t Pat Borzi of the New York Times).
New York Mets: Jason Bay
Perennial underperformer Jason Bay is the easy selection for this list for the New York Mets. This season was the worst of his career.
In 70 games, Bay hit an anemic .165. There were some bright spots as Bay hit eight home runs, but it is clear that he looks lost at the plate.
New York Yankees: Ivan Nova
Ivan Nova was expected to play a big role in the New York Yankees rotation this season. He went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 2011, which certainly helped draw attention to him.
Nova was unable to repeat his 2011 success and he struggled throughout most of the year. His record for the year is 12-8, but he has a 5.02 ERA.
Oakland Athletics: Kurt Suzuki
The Oakland Athletics were one of the biggest surprises of the MLB season. Even with their success, they had players that underperformed.
Kurt Suzuki once looked like a solid catcher, batting .274 in 2009, but he struggled mightily with the Athletics in 2012. He hit just .218 with one home run in 75 games.
After the A's traded him to Washington, Suzuki began to turn things around. In 42 games with the team he hit .269 and five home runs.
Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard
Coming back from an injury is not easy, but professional athletes do it all the time. Ryan Howard's return in 2012 was not as good as it could have been.
Howard's power returned, but he still struggled at the plate. On the season, Howard hit just .219 and had a career-low OPS-plus of 91.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Erik Bedard
Following the 2011 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates seemed like a potential playoff team in 2012 if they made a few changes. One of those changes was bringing in Erik Bedard.
This move did not end up working out for the Pirates. Bedard posted a 7-14 record and a 5.01 ERA in 24 starts as the Pirates watched their playoff chances slowly fade away.
San Diego Padres: Nick Hundley
While Nick Hundley had to deal with injuries this season, that does not explain the struggles that he had when he was on the field (h/t Jack Moore of CBS Sports).
Hundley played in 58 games on the season. Over that time period, he posted an ugly .157 batting average and he hit three home runs. His performance was bad enough for him to have a 31 OPS-plus.
San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum
This is one of the easiest choices on the list. Tim Lincecum has been a complete and utter disappointment for the San Francisco Giants this season.
The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner struggled on the mound this year. Lincecum went 10-15 with a career-worst 5.18 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
Seattle Mariners: Justin Smoak
Justin Smoak is still just 25 years old, but he has not developed the way that the Seattle Mariners had hoped. He has had some struggles at the plate.
While Smoak did produce a career-high 19 home runs this season, he also set career lows with a .215 batting average and 109 strikeouts. When you factor in the 85 OPS-plus, the negatives outweigh the positives for Smoak.
St. Louis Cardinals: Daniel Descalso
Finding a player on the St. Louis Cardinals that underperformed in 2012 is a tough task. The team played very well this year, and that is why they are well above .500.
The one area where the Cardinals really struggled was second base. Daniel Descalso has seen most of the playing time there, and his .228 batting average and 72 OPS-plus just don't cut it.
Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena
When the Tampa Bay Rays brought Carlos Pena back this year, they hoped that he would be able to reproduce the numbers that he had when he last played for the team in 2010.
Pena produced the low batting average that the Rays expected, but his other numbers weren't good enough to make up for that. He had just 19 home runs on the year, and he struck out a career-high 179 times.
Texas Rangers: Scott Feldman
For the third straight season, the Texas Rangers have looked great during the regular season. Scott Feldman was the one player on their team that struggled this year.
Feldman moved back into the starting rotation this season, and the transition did not produce great results. He had a 6-11 record and posted a 5.09 ERA on the year.
Toronto Blue Jays: Ricky Romero
From 2009 to 2011, Ricky Romero progressively got better. He posted a 2.92 ERA in 2011 and was selected for the American League All-Star team.
Romero looked like an ace last season, and this season he was a dud. In 32 starts, Romero posted a career-worst 5.77 ERA and struggled mightily on the mound.
Washington Nationals: Mark DeRosa
The 2012 season was the best year that the Washington Nationals have had since the team moved from Montreal. They picked up their first division title as the Nationals.
Not everyone on the team had a great season though.
Mark DeRosa struggled in the super-utility role for the Nationals. While he was able to play a number of positions, he could not produce when he was at the plate. DeRosa batted just .182 in 46 games.