In recent years Major League Baseball has seen new faces burst onto the scene and become annual members on the All-Star team. Players like David Wright and Joe Mauer have become fan favorites and household names as they've launched careers among the best in baseball.
Other players have seen their personal stars dimmer over the last few seasons. The 10 players whose careers used to shine among brightest in the baseball sky and have since gone the other way are included in the following slides. (Note: Two players who might come to mind for this list that are not included are Justin Verlander and Jeff Francouer. The belief with these two is that neither has even reached his prime yet, and could easily return to their former status as a player).
Until a year ago the case could be made for Martinez being the best offensive 1B in baseball. Cleveland's backstop was capable of hitting .300 with the potential to have over 60 extra-base hits and more than 100 RBI annually.
Last season, he battled injuries and only saw 73 games for the Indians in 2008.
In that time he managed to post a reasonable batting average of .278 but his on-base percentage and slugging dropped off by alarming rates.
His OBP fell to .337, the lowest total of his career since his debut in 2002 when he played in only 12 games.
The slugging percentage took an even greater hit, as it plummeted 140 points to a very pedestrian .365 as he hit a meager 2 home runs.
His power-outage was comparable to the one that hit the Northeast in 1965, and resulted in him driving in just 34 runs last year.
Martinez seems capable of returning to prominence, and already has more homers this season than he did last year.
If he can't put together a solid campaign this year though, he rapidly move further up this list.
Martinez's lineup-mate Travis Hafner has also fallen off as a hitter in the last few seasons.
After establishing himself as one of the game's best sluggers and an MVP candidate earlier in his career, Pronk's offensive numbers have been better at disappearing than Harry Houdini.
As a 29-year old in 2006 Hafner annihilated opposing pitching as he posted a batting line of .308 .439 .659 en route to smacking 42-round trippers.
He drove in 117 runs and scored 100. Pitchers demonstrated their fear of him as he drew 100 walks. He led the league in slugging and OPS and finished 5th in the AL in MVP voting.
His career seemingly reached the top of the roller coaster that year as he has fallen rapidly as a hitter since.
The following year he hit .266 and added only 24 homers.
Things got even worse last year as he only played in 57 games and couldn't even hit his weight as he posted an average of .197.
Early in his career the easiest way to describe Eric Chavez as a thirdbaseman was simply elite. Injuries have derailed his career the last four years.
Chavez, now 31, hasn't seen full-time action since he was 27 and as a result has experienced his production decline immensely.
In his early-to-mid 20s Chavez was a sure thing to hit at least 25 homers while pushing 100 RBI each year.
Now just a few years later fans of the game wonder if the former Gold Glover will even be on the field.
Even if he were to stay healthy at this point, no one would know what to expect in terms of production from him.
Johjima came to the Mariners after putting together a potentially Hall of Fame career in Japan. After winning a Japanese League MVP and being named to multiple All-Star teams there, he came stateside touted as an offensive threat behind the plate.
Once he got here he did little to dispel that notion as his first year saw him finish 4th in Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .291 with 18 homers.
A year later Johjima put together another solid campaign with the bat, hitting .287 with 14 home runs.
After putting together two seasons that ranked in the upper echelon of catcher's in baseball, his 2008 year was an utter disappointment. He started slow and never quite put it together, finishing with an average of just .227 while homering only seven times all year.
The brothers Giles are both former All-Stars. Marcus may have fallen further, but are a shadow of what their shadows used to be.
In Atlanta Marcus Giles posted career numbers of .286 .361 .448 in six years as a Brave. His best season was 2003, when he swatted 21 homers, hit .316, and made the NL mid-summer classic squad.
As he turned 26 his career began its down-ward spiral. He put together two more decent years in Georgia before the wheels came off. In 2006 he hit just .266 and was cut loose following the season.
He joined his brother in S.D. for the next season-which would end up being his last. After hitting a mediocre .229 in 2007, Marcus Giles was out of baseball before his 30th birthday.
Brian Giles didn't meet quite the same fate. In fact he is still a serviceable outfielder for the Padres.
His reasoning for being on this list is simply that at this point he is just merely serviceable instead of the superstar he was during his days with the Pirates.
In his four full-seasons in Pittsburgh Giles walloped 39, 35, 37, and 38 round trippers while averaging 109 RBI a year.
After his astounding 185 homers in four and a half years for the Pirates, Giles has followed that up by hitting just 81 in parts of six years in San Diego. He has also failed to drive in 100 runs since being dealt to the left coast.
Mark Mulder spent the first half of this decade establishing himself as one of the most elite and dependable pitchers in the MLB.
He has also spent the 2nd half of this decade watching those notions get washed away as he has failed to make a full seasons worth of starts since the John Kerry was running for president.
After going 81-42 with Oakland, and making 150 starts in his five years with the A's he has posted numbers that don't look like they could possibly belong to the same pitcher since being traded to St. Louis.
Four seasons pitching for the Cardinals saw him make just 53 starts. His 22-18 record was seriously aided by the 16 wins he had his first year there. Since the Cards were knocked out of the NLCS by the Astros in 2005, Mulder has made just 21 starts.
He hasn't won a game since 2006, and couldn't find a team willing to give him a contract this past off-season. If Mulder doesn't catch on somewhere this season his career could end the same decade it began.
In Oakland Zito captured a Cy Young award and posted a remarkable .618 winning percentage. He put together a career ERA of 3.55 while winning 102 games in his six and a half seasons donning an A's uniform.
As good as his time in Oakland was, Zito's short tenure in San Francisco has been just as disappointing. Only CC Sabathia and Johan Santana have garnered larger contracts for pitchers, but many have out-pitched him since he moved to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Zito's career ERA has ballooned to 3.85 after he has worked at a clip of 4.95 in S.F. His win/loss record has been indicative of that poor pitching as he's gone just 21-32, and been anything but the ace the Giants thought they were getting.
As disappointing as Zito has been since moving across the San Francisco Bay, Dontrelle Willis's demise might have been a bigger let down. At 23 years old Willis was already a World Champion, Rookie of the Year, 20-game winner, and Cy Young runner-up.
At 24, his control seemingly disappeared and Willis saw his ERA explode by more than a point to 3.87. With his walks and hit by pitch way up, and strikes outs way down, Willis's record dropped from 22-10 in 2005 to 12-12 the next year.
His numbers continued to deflate in 2007, as his walks and ERA once again went up. He went 10-15 with an ERA over 5. Following the season he was dealt to the Detroit Tigers.
His time there hasn't been any better, as Willis worked only 24 innings at the big league level a year ago. His ERA was an absurd 9.38 and he was even sent to single-A to try to regain his previous form.
He is currently on the DL, but the Tigers don't seem to be counting for any significant production from Willis again.
Nomar's time in beantown made him one of the most popular athlete's in the Major Leagues. His resume is among the best hitters in the team's long history.
The only players who have better career averages for the Red Sox are all enshrined in Cooperstown (Ted Williams, Wade Boggs, and Tris Speaker). His slugging percentage ranks ahead of sluggers Mo Vaughn and Jim Ed Rice.
Winning two batting-titles and going to five All-Star games during his tenure made sure there was a slew of No. 5 jerseys scattered throughout Fenway even after he was dealt to the Cubs.
Since that trade Garciaparra has watched as the Red Sox have won two World Series crowns without.
Individually he was able to make one more All-Star appearance but has not been able to capture the magic he with Boston written across his chest.
His career average has fallen from .323 to 313 and he hasn't been able to stick in one place for more than 298 games.
Garciaparra looked like a lock for the Hall of Fame when in Boston, and while he could still get there he'll likely have to reemerge as a full-time player after being relegated to a utility role in Oakland.
Just a couple of years back, Jones looked like he was heading for well over 600 home runs and a trip to Cooperstown on his first ballot.
How could he not be? Before his 30th birthday he had almost 350 homers, over 1,000 RBI and 9 Gold Gloves.
In the season in which he did reach 30 though, the wheels completely came off. He captured what looks to be his last Gold Glove award, but it's what happened to offensive abilities that sees him at the top this list.
He hit was at the time a career worst .222 in his final year wearing a Braves uniform. He also saw his HR total fall from 41 to 26.
Despite the poor performance in his walk-year, the Dodgers still felt like Jones was an elite talent and paid him as such. After hitting a microscopic .158 LA bought out the remainder of his contract. They ultimately ended up paying him 36 million for a half season's worth of one of the worst offensive years baseball has ever seen. His numbers paled in comparison to every position player in baseball, and even many pitchers.
After they cut him loose this winter, no team was willing to offer him anything more than a minor league contract and he ended up signing with the Rangers.
In just two years Jones status in the MLB faltered from a sure-fire Hall of Famer who was one of the best slugger and defenders the league has ever seen to someone who had to fight just to earn a roster spot (not even a starting role) for a team that will be one of the worst in the A.L. in 2009.