Every Team's Most Disappointing Player so Far This Season
The peaks and valleys of the MLB season keep fans hooked throughout the summer. So far in 2013, David Price, Ichiro Suzuki and reputable players on every team have been disappointing, and naturally, we're eager to see them bounce back.
Unfortunately, some of the following liabilities never will. In an era when performance-enhancing drugs are less prevalent, players decline quicker and more dramatically than they did earlier this century. Even relatively young guys could be irreversibly weakened in the aftermath of major injuries.
Only players who have been active during the 2013 regular season were considered a top disappointment or "dishonorable mention" on this list. It goes without saying that the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees miss Brandon Beachy and Derek Jeter, respectively.
*All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted; accurate entering games of May 20, 2013.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Miguel Montero
2013 stats: .180/.280/.259, 3 HR, 13 RBI in 164 PA
The past two seasons, Miguel Montero has blossomed into a very durable catcher with great offensive skills.
We aren't seeing any of the latter in 2013. His OPS is down nearly 300 points from the previous year's .829.
Montero's defensive reputation limits the number of attempted steals against him, but 11 of 13 baserunners (85 percent) to try this season have been successful.
Dishonorable mentions: Martin Prado and J.J. Putz
Atlanta Braves: B.J. Upton
2013 stats: .145/.237/.239, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB, 53 SO in 157 PA
The highest-paid free agent in Atlanta Braves history hasn't even been worth the league minimum based on his anemic production so far.
B.J. Upton does great work in center field, though that hardly justifies the team's choice to start him regularly.
The outfielder with a long history of providing power has only as many home runs as Brian McCann, who spent more than a month on the disabled list. Also, Upton's OPS is the lowest among National League qualifiers (via FanGraphs).
Dishonorable mention: Dan Uggla
Baltimore Orioles: Jason Hammel
2013 stats: 5-2, 5.72 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 36/20 SO/BB in 50.1 IP
The Baltimore Orioles have scored seven-plus runs in seven of Jason Hammel's nine starts, hence the great win-loss record.
In truth, he is grossly underachieving, particularly in May (10.43 ERA, 1.030 OPS against). His strikeout rate has plummeted since last season, and he hasn't made it through seven innings in any outing so far.
Though widely considered Baltimore's ace prior to 2013, Hammel is not intimidating any opponent.
Dishonorable mentions: Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts
Boston Red Sox: Joel Hanrahan
2013 stats: 0-1, 9.82 ERA, 2.18 WHIP, 5/6 SO/BB in 7.1 IP
The trade that brought Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox seemed a bit fishy at the time. Consider that departing reliever Mark Melancon finished 2012 in fiery fashion, while Hanrahan struggled to locate his pitches as the season progressed.
Nonetheless, Boston liked the idea of a "proven closer" to handle ninth-inning duties.
What we didn't know, however, was that this 31-year-old was damaged goods. Hanrahan threw only one clean inning for the Red Sox in nine tries before landing on the disabled list. He has since undergone season-ending surgeries to remove bone chips from his elbow and repair his ulnar collateral ligament and torn flexor tendon.
And by the way, he's making more than $7 million this season.
Dishonorable mentions: Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront
Chicago Cubs: Edwin Jackson
2013 stats: 1-6, 5.76 ERA, 1.52 WHIP in 50.0 IP
The Chicago Cubs revamped their pitching staff this past offseason with a handful of free-agent acquisitions. Of them all, Edwin Jackson was the only one to receive a lucrative, long-term deal (four years, $52 million).
He's providing less length than any other member of the Cubs starting rotation with an earned run average nearly two full runs higher than Carlos Villanueva's. Jackson has also been an offensive liability compared to the other Chicago pitchers.
Dishonorable mention: Scott Hairston
The Cubs thought Hairston would feast on left-handed pitching. He's instead batting only .105/.146/.368 against it.
Chicago White Sox: Jeff Keppinger
2013 stats: .197/.205/.218, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 15/2 SO/BB in 151 PA
Jeff Keppinger had recorded zero walks until this past week.
Despite a mini hot streak, his numbers are still abominable. His OPS is barely half of what it was last season for the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Chicago White Sox spent more money on Keppinger than any other free agent. Plus, they virtually guaranteed him a starting job by letting Kevin Youkilis leave.
Dishonorable mention: Gavin Floyd
Off to a frustrating start, Floyd learned that there was structural damage in his elbow and opted for season-ending Tommy John surgery. He went winless in five starts before the procedure.
Cincinnati Reds: Zack Cozart
2013 stats: .206/.233/.338, 0 SB, 5 GDP in 177 PA.
Zack Cozart is particularly struggling against right-handed pitching (.174/.203/.257).
Cincy casts him poorly as a No. 2 hitter.
Dishonorable mention: Ryan Ludwick
Coming off a summer of 55 extra-base hits, Ludwick didn't provide any before tearing his labrum. Immediate surgery was required, and the Reds don't expect him back until around the All-Star break, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
Cleveland Indians: Brett Myers
2013 stats: 0-3, 8.02 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 10 HR in 21.1 IP
The 2012 Cleveland Indians had a rotation with the most losses and highest WHIP in the American League.
For $7 million, Brett Myers was supposed to help. The Tribe looked forward to incorporating a veteran who was accustomed to eclipsing 190 innings.
He certainly won't get there in 2013. Myers took beatings in each of his first two outings, and following an April 19 loss to the lowly Houston Astros, elbow tendinitis forced him to the disabled list.
Dishonorable mention: Lonnie Chisenhall
Colorado Rockies: Jeff Francis
2013 stats: 2-3, 6.00 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 14 BB in 36.0 IP
The Colorado Rockies rotation is much improved overall, which has translated to a winning record.
Don't credit that to Jeff Francis. He bragged to Thomas Harding of MLB.com in February that he could be as effective as ever with diminished velocity. To his credit, the lefty is piling up strikeouts with ease.
But Francis hasn't posted such a mediocre WHIP since his rookie campaign, and four-and-a-half innings per start is unacceptable.
Dishonorable mention: Chris Nelson (traded)
Detroit Tigers: Victor Martinez
2013 stats: .209/.269/.297, 33 H, 2 HR, 21 K in 175 PA
April 2013 was arguably the least effective month Victor Martinez has ever endured in the majors. The designated hitter started all but one game and contributed only five extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
His production hasn't improved much since. Aside from the power outage, his strikeout rate is at its highest since the 2007 season.
There's little resemblance between this version of Victor Martinez and the one who terrorized the American League prior to suffering a torn ACL.
Dishonorable mentions: Alex Avila and Rick Porcello
Houston Astros: Brett Wallace
2013 stats: .042/.115/.042, 0 RBI, 17 SO in 26 PA
We paid attention to the Houston Astros when they cut ties with veterans Rick Ankiel and Philip Humber.
In reality, Brett Wallace was supposed to have more of an influence on their likelihood of competing. He left spring training with the opportunity to earn the everyday first baseman's job.
That gig didn't last long. Wallace struck out in 11 of his first 15 plate appearances and returned to the minors later in April.
Dishonorable mentions: Erik Bedard and Philip Humber
The Astros hoped that Bedard could be serviceable before inevitably going down with an injury. An average of 3.2 innings per start isn't quite what they had in mind.
Kansas City Royals: Mike Moustakas
2013 stats: .178/.252/.311, 4 HR, 10 RBI in 151 PA
If anything, Mike Moustakas was supposed to improve during his age-24 season. There's virtually no pressure on him from within the Kansas City Royals organization.
Even though the third baseman frequently puts balls in play, hardly any of them have found gaps in opposing defenses to this point. He owns a lower batting average than notoriously light-hitting teammate Chris Getz.
Dishonorable mention: Jeff Francoeur and Eric Hosmer
Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star had some fans hoping for a turnaround this spring with this in-depth look at how Frenchy planned to improve from a miserable 2012 campaign (.665 OPS).
Rather, the outfielder has gotten worse with a hideous strikeout-to-walk ratio and zero extra-base hits since May 5.
Los Angeles Angels: Joe Blanton
2013 stats: 0-7, 6.62 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, .369 BAA in 50.1 IP
In terms of both velocity and pitch selection, there's hardly any difference between today's hittable Joe Blanton and the earlier editions who had considerable major league success.
As expected, his strikeout rate is dropping upon a return to the American League.
However, the Los Angeles Angels can't excuse Blanton's general mediocrity. Just one-third of his performances have been quality starts.
Dishonorable mention: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver
Los Angeles Dodgers: Josh Beckett
2013 stats: 0-5, 5.19 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .289 BAA in 43.1 IP
Josh Beckett quietly did decent work for the Los Angeles Dodgers late in 2012 (2.93 ERA, 0.9 WAR in 7 GS).
But in the penultimate year of his contract, he is being undone by an unfortunate .336 BABIP and high line-drive percentage.
On a struggling club that sorely needs innings from its starters, Beckett won't contribute any until June—at the earliest—while recovering from a groin strain.
Dishonorable mention: Matt Kemp and Brandon League
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
2013 stats: .227/.341/.387, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 26 SO in 88 PA
The Miami Marlins really didn't have expectations for anybody else. Giancarlo Stanton was supposed to be one of the league's leading power hitters and the heart of their offense.
Instead, he began 2013 with the coldest three-week stretch of his young career. Stanton seldom put balls in play and didn't even hit his first home run until April 27.
He has missed the majority of Miami's games due to shoulder and hamstring injuries.
Dishonorable mention: Steve Cishek
After emerging as a solid closer last summer, Cishek is allowing far more baserunners. The right-hander's 4.91 earned run average could soon lead to lighter responsibilities.
Milwaukee Brewers: Wily Peralta
2013 stats: 3-4, 5.94 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 29 SO in 50.0 IP
Among the surplus of pitchers the Milwaukee Brewers groomed last summer in the high minors, Wily Peralta was thought to be the most MLB-ready. We got a taste of his great potential during several scoreless September outings.
Two things about Peralta's 2013 effort ought to concern the Brew Crew: his inefficient 16.4 pitches per inning and weak 5.2 SO/9.
Dishonorable mention: Rickie Weeks
Minnesota Twins: Aaron Hicks
2013 stats: .139/.237/.254, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 37 SO in 139 PA
Aaron Hicks looked like a superstar in spring training. After some deliberation, the Minnesota Twins decided he was major league-ready despite no experience at Triple-A.
He definitely possessed the defensive aptitude to start right away, but his other skills lagged behind. Hicks slumped brutally at the plate through the first two-plus weeks and has yet to truly get into groove. Among qualified American League hitters, only Jeff Keppinger has a lower OPS, and nobody else's batting average is as abysmal.
Despite all that, the Twins have started Hicks in center field for more than 80 percent of their games.
Dishonorable mention: Vance Worley
New York Mets: Jonathon Niese
2013 stats: 3-4, 5.40 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 24/24 SO/BB in 48.1 IP
As impressive as Matt Harvey was as a rookie, Jonathon Niese seemed like the most reliable rotation option for the New York Mets in 2013. He had been the clear No. 2 starter behind R.A. Dickey, logging more than 190 innings with improved command.
So far this season, however, the southpaw has the highest BB/9 and the most wild pitches thrown among New York's current rotation members. His hitting has also suffered compared to 2012 (batting line dropped from .218/.295/.218 to .154/.214/.154).
Dishonorable mentions: Ike Davis and Shaun Marcum
Though seemingly impossible, Davis looks more helpless than he did at the same point last year. Rumblings about a demotion for the 26-year-old franchise cornerstone are getting louder, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
New York Yankees: Ichiro Suzuki
2013 stats: .241/.281/.328, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 SB in 148 PA
Ichiro Suzuki re-signed with the New York Yankees at a discount this past winter.
He could have earned a couple extra million dollars from the Philadelphia Phillies or San Francisco Giants, according to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, but he chose to return to the setting where he was comfortable and successful in late 2012.
Unfortunately for the Bombers, Suzuki's decline has accelerated. His strikeout rate, line-drive percentage, stolen-base frequency and OPS are all lower than ever.
Even with Derek Jeter and several middle-of-the-order batters on the disabled list, the 39-year-old is most often slotted in the sixth or seventh spot of the lineup.
Dishonorable mention: Ivan Nova
The former contender for 2011 AL Rookie of the Year no longer deserves a spot in the starting rotation. Nova misses over the middle of the plate too often (23 H in 16.2 IP).
Oakland Athletics: Josh Reddick
2013 stats: .152/.266/.250, 1 HR, 14 RBI in 109 PA
First and foremost, Oakland Athletics fans were disappointed that Josh Reddick trimmed his bushy beard. How could he ditch such a bold look at the first sign of adversity?
His luck marginally changed for the better, but then wrist inflammation relegated him to the disabled list.
Prior to the injury, Reddick's isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) was less than half of what it had been in 2012.
Dishonorable mention: Jarrod Parker
Several A's pitchers endured heavy workloads to propel the team to October. For Parker, the ill effects have manifested themselves in the form of a bloated WHIP and general wildness.
Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay
2013 stats: 2-4, 8.65 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 9 HR in 34.1 IP
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com and plenty others had concerns about Roy Halladay during the preseason.
Mixed in with several vintage gems, free-agent-to-be Halladay mixed in four head-scratchers in which he failed to pitch past four innings. His velocity was mysteriously lacking throughout, as was his command (17 BB, 4 HBP).
Shoulder surgery has put the rest of the 2013 campaign in doubt.
Dishonorable mention: Ryan Howard and Ben Revere
Pittsburgh Pirates: Pedro Alvarez
2013 stats: .201/.253/.388, 8 HR, 21 RBI, 46/10 SO/BB in 146 PA
Traditional power numbers tell us Pedro Alvarez is replicating his breakout 2012 season, though common sense says otherwise.
His gruesome strikeout rate would be tolerable with better on-base skills. Alas, the third baseman's over-aggressiveness on first pitches routinely puts him in difficult counts.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have occasionally dropped Alvarez to the seventh spot in the lineup.
Dishonorable mention: James McDonald and Neil Walker
San Diego Padres: Clayton Richard
2013 stats: 0-4, 8.54 ERA, 2.05 WHIP, 13/17 SO/BB in 26.1 IP
Clayton Richard twice led the San Diego Padres in innings pitched (2010 and 2012).
Mending from an intestinal virus, the southpaw struck out eight batters on a rehab assignment with the Tucson Padres last week. That's nearly the same number of MLB opponents he whiffed through six games prior to being sidelined.
Dishonorable mention: Carlos Quentin
The highest-paid Padres player brought shame on himself by charging Zack Greinke after an unintentional plunking. It would be easier for people to look past that if he could stay above the Mendoza line.
San Francisco Giants: Ryan Vogelsong
2013 stats: 1-4, 8.06 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 11 HR in 41.1 IP
A team with more pitching in the high minors would have already replaced Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation. He barely gives the San Francisco Giants five innings per start.
Picking up his $6.5 million club option for 2014 seemed like a no-brainer a few months ago. The Giants aren't hurrying to do that so long as his struggles at AT&T Park continue.
Dishonorable mention: Matt Cain
The perennial All-Star is making everyone look like Yonder Alonso (.454 SLG against).
Seattle Mariners: Joe Saunders
2013 stats: 3-4, 5.64 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 22/20 SO/BB in 52.2 IP
Joe Saunders' earned run average is a full run higher than it has been in any previous full season.
The Seattle Mariners hoped he could be the reliable cushion between Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and a shaky back end. Rather, the veteran lefty is part of the problem.
Even by his own low standards, that strikeout rate stinks.
Dishonorable mention: Aaron Harang, Jesus Montero and Brendan Ryan
St. Louis Cardinals: Mitchell Boggs
2013 stats: 0-2, 12.66 ERA, 2.72 WHIP, 10/12 SO/BB in 10.2 IP
There was hardly any panic once the St. Louis Cardinals learned of Jason Motte's elbow issues. After all, Mitchell Boggs pitched practically as well during the 2012 regular season.
The Cards could only endure a month of his awfulness before demoting Boggs to Triple-A. Several times he failed to record an out, throwing more balls than strikes. The numbers really speak for themselves.
Dishonorable mention: Ty Wigginton
If Wigginton's contract wasn't guaranteed through 2014, he would have already been designated for assignment. He's useless as a pinch-hitter/defensive replacement.
Tampa Bay Rays: David Price
2013 stats: 1-4, 5.24 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .294 BAA in 55.0 IP
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was supposed to compensate for departing power hitters by continuing to progress toward his limitless ceiling.
The Tampa Bay Rays instead feel hesitant to start David Price for the foreseeable future. His fastball velocity wasn't nearly as high as it had been previously, so he couldn't get away with many location mistakes.
They moved him to the disabled list with a triceps strain, which threatens his streak of 30-start seasons.
Dishonorable mentions: Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney
Texas Rangers: Matt Harrison
2013 stats: 0-2, 8.44 ERA, 1.97 WHIP in 10.2 IP
Whether you look at win-loss record, run differential or ESPN.com's playoff likelihood, the Texas Rangers have emerged as Major League Baseball's best.
Their fiery start is truly extraordinary when noting the absence of Matt Harrison. The recently extended 27-year-old seldom missed a turn of the rotation the past two seasons.
He underwent back surgery after two uninspiring performances and has yet to embark on a rehab assignment.
Dishonorable mention: David Murphy
Toronto Blue Jays: Josh Johnson
2013 stats: 0-1, 6.86 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, .329 BAA in 19.2 IP
More so than the other veteran starting pitchers they dealt for, the Toronto Blue Jays trusted that Josh Johnson could thrive in the American League.
So much for that. Beyond his strikeout rate, there was absolutely nothing encouraging about Johnson's first four appearances. He then suffered the millionth arm injury of his career (triceps inflammation).
Dishonorable mentions: Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey and Brett Lawrie
Washington Nationals: Danny Espinosa
2013 stats: .163/.191/.296, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 38/3 SO/BB in 141 PA
The Washington Nationals didn't mind Danny Espinosa's high whiff rate in previous seasons. He still provided above-average power at second base and thrived defensively.
With a sub-.200 on-base percentage this year, it's impossible to justify starting him regularly.
Dishonorable mentions: Dan Haren and Tyler Moore
Moore's slugging percentage has halved since his rookie season.
The outfielder/first baseman struck out often in 2012, but it's just embarrassing at this point. Even against lefties, Moore seldom puts the ball in play.