8 Young MLB Players Who Have Regressed the Most in 2013

Chris StephensCorrespondent IISeptember 4, 2013

8 Young MLB Players Who Have Regressed the Most in 2013

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    When you look at players like Matt Harvey and Mike Trout, you think of players who are the future of Major League Baseball.

    There are multiple other players who have performed just as well as those two, setting the bar even higher in 2013.

    However, there are certain young players who have faltered this year. And they've faltered beyond the point of explanation.

    Here's a look at eight young MLB players who have regressed the most in 2013.


    Note: Players used are 27 or younger.

Phil Hughes

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    While in his seventh year in the big leagues, New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes hits the age mark at 27.

    Last year, he went 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA and 165 strikeouts. This year, he's gone 4-13 with a 4.86 ERA and 114 strikeouts.

    In a contract year, that's not a good thing.

    Hughes has gone from a starter teams would have considered for a No. 3 or 4 role to one that will be fighting for the No. 5 spot next year.

Tommy Hanson

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    Tommy Hanson is another one of those guys who just fits the age requirement, as he's 27.

    Last year with the Braves, Hanson was 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA and 161 strikeouts. This year, while he's been injured at times, he's still struggled, with a record of 4-3 and a 5.59 ERA.

    Part of Hanson's struggles could be attributed to moving to the American League. However, when the Los Angeles Angels gave up Jordan Walden to get him, they never imagined he would struggle this much.

Scott Diamond

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    Scott Diamond looked good for the Minnesota Twins last year, going 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA. This year, however, he's gone 5-10 with a 5.52 ERA and was optioned to Triple-A more than a month ago.

    Diamond will get a chance to prove himself once again next year, but this year's regression is not something the Twins needed.

    When you look at his charts on FanGraphs, it's easy to see why Diamond struggled this year. His fastball lost almost 1 mph in velocity, which isn't good for a young pitcher. And when you look at his velocity charts, you see a higher range of velocity on his fastball.

    This year, Diamond averaged about 5 mph of range with his fastball. In 2012, his range stretched up to 8 mph in some games.

    The ability to throw his fastball at different speeds is what allowed him to be successful last year and is one reason why I think he's been unsuccessful this year.

Jeremy Hellickson

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    Coming into this year, Jeremy Hellickson had a career ERA of 3.06. However, he has an ERA of 5.21 this year, causing many people to scratch their heads.

    Hellickson was once thought to be the next great ace for the Tampa Bay Rays, but then guys like Matt Moore and Chris Archer passed him.

    I will say that only nine of his 27 starts have come against teams with losing records. In those games, he has an ERA of 4.35, which is not bad for the American League. In the other 18 starts, Hellickson has an ERA of 5.79.

    He's been unable to handle the best teams in the league, which is a big reason why he's regressed.

Will Middlebrooks

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    I had high hopes for this kid, but I'm not so sure anymore.

    Last year, Will Middlebrooks batted .288 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI in 75 games. This year, Red Sox fans were excited to have him return, but he disappointed. In 2013, he's batted .224 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI, prompting a demotion to Triple-A.

    Middlebrooks is looked at as the future at third base for the Red Sox, especially considering they traded away Jose Iglesias. But if he continues to struggle, the Red Sox may have to look elsewhere to fill the void from his bat.

Alcides Escobar

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    At 26 and in his fourth full season, Alcides Escobar should be lighting it up on the basepaths for the Kansas City Royals.

    However, he's failing to produce there because he's struggling at the plate as well.

    Last year, Escobar batted .293 with a .331 on-base percentage. Because of that (and his speed), he stole 35 bases. This year, Escobar is batting .236 with a .262 on-base percentage. That shows me he's not drawing any walks (18 to be exact) and thus has only 18 stolen bases.

    Escobar's biggest problem is he isn't getting on base. If he can fix that, he would be able to create havoc on the basepaths.

Jesus Montero

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    This one may be considered unfair since Jesus Montero was suspended as part of the Biogenesis scandal.

    However, even before that suspension, Montero was playing poorly, batting .208 with three home runs and nine RBI in 29 games. Last year, he batted .260 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI.

    While he wasn't in the running for AL Rookie of the Year last year, Montero still had a decent year. But 2013 only brought failures on and off the field.

    Montero has a lot to do to repair his image in both places. And with Mike Zunino currently entrenched at catcher, he'll have to work on becoming the full-time DH. If he doesn't, he'll be considered a major disappointment.

Josh Reddick

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    Josh Reddick finally got his chance to shine for the Oakland Athletics last year, batting .242 with 32 home runs and 85 RBI. While the average was low, 32 home runs will make any team forget about that.

    This year, Reddick not only has a low batting average (.213), but he's also only hit 10 home runs. That's not good for a 26-year old.

    He is currently on the disabled list with a wrist injury and has only played in 97 games this season. So that could have something to do with. Regardless, he's regressed this year.