This season has seen its share of disappointing performances. Sure, there have been a few pleasant surprises, Raul Ibanez’s name immediately comes to mind (No, not for steroids. Calm down Raul), but those successful 2009 campaigns have been significantly overshadowed by the struggles encountered by some of the game’s most elite. This is a list of the five most disappointing performances in my eyes from individual players. Keep in mind that this is not necessarily most heavily influenced from a statistical standpoint, there may be some other factors that come into play.
The five underachievers (ranked from least to most disappointing):
(5) Alfonso Soriano [.237 AVG, 64 SO, 6 SB]
Soriano is heavily relied upon by a Cubs team that is going through a rough patch of key injuries and underachieving performances, however he is failing to step up and lead his team. Soriano is striking out at an alarming rate for a guy who has a decade of experience in the big leagues and is getting paid $17 million this season alone. With 64 strikeouts through only 56 games, Alfonso strikes out an average of about once in every four at bats, or just over once a game. He makes the list at number five because it’s hard to put a guy any higher when he does have fourteen home runs already.
The Cubs have plenty of problems at this point in the season and find themselves at 29-29 after Friday’s 7-4 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins, their third straight defeat. Soriano desperately needs to start performing if the Cubs want to climb out of fourth place. He is on the list due to his reputation, salary, and importance to his team’s success.
(4) Daisuke Matsuzaka [1-4, 7.66 ERA]
Daisuke is on the list for several reasons. After a season that saw him go 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA, Matsuzaka followed that up by again winning the World Baseball Classic’s MVP Award again leading team Japan to a WBC Title. It looked as though he had it all figured out here in the United States after struggling in 2008 posting a 4.40 ERA and going 15-12. That’s the biggest disappointing aspect of Daisuke’s 2009 campaign to this point, the fact that he had shown nothing but improvement heading into the year. After a couple starts in 2009, Matsuzaka landed on the disabled list due to “arm fatigue.” This is extremely worrisome to the Sox given the fact that it happened so early in the year. Since his return from the DL, Dice-K has turned in only one decent start, winning his lone game of the year against the Detroit Tigers (1-3 since his return).
The Red Sox have won only one game out of the six games started by their highly paid Japanese acquisition. Daisuke has yet to go a full six innings in any start this season, and has allowed 44 hits and 13 walks in his 27 IP, leading to an inflated 2.11 WHIP. The only reason Dice-K doesn’t find himself higher on the list is due to the fact that he has never shown the ability to go deep into games during his MLB career and has always had to tip-toe around walks and hits, it was bound to catch up to him. Thankfully for Matsuzaka, the Red Sox have by far the most depth from a pitching standpoint in the league, so his struggles haven’t effected his team as much as the players who are listed higher. [Read more...]