Will Ferrell’s Land of the Lost, bank stocks and Mother Nature have not been the only flops this summer.
Fantasy baseball has had its fair share of flops. I cannot remember a recent year where more big-name players were big-time busts. Every fantasy team in the world must have at least one or two superstars that have been ultra-failures this season.
Here are the top 10 biggest fantasy flops in baseball in 2009:
Russell Martin, Dodgers:
If you take Joe Mauer and his ridiculous numbers (.407 avg., 14 homers, 47 RBI) out of the equation, 2009 has been one lousy offensive year for catchers, and Martin has been arguably the lousiest.
While Martin leads all backstops with seven stolen bases, his one homer and 21 RBI in 62 games makes you wonder if he has stopped taking batting practice to concentrate on his defense or something.
You would think his runs (27) and batting average (.248) are sure to improve because eventually he should climb out of this funk, plus Manny Ramirez will return from suspension, but catchers normally wear down during the sweltering summer months, so Martin might be in for a Jim Sundberg-like season.
David Ortiz, Red Sox:
Big Papi’s bat has looked pooped all season long. He has had two good weeks—and about nine bad ones.
Ortiz has a half-dozen homers and 30 RBI to go along with .213 batting average, and everything from Ramirez not being around to poor eyesight to Father Time has been blamed on his falling production. Ortiz has hit half of his homers over his past 10 games, though, so maybe we should not size up a coffin for his fantasy worth just yet.
Francisco Liriano, Twins:
Pitchers normally need a full year to fully recover from Tommy John surgery. Looks like Liriano might need three. Minnesota’s "ace" is now arguably its fifth-best starter, with Liriano battling inconsistent velocity and accuracy issues all season long. He is 2-8 with a 5.91 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.
Two positives—68 strikeouts 77.2 innings, and a 3.79 ERA in June that could be foreshadowing better things to come.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox:
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox:
Example No. 245 that the World Baseball Classic is no good for pitchers and their arms. Dice-K has been pitching like he is as washed-up as Andrew "Dice" Clay since pitching for Japan in the WBC.
He is 1-5 with and 8.23 ERA and two trips on the disabled list, and there is no telling when he might return to the Red Sox rotation, especially if 100-year old John Smoltz drinks from Tim Wakefield’s fountain of youth and pitches solidly.
Geovany Soto, Cubs:
Talk about a fall from fantasy grace. Soto has gone from NL Rookie of the Year to having less fantasy value than Miguel Olivo. Soto has had a sore shoulder that has sapped his power (five HR) and zapped his bat speed (.225 avg.).
It is doubtful this kid is a one-year wonder and about to pull a Joe Charboneau on all of us, though. Look for him to rebound once his shoulder is close to 100 percent.
Magglio Ordonez, Tigers:
Fantasy owners might be better off with Rey Ordonez. Things have gotten so bad for Ordonez—two homers and 22 RBI on the season, including no homers in last seven weeks —that he has been benched indefinitely.
Agent Scott Boras claims it is because of a huge contract option that depends on plate appearances. Nope, it’s just because Ordonez is terrible.
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees:
A steroid soap opera, an unflattering biography and preseason hip surgery have combined to triple-team A-Rod’s fantasy worth and throw it off a steel cage and through three tables stacked on top of one another.
Rodriguez’s batting average has plummeted to .213 thanks to a stretch where he went 4-for-31 and earned himself a couple days off to recover from "fatigue." The next time I mow the lawn crookedly I will have to use the "fatigue" excuse to get a neighbor to do it for me.
And now it sounds like A-Rod will get one day off a week for the near future, so fantasy owners who drafted him because he plays every day must be doing cartwheels on top of hot coals. Kate Hudson will probably be happy about the arrangement, however.
Grady Sizemore, Indians:
Grady Sizemore, Indians:
The American League’s only 30-HR/30-SB man in 2008 looks like he will be a part of a different 30-30 club in 2009—the 30 days on the DL/30 times worse than last year club.
Sizemore got out of the gate slow and never got going, hampered by shoulder problems just like Soto has. Sizemore is scheduled to come off the disabled list shortly, but do not be shocked if he and his .223 average get shut down again if he still isn’t healthy and Cleveland continues to drown in the AL Central cellar.
Matt Holliday, Athletics:
Maybe that Coors Field is a bigger help than we thought, huh? Either that or American League pitching is 10 times better than National League pitching. How else can you explain Holliday’s dramatic drop?
Holliday is on pace for 18 homers, 85 RBI and a .270 batting average for Oakland after averaging 32 homers, 113 RBI and a .329 average in his last three years for Colorado.
Brad Lidge, Phillies:
Lidge had nowhere to go but down after a 2008 campaign where he did not blow a single save opportunity and was a World Series hero. And down he has gone. Way down.
Ignore Lidge’s 13 saves and strikeout per inning ratio. Focus on his six blown saves, 7.27 ERA and 1.81 WHIP. Knee soreness seems to have his mechanics all out of whack, and Lidge is infamous for his lack of confidence and control (remember 2006 in Houston?).
It will be interesting to see how Lidge fares when he comes back from the DL for a second chance at straightening himself out.
So who’s No. 1? If this was a March Madness bracket, we would be looking at a lot of eight vs. nine games, lemme tell you. I leave it up to you guys to rank them in order of horribleness.
Honorable mentions, anybody? I could list 1,000 names, but Toronto’s B.J. Ryan (two saves), Los Angeles’ John Lackey (two wins, 5.83 ERA), the aforementioned Manny Ramirez (50-game suspension) and Alfonso Soriano (.224 average) come to mind the most.
And this does not count usual stalwarts like New York’s Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado, Arizona’s Brandon Webb and countless others who have had their seasons ruined by injuries.