We've spent months poking chads as we've sat and watched our teams struggle to stay above .500. It seems so few teams have really stood out this year, especially in the NL, where the Cubs appear to be the only team that knows how to win both on the road and inside the "Friendly Confines."
As the Midsummer Classic comes upon us, I have compiled my own list of the most disappointing players at each position for each league.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the National League All-Burnout class of 2008.
C, Michael Barrett—San Diego Padres
After a knockdown, drag-out rumble with his former team (the Cubs), Barrett was traded away to San Diego. The prospect of catching for Greg Maddux, Jake Peavy, and Chris Young should have been enough for this career .264-hitter to step-up his game a notch. Instead, he has been benched in favor of a rookie. Riding the pine with him will be his .202 batting average.
1B, Scott Hatteberg—Cincinnati Reds
While Hatteberg's failures have been troubling for the Reds, his replacement, Joey Votto, has been a breath of fresh air. In 2007, Hatteberg hit .310 as a starter, but in 2008, he only managed nine hits. Just NINE.
2B, Freddy Sanchez—Pittsburgh Pirates
The former NL Batting Champion has been nothing but struggles for the Pirates this year. Unlike most of the other players on this list, Sanchez is the Pirates' only real option at second, which means they are stuck with his terrible .255 OBP in their lineup.
3B, Nomar Garciaparra—Los Angeles Dodgers
I know he's starting at shortstop right now, but Joe Torre was counting on having Nomar man the hot corner this year until he went down in the spring.
That gave rise to Andy LaRoche, who also went down, and then Blake DeWitt. DeWitt has been great for a rookie who was playing AA-ball last year. The disappointment comes in that Nomar has only played 14 games this year.
The Dodgers have desperately needed him in the lineup, and have been playing better since his return.
SS, Troy Tulowitzki—Colorado Rockies
The Rockies' golden boy could do no wrong in 2007, but has done NOTHING in 2008. He recently returned to the DL after a short stint back with the club due to a cut on his right hand. Tulo is hitting a measly .166 with only three home runs.
LF, Eric Byrnes—Arizona Diamondbacks
If you ask any D-backs fan what the biggest disappointment of the year has been, they would tell you that Byrnes is No. 1 on their list. Bothered by sore hamstrings all year, Byrnes was finally forced onto the DL to rest his injury (and save the D-backs from watching him hit sky-high popups to the catcher).
After a quick three games in Boston, Byrnes returned home to Chase Field with a double. He promptly re-aggravated his injury trying to steal third. Byrnes is out for the year, and the D-backs are forced to eat the first $10 million of his huge contract.
CF, Andruw Jones—Los Angeles Dodgers
There were plenty of people who knew how this show would turn out, but Ned Colletti didn't want to hear it. The Dodgers gave a hippo a uniform and told him to roam center field. That hippo has struck out twice as many times as he has gotten a hit. His stint on the DL was the best thing possible for the Dodgers.
RF, Justin Upton—Arizona Diamondbacks
I was tempted to put Kosuke Fukudome on here. Not because he has played poorly (quite the contrary, he's hitting well above average and deserves an All-Star nod), but because he was hyped like a late-night infomercial to all of the high heavens.
I fully expected him to come over and make everyone forget whom Ichiro is. That being said, I went with the only player who has more hype than Fukudome.
Upton has been heralded as the best five-tool player in the [insert league here]. The reality is that Upton only knows how to hit for power and has a great deal of trouble doing that. His skills in right field are akin to a Little Leaguer.
He has no understanding of a cut-off man, and fails to ever sacrifice himself for the greater good of the team.
SP, Barry Zito—San Francisco Giants
Sure, he was bad last year. A fair number of people (Giants included) thought that he would have moved on by 2008. After a terribly disgusting start to the season, the Giants moved him to the 'pen. That move seemed to have kick-started him a bit, and he's managed four wins since then. Of course, he's already lost 12.
RP, Chad Cordero—Washington Nationals
The guy was fifth in the NL in saves in 2007, even though he played for the Nationals. Unfortunately, he has a tear in his labrum and will miss the entire year after only appearing in six games.
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