Ranking the 10 Biggest Disappointments of the MLB Season
Every year, there are players that are ranked near the bottom of the barrel among all active players that make you wonder just how that happened, since they normally are very capable athletes.
For example, last year, that person was Carlos Lee. His batting average trailed off significantly from his usual .300, and he was dead last in WAR in the majors. He's rebounded a bit this year, but his performance last year was painful to watch, no question about that.
This year, there are many players who usually have solid seasons that for whatever reason are a shell of their former selves. At this point, the teams they play on can only hope they bounce back next year.
The following are the 10 biggest disappointments this season, ranked partially due to how bad they are and partially due to how good they were expected to be.
Dan Tylicki is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for the latest in baseball news and other banter.
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There are a couple players whose statlines look entirely fine, and the top 10 players would love to have them. However, they are usually shoo-ins for killer seasons, and they are not this year, so I'm listing them here to show I did not purposely forget them.
First is Albert Pujols. He is improving from a terribly slow start, but a .283 average is a career low for him, and he is on pace for career lows in many of his power numbers. Yes, he missed some time, but he's done it before.
For him and the Cardinals, finishing out of the top three in MVP voting and under a .300 average is a huge disappointment, even though anyone else would be find with that.
Another is Ichiro. A .269 average and 29 stolen bases is nice, but his previous career low was .303, and this will be the first season he doesn't break 200 hits. Perhaps the strain of being the only hitter in Seattle has become too much.
The only other guy there who hit last year, Franklin Gutierrez, gets a mention here as well for his average that's barely staying over .200 finally.
Jason Heyward has also been a disappointment in Atlanta. Everyone crowned him the next big thing after his rookie year, but this season shows he has some things to work on yet. He'll bounce back from the sophomore slump.
10. Carl Crawford
Since returning to the Boston Red Sox on July 18, Crawford has a .301 average, so he's finally about to work himself off this list after being very high on it to start the season.
When the Red Sox signed Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford this past season, it was done to make them two of the team's major contributors. Gonzalez has been so good that he's helped mask Crawford's issues this year in that regard.
Crawford has a .257 batting average, 13 stolen bases, and a 0.4 WAR this season, a far cry from last year. For the sabermetricians out there, he has a .300 BABIP, so he's lucky his stats are even as decent as they are.
9. Magglio Ordonez
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Ordonez is in a similar situation as Crawford. He had a horrendous start, and since then he's been okay, hitting .271 since missing a month.
That being said, he's only hitting .230 on the year. His previous career low was .282, so this is new territory for him. Beyond that, his power is nearly gone, and he has an awful WAR of -1.6.
Like Justin Morneau (who I considered for similar reasons), a bad injury last year combined with injuries this year has caused problems. In Ordonez's case though, it looks like a sign that the 37-year-old is done in the league.
8. Fausto Carmona/Francisco Liriano
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I've put both Carmona and Liriano in the same block because their stories of disappointment are identical.
I'm at the point with Fausto Carmona where I just cross off the games that he pitches at a loss. After a very good 2010, it seemed like he had his mojo back and would help lead the Indians to a great 2011. Liriano, likewise, had a comeback year in 2010 and looked ready to go for the Twins in 2011.
The Indians have had a good year, but it's no thanks to Carmona. His ERA of 5.19 is good for dead last in the AL among everyday starters, his strikeout count is back down, and it's looking like he'll never get back to his 2007 form.
Liriano's ERA of 5.00 and a league-leading 66 walks have not helped the Twins at all either, and one has to wonder if he'll get back to his amazing 2006 form.
7. Aubrey Huff
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Depending on the stats you use, Huff's season has either been terrible or just disappointing after having a great run for the World Champion San Francisco Giants last year.
Huff's WAR of -1.4 is near the bottom of the league, but his stats show a batting average of .249, 11 home runs, and 51 RBI. Not great numbers, but not horrendous either. Still, I'm sure the Giants would love to have the bat they saw last year, since they're near the bottom in most offensive categories.
6. Ryan Franklin
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For many years, Ryan Franklin had been a very dependable pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was heading into his fourth year of closing duties, and no one expected much of an issue.
What the Cardinals got, however, was a massive headache. In 21 appearances, he allowed 26 earned runs for an ERA of 8.46. He allowed almost as many earned runs in 27.2 innings pitched this year than he did in 2008, when he pitched nearly 80.
He was not only a disappointment, but painful to watch. At 38, I can't see anyone trying him out after how this year went, meaning his career is now over.
5. Hanley Ramirez
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Hanley Ramirez had never been a great fielder, but the Florida Marlins have always been able to count on his bat. This year, he seems to have completely disappeared.
His power numbers are down (10 HR, 45 RBI), and his .243 batting average is easily the worst of his career. He already has 14 errors at shortstop, and his defense seems even worse than it's been.
He is now on the disabled list, which is all well and good since it seemed to help Crawford break out of his big slump.
4. Evan Longoria
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The Tampa Bay Rays sent off many players in the offseason, but still had their core of Longoria, David Price, and others. Price has been doing just okay, and Longoria seems to be a shell of his former self.
A .229 batting average and 62 RBI is a far cry from the numbers he was originally putting up. Oddly enough, his WAR is actually very good at 3.1. Why is he a disappointment then?
With others such as Crawford gone, Longoria had to lead this team and become a true star, which seemed like a given in March. Instead, Zobrist seems to be the top hitter right now as Longoria's regressed somewhat.
3. Vernon Wells
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The Toronto Blue Jays were finally able to load off Vernon Wells' contract to the Angels this offseason, and it looked like they would get a decent power hitter while Toronto would be rid of the contract.
Instead, Toronto's relaxing with Jose Bautista while Wells suddenly can't hit again. The 16 home runs are okay, but a batting average of .210 is bad, and an OBP of .243 is just abysmal. Even a certain person appearing later in this list has a better OBP than that.
Oddly enough, Wells is yet another player on this list who missed almost exactly a month to injury. Unlike the others though, he's gotten no better since his return, and the move the Angels made looks really stupid now.
2. Jayson Werth
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Am I surprised that Werth has regressed this year? Not at all; pretty much everyone felt he was overpaid after coming out of nowhere for Philadelphia. Now that his money is in hand, he has fallen apart.
That being said, he is still a disappointment to Nationals fans. A .224 average, 13 HR, and 43 RBI is nothing to write home about. At least his strikeout count is still well over 100 as usual again, right?
When Laynce Nix looks good in comparison on the other side of the outfield, that's a problem, and a major disappointment.
1. Adam Dunn
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Who else were you expecting? A .165 average, 11 home runs, 40 RBI, and 59 walks for a guy who's usually a near-guarantee for 40 HR, 100 RBI, and 100 BB is not only disappointing to the White Sox and MLB fans, it's laughable.
When Omar Vizquel would currently make a better DH than you, well... I think that says it all. All Chicago can do is hope that this is a one-year anomaly.