Every MLB Team's All-Style, No-Substance Player
There's an old saying about people:
All style and no substance.
That's when people have flair and ability, but lack the intangibles to take advantage of their talent.
Or, it can mean they're just crazy like Charlie Sheen.
The saying applies to baseball players too.
Here is a list of every team's all style and no substance players.
Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward
Heyward will probably get off this list soon since his play could very well be attributed to a sophomore slump.
However, all of his stats are down in 2011, and he received criticism from his teammates for not playing through his injuries.
Arizona Diamondbacks: J.J. Putz
Any time J.J. Putz has been out of the weak AL and NL West, he has shown why mediocrity can survive so easily on the West Coast.
He was once viewed as the best closer in baseball, but then injuries and an unsuccessful stint with the Mets ruined his career.
Baltimore Orioles: Nick Markakis
The whole world loves Nick Markakis, but let’s face it: The numbers haven’t backed up his reputation.
If Markakis could only produce the power numbers to go along with his hype, perhaps the Orioles could challenge for the AL East.
Boston Red Sawx: Cahl Craawfawd
It pains me to put one of my favorite players on this list, but the jump to Boston has severely hindered Carl Crawford’s career.
Maybe it’s Fenway or the adjustment to Boston—or maybe he just can’t handle the bright lights of Fenway.
I hope he gets off this list, but if Crawford doesn’t bounce back next year, he’s in big trouble.
Chicago Cubs: Carlos Zambrano
The poster boy for style with lack of substance.
On the surface, Zambrano seems like a great pitcher with good stuff and the ability to get anyone out when he’s right.
However, he’s really a nutcase who can’t throw strikes; that will be a recurring theme on this list.
In short, Zambrano's the Charlie Sheen on MLB.
Chicago White Sox: Alex Rios
Rios is an uber-talented player who had one great season.
Then he got a huge contract, failed to live up to expectations, went to the South Side and failed to live up to expectations.
He has the raw tools to dominate, but he strikes out entirely too much—the other recurring theme for this list.
Cincinnati Reds: Edinson Volquez
What was once viewed as one of the most mutually beneficial trades in baseball history is now becoming more and more one-sided.
Hard to believe Volquez was once swapped for Josh Hamilton. He just isn’t consistent enough to remain a staff ace, despite the fact many believe he is.
Volquez has the stuff, but something always lacks that keeps him from greatness.
Cleveland Indians: Ubaldo Jiminez
Jimenez was acquired for a king’s ransom.
The results so far?
Two mediocre starts and one great one.
That seems to be a microcosm of Jimenez’s career.
Sure, he had that magical first half last season, but it was with the help of the humidor and a poor NL West, where my aunt can keep the ball in most of the ballparks.
Welcome to the AL, Ubaldo.
Colorado Rockies: Dexter Fowler
Fowler makes the list for an all too familiar reason:
He is a supremely talented player who strikes out too much.
However, tools don’t equal greatness.
Detroit Tigers: Victor Martinez
Great hitter, doesn’t play defense.
While that works in the NBA, it doesn’t quite work for me in MLB.
Sure, there’s exceptions,—like Edgar Martinez—but they have to be that special.
Victor is a very good hitter, but not a GREAT one; seven home runs just doesn’t cut it.
Florida Marlins: Hanley Ramirez
Ramirez is an MVP-caliber player with all the talent in the world.
However, his concentration lacks at times, and he sometimes doesn’t hustle up to par. He’s been benched on numerous occasions over the course of his career for not hustling to first.
Just because Ramirez plays on a perennial loser doesn’t mean he gets the right to not hustle.
Houston Astros: Wandy Rodriguez
The Wandy line is treated like an ace and top-line starter.
When he hits the free agent market he’ll be paid like one.
Let’s face it though: Wandy’s a pitcher who lives at Minute Maid and dies on the road. Take him out of his element and he’s got nothing.
Kansas City Royals: Joakim Soria
I think the league may have figured Soria out.
He has good stuff, but his K rate is down, and his walks are up. Soria already has as many walks this season as he did last season—and he’s still got a month to play.
Anaheim/California/Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim): Mike Trumbo
Trumbo can hit the long ball, but that’s about it.
Chicks may dig the long ball, but getting on base and scoring runs wins games.
Trumbo does neither of that; he only has 69 RBI.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Chad Billingsley
Billingsley has all the stuff in the world, but he walks too many guys.
His ERA is 4.07, which—considering his stuff and the weak division he plays in—is horrendous.
Even his WHIP is a bloated 1.39.
The Dodgers would be wise to trade him this offseason while people still think he’s good.
Milwaukee Brewers: Francisco Rodriguez
K-Rod has been the poster boy for all style and no substance when it comes to pitchers.
He has great stuff, but no control. He’s boisterous and celebrates any time he strikes someone out.
Essentially, he fit in perfectly with the Omar Minyaya era of Mets baseball, which was all style, no substance.
Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano
The bane of many a fantasy owner, Liriano is a conundrum no one will ever figure out: Great stuff and can be great when he wants to be, but at other times he looks terrible.
We all dream he’ll pitch like his rookie year, but if you think about it, that’s all he’s done.
One great half of a year and a lot of mediocre-to-poor seasons.
New York Mets: Jose Reyes
There are so many players I could have put on this list at the beginning of the season, but fortunately, Sandy Alderson has traded most of them away.
Unfortunately, he managed to hold on to his biggest all style, no substance player, and the team’s biggest cancer: Jose Reyes.
Reyes is the embodiment of the aforementioned Minaya Era. He has supreme talent, but lapses in effort and makes mental mistakes.
Is there any surprise he saves his best season in years for his walk year?
He still acts like a kid despite the fact he’s been in the league almost 10 years. Reyes is Manny Ramirez 2.0.
New York Yankkes: A.J. Burnett
Oh, where to begin.
Let’s start with the word "Mercurial."
When people describe you as Mercurial, it’s a nice way of saying you're a headcase.
A.J. Burnett has never lived up to expectations despite having the best stuff in the American league. At worst, he taxes the bullpen and destroys his team’s chances of winning.
The only good thing he does is the whipped cream pie—and that act has worn old thanks to his terrible results.
Sad thing is, he’s still got two more years left on his deal.
The video shows what Yankee fans wish Burnett would do.
Oakland A's: Rich Harden
Harden’s another pitcher with great stuff, but unlike most of the pitchers on this list, his only problem is staying healthy.
Harden’s injuries give him lackluster results, but when he’s healthy, he’s dominant.
Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins
This could be mainly due to age or injury, but J-Roll is now all style and no substance.
All of his numbers are way down, and they show no sign of improving.
He’s a great guy, but it doesn’t override the truth. Rollins is simply living off his reputation as an MVP-caliber player.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Garrett Jones
Jones is another all-or-nothing slugger.
He has decent power numbers, but he strikes out a ton.
His OBP is also an abysmal .324, but on the bright side, Jones cut his K rate down while increasing his plate discipline.
San Diego Padres: Anthony Rizzo
There’s not much style out in San Diego these days, so Rizzo pretty much wins this one by default.
He’s got all the tools to succeed and mashed in Triple-A, but it didn’t translate to the majors.
Maybe he’s just not ready yet.
San Francisco Giants: Carlos Beltran
Beltran is yet another Minaya guy on the list.
He managed to cash in on a great postseason just before his walk year to get a huge contract and superstar status.
However, he’s played only above-average baseball the last few years and is having another typical great walk year.
Seattle Mariners: Chone Figgins
Figgins has been an absolute bust since signing with Seattle a couple years ago.
He has decent plate discipline, but its not good enough considering he’s hit about .200 as a Mariner.
Figgins has the physical tools and a ballpark built for his skill set, yet he may lack the intangibles to take advantage of them.
St. Louis Cardinals: Chris Carpenter
It’s tough to rag on a Cy Young winner, but consider this:
Carpenter gets hurt more often than Don Draper seduces women, and it costs the Cardinals precious games each year when contending for the division and pennant titles.
Perhaps Carpenter needs a new workout regiment.
Tampa Bay Rays: B.J. Upton
Perhaps the biggest talent of the last decade, Upton lacks the intangibles to become a great player.
He seems to be in trouble every year for not hustling, and his high K rate indicates he lacks the substance to become a superstar.
Teams will continue to give him a shot the next couple of years, but sooner or later, he needs to ship up or ship out.
Texas Rangers: Alexi Ogando
Superior stuff has allowed Ogando to emerge as a potential ace this season.
However, he has faltered against the better teams he’s faced, including the Yankees.
Patient teams make Ogando throw strikes, and that’s when he gets hammed. He could probably use a good breaking ball to go along with his great fastball to shake things up for hitters at the plate.
Toronto Blue Jays: Brandon Morrow
Morrow is another contender for most puzzling player on this list.
He has GREAT stuff and good control. Morrow strikes out a ton of guys, yet doesn’t get results.
In short, he’s the Zack Greinke of the American League.
What made Greinke break out was developing a changeup; perhaps that’s the substance Morrow needs to his style.
It’s not sexy, but deadly effective in the hands of a master like Greinke in 2009 and Cole Hamels this season.
Washington Nationals: Jayson Werth
Werth rounds out the list as a guy who strikes out a ton, but doesn’t do enough to make up for it.
Sure he hits home runs, but this slide makes me sound like a broken record.
Needless to say, Werth doesn’t deserve the giant deal he got during the offseason.