Wednesday, May 13, 2009

MLB '09 So Far - The Ugly

Yesterday, we had the good. Today we skip the bad and go straight to the ugly.

C – Jason Kendall (Brewers)
Every year it amazes me that this guy still has a job. He hasn’t hit .250 since ’06 and is sporting a sorry .234 average and zero HR total so far in ’06. He’s not that good of a defensive catcher.
(Worth mentioning – Dioner Navarro (Rays) – Good thing he is a solid game caller because he’s hitting 27 points lower than he weighs and has an 18-1 strikeout to walk ratio.)

1B – Mark Teixeira (Yankees) & Lance Berkman (Astros)
It’s hard to decide between these two sorry sluggers, so they both get the honor. Teixeira is hitting a little closer to .200 (.198 vs. 184), and while they both have 7 homers, they’re huge $20 million and $14.5 million disappointments.

2B – Dan Uggla (Marlins)
This one isn’t too tough. A strong BA has never been his forte, so while his .189 is bad enough on its own, his 4 homers are well behind his usual 30. If it weren’t for the free swinging Ricky Weeks, Uggla would have the most strikeouts at the position too.
(Worth mentioning – Howie Kendrick (Angels) – He’s hitting homers, but his .245 BA and .272 OBP are far below his usual numbers. If he can finally play more than 92 games, maybe he turns it around.)

SS – Jimmy Rollins (Phillies)
What the hell happened to him? Rollins, behind his .195/.231/.268 split and meager 7 extra base hits and 9 RBI, is probably the most disappointing player in the game. It might help if he were at least stealing bases, but he’s only got one on the year. Great use of $8.5 million he’s been so far this year.
(Worth mentioning – Alexei Ramirez (White Sox) – He’s following up an impressive rookie campaign with a shoddy .198 BA and barely gets on base more than Rollins. With only one homer, he’s got quite a ways to go to top last year’s 21.)

3B – Adrian Beltre (Mariners)
It’s not right, but the Dodger in me takes a bit of delight in watching him struggle. Beltre’s an old 30 and his 11 years of big league experience might be catching up on him. He’s on pace for the lowest HR total and the sixth 100 strikeout season of his career.
(Worth mentioning – Kevin Kouzmanoff (Padres) – I wouldn’t care if the kid didn’t still have a ton of potential. Hitting .222 with only 1 homer and 8 RBI isn’t helping him realize it. This is a possible .325/25/100 hitter here.)

LF – Matt Holliday (A’s)
He hasn’t been quite the asset Billy Beane was hoping for. Holliday’s got quite a bit of improving to do if Beane’s going to be able to flip him for anything at the trade deadline. He could still come close to matching his power totals, even in spacious Coliseum, but his .226 BA is a full 100 points below what he’s used to. The dip in production was expected once he quit playing half his games at Coors Field, but I think the A’s expected a bit more for $13.5 million.
(Worth mentioning – Conor Jackson (Diamondbacks) & Carlos Guillen (Tigers) – Both are brutally bad. Guillen’s having the worst offensive year of his career, hitting .200 without a homer, and Jackson is hitting a full 31 points under his weight (.184) and has only one homer.)

CF – BJ Upton (Rays)
Ok, so maybe Jimmy Rollins hasn’t had the worst year so far. Upton is a guy expected to explode talent-wise any year now, but apparently ’09 ain’t the year. You know things aren’t going well when BJ Upton is hitting 18 points below his weight (.167). It’s hard to imagine the Rays making it too far if he doesn’t get on base more than 28% of the time and keeps striking out twice as many times as he gets a hit.
(Worth mentioning – Grady Sizemore (Indians) – Someone forgot to tell Grady that this was the year he was supposed to reach 40-40. Well, he’s nearly at 40 strikeouts and is on pace for a disgusting 186. A .227 BA and OBP barely over .300 isn’t going to help the Indians much.)

RF – Milton Bradley (Cubs)
Yeah, can’t say I regret that Bradley-Ethier trade. It was a steal when it went down, and now it’s just laughable. Doesn’t take any of the sting out of the DeShields-Pedro blunder, but that’s epic failure for another day. When Bradley’s not pissed off at the world and busy blaming everything on everyone else, he’s piling up a whopping .179/1/4 split. Yeah, that’s a .179 BA, 1 homer, and 4 RBI. I’m sure they couldn’t have found a minor league to do that at 10% the price right? What a wonderful use of $7 million. I very rarely wish ill will on anyone, but this is one guy I wouldn’t mind seeing a blimp fall on.
(Worth mentioning – Magglio Ordonez (Tigers) – I know he’s 35, but dude’s got only 3 extra base hits in 108 AB. His .241 BA is 70 points off his career average, and he’s on pace to strike out more than 100 times for the first time in his career.)

Starting Pitcher – Josh Beckett (Red Sox)
His recent performance against the Rays wasn’t great, but it did help his numbers. Beckett’s off to a 3-2 start with a 6.42 ERA and has struggled in each of his outings since his season debut against the Rays. Since then, he’s given up at least 3 earned runs a contest, hasn’t pitched more than 6 innings, and had three starts in a row where he surrendered 10 hits. Has he lost it? Is his arm tired?
(Worth mentioning – Gavin Floyd (White Sox) – He seemed to be getting it together last year with 17 wins, an ERA under 4, and a major career high of 145 K’s. This year, despite his 2 wins, he’s pitched 6 innings or less in five of seven starts, and has give up at least 6 runs in three of those starts. He’s not going to pitch any deeper in games if he keeps up giving hits and walks at this rate.)

Closer – Joel Hanrahan (Nationals)
Their whole bullpen has been garbage, but Hanrahan’s been especially sucky. He’s saved as many games as he’s blown (3) and has given up 9 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings.
(Worth mentioning – Brad Lidge (Phillies) – His ERA (8.53) is more than double his save total (4), and he’s given up a stunning 12 runs in 12 1/3 innings. Are we back to the “old” Brad Lidge again?)

That's a LOT of money going to waste. Can you field a poorer performing team?


  1. We agree on most, but I was going to post Donier Navarro over Jason Kendall only because I wanted to use the line 'Dave Navarro would hit better holding a 1954 Fender Stratocaster in his hands...'. I had Khalil Green too, since I always like to work in the man who heads up the 'white guys with the most African-American name' list.

    There sure are a lot of guys feeling the effects of the post-steroidal epoch. Can't they find anyone with HGF?

  2. Yeah, Khalil's never developed into the hitter I thought he'd be as a pro. He still displays his natural strength and has more pop than most middle infielders, but his pitch selection has been pretty poor for the most part. He had a pretty ugly '08, but if Rollins and Ramirez snap out of their funks, Khalil just might find his name on this list later on in the year.

    The whole PED thing is a big letdown. I'm sure there are problems in other sports, but this is unquestionably the #1 issue in baseball. And it's with the top talent too. Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod, Manny. Those are leaders of our era. I really hope baseball can clean up its image, but they've lost (and are still losing) a lot of fans in the process.