The regular season is in the books for 28 of the 30 MLB teams, and we can now reflect on the season heading into the playoffs. As always when it comes to the end of the year, when looking back, we can identify which players performed above, below, and right around our expectation. But it's never fun to be positive and reflect on the good things, now is it?
So without any further ado, here's the 2013 All-Disappointment Team, featuring a player at every position that vastly under performed compared to our expectations and/or their salaries.. I tried to take long injury stints out of the equation, so you're not going to see guys like Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, and Matt Kemp on this list, even though all three were quite disappointing. Also, remember that disappointment has to come from a player that you actually expected to be good. If a player wasn't great last year, and he wasn't great this year...how exactly is he a disappointment? Anyway, onto the team.
Catcher: Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks. I expected the world from Montero in 2013, and uh...he really didn't deliver. After back to back four win seasons, Montero's five year, $60 million contract extension began starting with the 2013 season, and he didn't live up to Arizona's expectations at all, hitting just .230/.318/.344 with only 11 homers, his lowest total since 2010 when he hit nine (in only 331 plate appearances). Montero was the biggest disappointment on a Diamondbacks team that couldn't pull away from the pack in the first half when the Dodgers struggled.
First Base: Paul Konerko, White Sox. You know, I didn't expect Konerko to have an All-Star caliber season in 2013. I also didn't expect him to hit .244/.313/.355 and hit just 12 homers, his lowest total since his rookie season of 1998. The 37-year old was one of the worst every day players in baseball in 2013, and is considering retirement after the season he had. When you're an older player, sometimes when it goes, it just *goes*. Konerko was so bad that Adam Dunn played nearly as many innings at first base for the White Sox as him, and Dunn is an absolute disaster with the leather.
Second Base: Dan Uggla, Braves. I didn't want to give Uggla the nod here. There were a lot of second basemen that had awful seasons in 2013, with Rickie Weeks, Darwin Barney, and Jose Altuve joining Uggla on the struggle bus. But man, Uggla was really just...not good this season. He hit .179/.309/.362 with 22 homers. Uggla had never hit fewer than 27 homers in a season going into last year, and now he's done just that in consecutive seasons. Uggla, always one to swing and miss, also struck out 171 times, tying his career high. Perhaps the most telling stat about Uggla was just total of just ten doubles, though. Even when he struggled last year, he still banged out the two-baggers. This year? Nothing.
Shortstop: Starlin Castro, Cubs. Holy crap, this one was a shocker. Castro was supposed to be a building block for the Cubs going forth, and he went backwards across the board in 2013. The 23-year old Cubs shortstop hit a pathetic .245/.284/.347 this year while stealing just nine bases. His walk rate decreased, his strikeout rate increased, and Castro seemed like a random fill-in for much of the year rather than a guy that was poised as a franchise cornerstone.
Third Base: David Freese, Cardinals. Freese became a Cardinals legend after his heroics in the 2011 Postseason. He received his first extended playing time in 2012 and impressed. But in 2013, things fell apart for Freese as he hit .262/.340/.381. Don't get me wrong - it's not necessarily a bad line, but Freese is 30, and his power probably isn't going to suddenly return. Going from 20 homers to nine in nearly the same amount of playing time isn't a good sign for his future.
Left Field: Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays. The rose is off the Melky bloom. He had a great year in 2011, and an even better year in 2012 that was marred by a 50-game PED suspension. The Cabrera that the Blue Jays got in 2013 was more the Braves version, who hit .255/.317/.354 in his one year in Atlanta, than the borderline superstar Cabrera that played in Kansas City and San Francisco. For the season, Melky hit .279/.332/.360 with just three homers, two stolen bases, and disastrous defense in left. What a bargain for $8 million!
Center Field: BJ Upton, Braves. You could make the argument that the Braves would have been better off taking $15 million and lighting it on fire instead of paying it to Upton. The elder Upton was a disappointment in every sense of the word in 2013, hitting a pathetic .184/.268/.289 this year with nine homers and 12 stolen bases and a strikeout rate north of 33%. With Jason Heyward getting reps in center field over the second half of 2013 for the Braves, Upton's future in Atlanta is cloudier than any expected.
Right Field: Nick Markakis, Orioles. Markakis was being positioned as a franchise cornerstone in Baltimore, but he's never really developed into the superstar the club thought when they gave him a six-year contract extension prior to the 2009 season. But while Markakis has struggled at times in the first four years of that deal, year five was a mess. Markakis hit .271/.329/.356, homered a career low ten times, and also posted the lowest doubles output of his career. Considering the only two times Markakis hit under 30 doubles in a season, he also didn't record 500 plate appearances, his 24 doubles in 700 plate appearances is not a good sign at all.
Starting Pitcher: Joe Blanton, Angels. What a disaster. Blanton finished 2-14 in 2013, posted a career-worst 6.04 ERA, somehow managed to allow 180 hits in 132 2/3 innings, and struck out just a few more batters (108) than runs allowed (96). And good news, Angels fans: he's signed for $7.5 million next year, too!
Relief Pitcher: Brandon League, Dodgers. From the moment the Dodgers signed League to a three year, $22.5 million contract prior this offseason, we called it a mistake. League rewarded the Dodgers for overpaying him by posting a 5.30 ERA in 54 1/3 innings, saving 14 games while blowing five, striking out just 4.64 batters per nine innings, and losing his closer's job before the first day of summer to the much more deserving and qualified Kenley Jansen. If only people had seen this coming before the season...
|Like TOC on Facebook||Follow TOC on Twitter|
How about doing some research before posting this article? You know that Melky had a tumor removed from his spine and spent a ton of time on the DL, right?
"Disappointment" infers expectations - on Opening Day, there's a certain level of productivity expected from players. Taking out injuries (guys like Brandon Morrow, Roy Halladay, Matt Kemp, etc.) or natural decline due to age (Jimmy Rollins), I'd say true disappointments were:
P - CC Sabathia ... if you said on Opening Day that the Yankees would be battling for a final wild card spot, you'd think CC would be in thick of things. But 14-13 record, 4.78 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 85 ERA+ ... pretty horrendous for his standard.
1B - Pujols ... this was supposed to be the bounce back year. He was supposed to be more "comfortable" and "relaxed" after a sub-standard 2012. He was injured but he was bad.
Other first basemen had horrible years: Adam Laroche - was the anchor of the 2012 Nats, this year he as the torpedo. Went from 33-100-.271-.853 OPS to 20-62-.237-.735. Ike Davis - started poorly in 2012 but had a strong second half (20-41-.255-.888 OPS) so many felt he could continue his progress in 2013. Again, was expected to be a mainstay in the middle of the line-up. This year: 9-33-.205-.661, 101 Ks in 317 at-bats. Demoted to minors. Horrible.
3B - Chase Headley - went from finishing 5th in the 2012 NL MVP voting (33-115-.286-.875 OPS) to 13-50-.250-.747 OPS. He flat-out sucked.
OF - Pretty much the entire Braves outfield. Sure the Braves cruised to the NL East title but the Upton Bros. and Heyward definitely underachieved. Recall they were tabbed the best "OF in baseball" during Spring Training with all three in or heading into their prime. Heyward did get injured but his production was below mediocre pre-DL. BJ Upton had a historically bad year (9-26-.184-.557).
Most disappointing: Josh Hamilton. 21-79-.250-.739 after signing monster deal. Again, Angels were expected to contend for the AL West crown and Hamilton/Pujols were supposed to be Ruth/Gehrig. Not even close.
Think you confused "Disappointment" std with "Question (?) Players," Joe. Uggla, Konerko, M. Cabrera, all passing prime and most the rest pretty unproven. Freese, Castro & BJ Upton, I'll give you.
Missing here: Josh Hamilton (73R / 79 RBI / .250 in 151G): Adam Dunn (.219 / 86 RBI (400+ SO in 2-yrs)) and RA Dickey (14-13 / 4.21). And even with "long injury" exemption (Jose Reyes), I'd have found a way to squeeze "Albert Pujols onto this list of "disappointments," on-going.
And don't forget the managerial "disappointments." Maybe that's a whole 'nother piece.
@MisterMJ BJ Upton wasn't good at all, which is why he was a slam dunk for this list. Ike Davis had a horrendous first half, but was a MONSTER in the second half before straining his oblique. LaRoche wasn't good at all, but look at his last few years - it's looking like 2012 was the outlier, dude was never a masher worthy of $10M+ per year.
Ok I agree with most everything u said, but headley played wih a torn meniscus in his knee all year. Check the facts before bashing shttp://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/news/article/sd/padres-chase-headley-to-undergo-left-knee-surgery-tuesday?ymd=20130928&content_id=62102298&vkey=news_sd
@StevenKeys Uggla's 33. Cabrera didn't turn 29 until August. Don't think either is really completely over the hill quite yet. Konerko I'll give you as a guy who is past his prime, but he played well last year. It wasn't a gradual decline like we've seen from Helton, that's for sure.
Hamilton's year was rough, don't get me wrong. But he *did* get a hell of a lot better in the second half. Dunn was horrendously bad in 2011, so a 34 homer season to me isn't that awful. I think Reyes played really well, but missed a 70 game chunk...and it wasn't with one of his usual garbage "wear and tear" injuries, it was a freak incident.
@LeFache Worst year of his career, no doubt. But dude still threw 211 innings and had a lower ERA than Phil Hughes. You could do worse.