Each MLB Team's Biggest Disappointment (so far)
This week, I will be taking a look at each team’s early MLB season individual disappointments. It’s not all doom and gloom though; I will also look at what is ahead for these failures, and if it is possible for them to regain respectable status. And hey, just for the heck of it, I’m going to attempt to scale these lackadaisical loafers from 5 (why are you even in the MLB?) to 1 (nothing to be worried about).
5: What are you doing with your professional life?
David Price---Price is here simply because he has a $210 million contract. Anything less than excellent performance deserves to be ridiculed. He certainly has talent, but I think the big market is screwing with him-he might need to get out of Boston.
Chris Tillman---Listen, the dude’s ERA over his past 118 innings (last year and this year) is over eight. Ouch. There’s really no recovering from that.
Matt Harvey---It seems to me many fans believe Harvey went from Dark Knight to Dark Light over a very abrupt and recent period, but such is not the case. Harvey’s ERA has been at six or higher for the past three seasons, and it’s only going up. He’s going to be leaving the Mets now, but I have a feeling that if those pitching coaches couldn’t fix him then no one can.
4: You’d better turn it around sonny
Daniel Norris---He was once a coveted pitching prospect for the Blue Jays. Then he was a coveted pitching prospect for the Tigers. Now he’s a pitcher with a career 4.45 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. He has failed to become what everyone has hoped for, and he’ll find himself out of a rotation spot if he continues to disappoint with lackluster performances.
Adam Engel---You probably don’t even know who this kid is, and you probably won’t ever if he continues to play like he is. His slugging percentage-not his batting average-is just over .200. He makes questionable plays in centerfield, and he is so feeble at the plate that most pitchers don’t even notice he’s there. With top outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez on the rise in the Minors, Engel may not be long for this world.
Billy Hamilton---Listen, I love this little guy, but if he can’t hit the ball out of the infield I just don’t see why he belongs. The Reds have waited for so long to have Hamilton develop, going off the notion “you can’t teach speed.” Well, apparently the Reds can’t teach skills either. Hamilton has been getting less playing time, and I don’t think he’s going to be part of the Reds’ new young core
Ian Desmond---Remember this guy? He was always a great hitter, and his transition from shortstop to outfield late in his career was great. Then the Rockies signed him to play first base, and it’s been all downhill since. His defense (one of his best assets before) has been reduced to average at best, and his hitting has seen a dramatically sharp decline in quality and quantity. As he gets older and his contract expires, he needs to find a way to stay relevant and have another team take another shot on him.
3: Watch yourself…
Ken Giles---No doubt the Astros love him as their closer, but after a shaky postseason and now an uneven start to this season, Giles has put a lot of stress on his manager A.J Hinch. We all know Hinch is comfortable going to closer-by-committee, so Giles needs to get back on track, which he no doubt can with a 97 mph fastball and devastating slider.
Rougned Odor---He’s a pretty talented second baseman with great power, but his last season raised some eyebrows. Now, his performance more closely resembles that disappointing season than his promising start to his career. He has the tools to succeed, but ever since he punched Jose Bautista it’s been bad for both of them (though Bautista did double in his debut at third for the Braves last night). It might be another long season with the way the Rangers are headed, but Odor should bounce back soon.
Logan Forsythe---Despite a slow start to his career, Forsythe developed into a super-utility guy after leaving San Diego and heading to Tampa Bay. The Dodgers picked him up as infield insurance and he got his share of playing time, but his bat must’ve sensed it was back in the NL West because it has refused to produce since he landed in SoCal. The Dodgers like him enough to give him playing time, and with all the injuries they’ve had he’s in a prime position. Can he capitalize on it? While he does have a solid glove, I don’t think his bat will ever be quite what they expected, making him just another Kike Hernandez for Los Angeles.
2: Just get back to the basics
Giancarlo Stanton---He hit a trillion home runs last year. Maybe he only hits a billion this year, but either way having him in your lineup is always a plus.
Marcus Stroman---We all know Stroman is a great pitcher, but he struggled at times last season and now sports a mid-seven ERA. His peripherals suggest he’s been better than what we’ve seen the past few seasons, and his stuff is outstanding. Expect him to rule the North for a while.
Danny Duffy---Same case as Stroman really, except he was a little better last year (in my mind). He’s on a horrible team, but he should be a bright spot.
Logan Morrison---He was pretty mediocre throughout his career, then he exploded last year in Tampa. The Twins scooped him up in what I considered to be a pretty good move, but he has failed to produce so far. No worries though-the guy has great power, an okay approach, and a short porch in right. Grip it and rip it LoMo.
Andrew Heaney---The Angels are waiting on Heaney to become their No.1 lefty, but he hasn’t quite reached that peak yet. However, he has been solid over his first few years, so this season (in which he has a 5.31 ERA) is probably just a bump in the road on his way to solid middle-of the rotation-guy.
Ben Gamel---Hard to pin down this guy just yet, simply because he’s only played one season. However, his rookie season was everything the Mariners could’ve hoped for while this season is the opposite. His playing time was being sucked up by Ichiro, and now Guillermo Heredia has slide into left field ahead of Gamel. We know he can hit, he just has to “get back to the basics.”
Kendall Graveman---Part of that amazing Josh Donaldson trade, Graveman quickly became a solid presence in the A’s rotation. With all their good players leaving (as is customary), Graveman has slotted in at No.1 the past few seasons and produced decent results. He was allowing a run per inning this season, but has been consistent enough throughout his career that he should be fine after a few “rehab” starts in Triple A.
Nick Williams---He’s kinda like Tommy Pham, just five years younger; believes he is the best player on the team and is complaining about other guys playing ahead of him. Unfortunately, Williams has gotten off to a bad start this season when the Phillies do actually play him, so he isn’t really doing himself any favors. However, similar to Gamel he had a great rookie year last season, so he should continue to develop nicely.
Moises Sierra---I almost put the Nationals on my no bad players list as well, but lets pick on Sierra, eh? Washington needs a replacement for Jayson Werth, and the promising Sierra looked to be a nice fit. However, he hasn’t produced so far in his Major League career, so Washington may move on if he’s not careful. I wouldn’t worry too much, though, as Sierra has all the tools to succeed.
Gregory Polanco---Really I’m only concerned about his very undisciplined approach. The Pirates are banking on him to be a cornerstone, and the way he plays right now won’t get him there. We know he can produce, we’ve seen him produce, and he will in all likelihood continue to produce throughout his years. He just needs a veteran (which Pittsburgh has a limited supply of) to show him the ropes.
Manuel Margot---Great defender, plus speed, plus arm, but the bat is a big question, especially when you’re 20 points off the Mendoza Line. He might turn into Billy Hamilton (with of course less speed) if he’s not careful…
1: Nothing but a slow start
Alex Colome---He might be their best player, and he should shore up the bullpen for at least a few more years (barring trades). He’s not even off to a horrendous start, it’s just that he has the most expectations on that team.
Lewis Brinson---Top prospect hitting one hundred something? It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again. I know Marlins fans are eager for this kid to become the new Christian Yelich, but give him some time. I think everyone expects him to be a real good ballplayer for years to come,
Dexter Fowler---He has slowed down a bit since he got to St. Louis, but he’s still a real good all-around outfielder who is a great locker room presence. He might be a little disenchanted playing in right this season, but he’s mature enough to get over it, especially when his team is winning like they are.
Anthony Rizzo---Those darn motel beds! He’s one of the best, and there’s no doubt he’ll recover-it’s just the fact that he’s hitting .171. Why, he’s already begun to warm up.
Paul Goldschmidt---Maybe he should be in the 2 category? He’s struck out close to double his amount of hits, a trend for him that’s bothered me for years now. It’s hard to say a guy who finished top-three in MVP voting is in the wrong, but Goldy has such a nice swing that if he just simplified everything he’d get more contact with similar production. Either way, he figures to be in the thick of that MVP race once again.
Andrew McCutchen---I truly believe he and the Giants will have a good season, they just need to get going. He hasn’t really struggled, but he’s not producing like the probably hoped he would. Watch out for midseason though-this guy can go off and ignite a whole team to a playoff run, just like he has before.
You’ll notice that two teams, the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, escaped my pointed barbs this afternoon. This is simply due to the fact that I could not find a player on either team who really deserved to be called out. In fact, basically every player on both teams is playing at or above their potential, the main reason both clubs are enjoying excellent starts to their respective seasons. I guess I would scale them at a 0: keep up the good work.