In keeping with the All-Star theme this week, and as somewhat of an activity to take my mind off the fact that there’s no baseball until Friday; I’ve written two pieces on my All-Surprise and All-Disappointment teams of the first half of the season. In the second piece, we look at the players who you have been cursing since the day you drafted them, wondering what on earth you were thinking. And this is the time to let loose on how we really feel. Especially the case with some of these players, that have single-handedly killed my ERA. Not naming names. Tanaka.
Catcher – Jonathan Lucroy, Texas Rangers
This particular story is a difficult one to understand after Lucroy’s recent success, where over the last 5 seasons he’s hit .291 with an .818 OPS, averaging 15 HRs and 67 RBIs a season between Milwaukee and Texas. But so far this season, he’s only hit .256 with a .666 OPS, to go with 4 HRs, 25 RBIs (well below those averages of the last 5 seasons); and all this from a player who would’ve been a top 3 catcher off the board. He’s being outperformed by Manny Pina of the Brewers, who nobody had heard of before this season! I remember the days when Russell Martin was arguably the best catcher in fantasy, he just misses out on this prestigious honour thanks to Lucroy.
First Base – Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
I think if there there was a sample size larger than 19 games, Greg Bird would be “winning” this without question, as the unquestioned replacement for Mark Teixeira he hit just .100 (not a typo) in 60 ABs. But Gonzalez has been a personal thorn in my side this year. I thought I was being smarter than everyone drafting A-Gon late in drafts expecting a nice bounceback year, with Cody Bellinger slotting into the outfield somewhere. But a couple injuries later, Bellinger and Chase Utley are handling the 1B duties admirably; and Gonzalez is on the mend for a while yet. The .255 batting average and 1 HR in 49 games this season, imply the job is Bellinger’s to lose even when he’s back and the Dodgers may even eat a lot of salary to move him on at the end of the season. So much for me knowing it all huh?
Second Base – Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs
If I was writing this article a week or two ago, it’d have been a slam dunk on Rougned Odor, but he’s been one of the better 2B’s in baseball lately. Zobrist on the other hand has been slumping all season, to the tune of a .214 BA and .673 OPS, but at least he has 7 HRs in limited playing time to salvage something. It’s hard to put any exact science onto why Zobrist is struggling this season; his strikeout totals are roughly the same as they’ve always been; but the walks are down and his BABIP is .226 (compared to a career .289). It may not get better for Zobrist with Ian Happ impressing and Kyle Shwarber back in the big too; there’s not much space for him anymore.
Third Base – Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
This one really stings me, as I kept Bregman in a 5 player keeper league after his hot finish last year thinking he was going to be a huge breakout star, and I can’t have been the only one. But the former Louisiana State Shortstop has been a huge disappointment so far this season; as he’s hitting just .254 so far, and only 8 dingers (as many as he hit in 49 games last season, including his abysmal start). The HRs and RBIs are the main cause for concern here, as in the Astros’ potent lineup, he should be racking these up. But with his Isolated Power way down at .163, it doesn’t bode well unless he can turn things around after the All-Star break. Maikel Franco also deserves a mention here hitting .217 and .657 OPS leaving his job in jeopardy.
Shortstop – Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Nobody would’ve expected Machado to be in this position at the start of the season. A sure-fire first rounder, with multiple position eligibility and a proven track record (averaging 99 runs, 34 HRs, 87 RBIs per 162 games over the last 3 seasons). But here we are at the All-Star break with Machado hitting a measly .230, only 38 Rs but he’s just about on course to match his HR and RBI totals (mainly due to 3 HRs and 10 RBI in the last 8 days of the first half). The BABIP is about 60 points down from his career average of .302 so there could be a batting average correction on the way, especially as he’s 9th in average exit velocity too at 93.5mph. Perfect buy-low candidate? Addison Russell misses out here, but last season w
Outfielder – Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
There were a couple candidates here who have long been considered fantasy studs, but for two different reasons have failed to live up to expectations this year. Starling Marte and his suspension has given owners a lot a of grief, but at least owners had the easy decision to bench him. Whereas with Gonzalez, a lot of owners have been playing him in the hope he’ll rekindle his form of old, where he was once a lock for the 1st round. He’s hitting a measly .221 and just 6 HRs so far this season; a far cry from the days when he hit .300 and have genuine 30/30 potential year after year. The Rockies offence continues to click though, without Gonzalez’s usual huge presence, but Coors can work it’s magic sometimes; and if he can start getting a few more hits to fall, the stats could return.
Starting Pitcher – Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
Anyone who knows me, knows that this season I have my own personal vendetta against Tanaka, almost as much as he seemingly has a vendetta against my ERA and WHIP. Like myself, I’m sure many of you drafted Tanaka to be the ace of your staff after some of the bigger boys like Scherzer and Kershaw had gone. He had a good track record now, with a 3.12 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and just a K per inning in his 3 seasons so far. What followed has been a disaster. His ERA this year has ballooned up to 5.47, he’s giving up twice as many HRs as he had previously and an extra walk per 9 innings; which all adds up. I could keep going about the misery he’s put me through, but I don’t think my superiors would be too happy with a 5000 word essay. I wonder if Kate Upton will mad-tweet about Justin Verlander missing out on another award this year, this would’ve been much more prestigious than the AL Cy Young.
Relief Pitcher – Mark Melancon, San Francisco Giants
There’s definitely something in the Reliever’s water in Washington DC, Melancon entered the Captial as one of the lock-down closers in the game. Now he’s got a 4.35 ERA with just 11 SVs on the year, to go with 4 Blown Saves; and there’s even talk of potentially dealing Melancon away at the deadline to get rid of his contract! It would be interesting to see what the Giants could get in a trade for him, as someone could net a decent bargain. It could just be similar to when he had a horrendous time in Boston, and then quickly regained elite form in Pittsburgh. The now 38 year old K-Rod has completely blown up, after starting the year as the Tiger’s closer; he finds himself with…oh…the Washington Nationals, where he’ll seemingly feel right at home.