Flops of the first half

We know that Mike Trout is a God, Ketel Marte is finally living up to the hype and Cody Bellinger & Christian Yelich are going yard for fun, but who are the players that have most disappointed in the first half of the season? We are pleased to present the antithesis of the All-Star team, the first half flops.

Catcher: Yadier Molina (STL)
The Cardinals talismanic tattooed legend is front and centre in the recriminations following Jake Marisnick’s collision with Jonathan Lucroy. A cynic could suggest it was diversion tactics to move attention away from one of the worst seasons of Molina’s career.

Since his last home run on May 14, the soon-to-be 37-year-old has posted a .525 OPS. That puts him just ahead of Billy Hamilton as the fourth-worst player out of a total of 268 with at least 100 plate appearances.

First base: Yonder Alonso (CWS)
It is debatable whether there was any truth in the speculation that the White Sox acquired Alonso (Manny Machado’s brother-in-law) and Jon Jay (Machado’s mate) as part of a lure to get the highly-prized free agent to man the hot corner on the south side of Chicago.

While Machado is enjoying his $300 million contract in the southern Californian sun, Alonso, an All-Star as recently as in 2017, was released by the White Sox at the start of July having slashed .178/.275/.301.

Second base: Starlin Castro (MIA)
One way to ensure that you are not traded away from the Floridian coast is to get on-base at a dismal .272 OBP and ground into a league-leading 15 double plays. Starlin Castro, who is earning more than the rest of the hitters on the Marlins’ 25-man roster combined, is not helping his trade value with a career-low .245 batting average and an abysmal 65 OPS+.

Shortstop: Richie Martin (BAL)
The preseason opinion on the Rule 5 pick was that he was “impressive at the plate, showing unexpected plate discipline and contact skills”, so his chances of sticking in the rebuilding Orioles’ 25-man roster looked positive.

The former first rounder is certainly not Livin’ la Vida Loca by getting on-base at a .226 clip and an MLB-lowest 32 wRC+.

Third base: Travis Shaw (MIL)
What happened here? Last season, the slugger was an integral member of the Brewers team that won more regular season games than any other NL team. He was a 120 OPS+ player in his first two seasons in Milwaukee with 63 homers to his name.

Shaw’s OPS+ was down to 48 when the Brewers decided to demote the 29-year-old to the minors at the end of June. He is just not hitting the ball; his contact rate, which is usually over 80%, is now down in the high-60s.

Right field: Adam Jones (ARZ)
Remember the complaints from keyboard warriors when the former Orioles’ outfielder was still a free agent in March? And then, remember their self-congratulations when Jones homered four times in his first eight games?

You don’t hear much these days with the veteran having slumped to .595 OPS since the start of June.

Centre field: Odubel Herrera (PHI)
Suspended without pay for the remainder of the season for violating baseball’s domestic violence policies. Nothing more needs to be written about him.

Left field: Wil Myers (SDP)
Career-high strikeout rate of 36% and just 27 RBI in 88 games. That’s only two more than Astros’ rookie Yordan Alvarez, and he has only played 19 games.

With an almost unbelievable .496 OPS over his last 20 games, the outfielder is getting worse. It’s safe to think Padres GM A.J. Preller would love to do-over the 6-year, $83 million deal which will keep Myers in San Diego until 2022.

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Fourth-place in Cy Young voting counts for nothing the following season, as Rockies’ Kyle Freeland and his 7.13 ERA found out. The left-hander was demoted to the minors after 12 starts.

The Blue Jays continue to let Aaron Sanchez take the ball every five days, despite his 3-12 record and league-leading 56 walks (5.48 BB/9).

Cubs’ Yu Darvish is still striking out opponents at an elite rate, but with an ERA over 5.00, and a walk rate over 4.50 BB/9, he is arguably the worst frontline starter in MLB.

Pirates’ Chris Archer leads all NL starters (min 75 IP) in home runs allowed (20) and ERA (5.49). Suggestions that he has been unlucky are undermined by his 5.91 FIP. That Tyler Glasnow & Austin Meadows deal for Archer really makes the Rays’ front office look like geniuses.

Watching the Miami Marlins’ pitchers has been one of the more refreshing surprises of the season, although watching Wei-Yin Chen transform from starter to reliever is like a horror movie. 8.18 ERA in 25 appearances from the bullpen.

Mets spent big giving up highly-rated prospects to acquired the talents of Edwin Diaz, while simultaneously taking on Robinson Cano’s contract. With four losses and seven blown saves to his name, Diaz needs a great second-half to win the affection of the New York faithful.

Dishonorary mentions to Matt Barnes (6 blown saves, 4.62 ERA) and Cody Allen (DFA’d by Angels).

Who have we missed out? Who do you think is the biggest flop of 2019? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter @batflips_nerds

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