MLB's 2013 All-Disappointment Team
For every Yasiel Puig or Francisco Liriano, who have enjoyed fantastic rookie and renaissance seasons, respectively, there are those players who are completely lost in the batter’s box and on the mound.
While fans might expect certain star players to perform year in and year out, even the most consistent hitters and pitchers are bound for a disappointing year at one point or another.
Take Albert Pujols, for instance. Despite being one of the most feared hitters from 2001 to 2012, the former slugger’s hitting prowess has morphed into that of a Tabby cat. In fact, Pujols has collected almost 60 percent less home runs in 2013 than in his average season.
But Pujols isn’t the only stud to turn into a dud. Read on to view the rest of the 2013 All-Disappointment Team.
Catcher: Miguel Montero
One could also make a strong case for Matt Wieters here, but perhaps Miguel Montero’s 2013 is slightly more disappointing. Montero, who was coming off a career-best park-adjusted 124 wRC+, looks nowhere near the $65.9 million player the Arizona Diamondbacks are now on the hook for.
The 30-year-old’s statistics have suffered greatly in 2013, perhaps due to his normalized .292 BABIP (from a .362 BABIP in 2012). The catcher has also seen his home run total decline almost 40 percent since 2011, hitting just 11 dingers over 448 plate appearances this season.
Montero’s defense has even taken a hit, posting a mere 0.1 dWAR despite owning a 1.5 dWAR in 2011.
First Base: Paul Konerko
If you were to ask New York Mets fans about disappointing first basemen, Ike Davis’ name would likely come up (along with a few cuss words too). But Davis was also a disappointment in 2012—making him a general disappointment, not just specific to 2013.
Instead, Chicago White Sox veteran Paul Konerko takes the failure cake. Despite owning a career park-adjusted 121 OPS+, Konerko has posted a park-adjusted 81 OPS+ in 2013. The rate is even two points worse than his anomaly 2003 season.
Given the 37-year-old’s steep decline, it’s likely the soon-to-be free agent will hang ‘em up instead of redeeming himself on a far reduced contract.
Second Base: Rickie Weeks
From 2009 to 2011, Rickie Weeks was considered a top second baseman. Over that span, Weeks owned a park-adjusted 122 OPS+ and 9.6 percent walk rate while averaging 19 home runs.
Even though Weeks’ star began to fade in 2012 (94 park-adjusted OPS+), the 31-year-old has gone into full deterioration mode in 2013. The former first-round pick has posted career lows in batting average (.209) and park-adjusted OPS+ (81) and has been plagued by nagging injuries too.
The Milwaukee Brewers very recently viewed Rickie Weeks as a cornerstone player, but given his offensive output and inability to stay healthy, the team might turn to Scooter Gennett in 2014.
Shortstop: Starlin Castro
The Chicago Cubs wasted little time extending their star shortstop to an eight-year, $60.57 million contract in August 2012.
At the time, the move seemed justified. From 2010 to 2012, Castro owned a career .297 batting average and a park-adjusted OPS+ of 105 while averaging nine home runs and 19 stolen bases.
But Castro has done little in 2013 to prove that he’ll earn his contract or be the star the Cubs need him to be. The 23-year-old has disappointed to the tune of a .242 batting average, park-adjusted 69 OPS+ and just nine stolen bases this season.
Even though Castro is still young and has time to figure out his hitting kinks, stud prospect Javier Baez will soon be nipping at his heels.
Third Base: Mike Moustakas
Both Chase Headley and Aramis Ramirez are having down seasons, but Kansas City Royals’ third baseman Mike Moustakas has still been the most disappointing.
After a somewhat promising 2012 campaign, where the left-handed batter hit to the tune of a park-adjusted 91 OPS+ with 20 home runs, Moustakas’ production has dipped considerably in 2013. The 25-year-old former star prospect has posted a dismal 77 OPS+ with just 11 home runs. As a point of reference, light-hitting reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson has collected an 88 OPS+ for the Royals.
With little third base talent waiting in the wings, the Royals are just going to have to hope “Moose” can turn it around next season.
Outfielders: B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton, Matt Kemp
People were ready to wave the white flag when the Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton to a five-year, $72.5 million contract in the offseason. Even though the Braves are en route to possessing the best record in the National League, little credit goes to Upton for that.
Upton’s once-dynamic skill set has evaporated in Atlanta, as he's posted a .188 batting average, park-adjusted 54 OPS+, nine home runs and 12 stolen bases over 428 plate appearances. In fact, the 29-year-old’s 2013 season has been so bad that the team considered sending the former star to the minors to work out his issues.
As big of a dud as Upton has been, no outfielder (free agent or not) has been as big of a disappointment as Josh Hamilton. Despite being an MVP Award-caliber hitter since 2010 (and winning the award in 2010 too), Hamilton has looked completely lost at the plate in 2013.
The slugger has posted a .245 batting average, park-adjusted 106 OPS+ and just 21 home runs over 600 plate appearances. Needless to say, the Los Angeles Angels expected a heck of a lot more production when they signed Hamilton to a mammoth five-year, $123 million contract.
The Angels were certainly expecting to compete in 2013 when they signed Hamilton to bolster their offense, but another Los Angeles team will be representing the city in the playoffs this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers officially clinched a playoff spot on Thursday, Sept. 19.
While the Dodgers inked a variety of free agents to bolster their 2013 playoff chances, the team rightfully assumed stud outfielder Matt Kemp would continue his MVP Award-caliber ways. Kemp, who posted a combined .315 batting average and park-adjusted 162 OPS+ from 2011 to 2012, has been a shell of his former self in 2013, however.
In between a plethora of ailments and injuries, the 28-year-old has been a nonfactor for the surging team. Kemp has posted a .274 batting average, 104 OPS+ and just five home runs over 260 plate appearances. If not for the terrific play of prospect Yasiel Puig, it’s quite possible the Dodgers would still be fighting the Arizona Diamondbacks for a playoff spot.
Designated Hitter: Albert Pujols
As if the Los Angeles Angels didn’t have enough misfortune with Josh Hamilton, designated hitter/first baseman Albert Pujols has been equally as unproductive in 2013.
Despite what may still be a Hall of Fame career, Pujols’ skill sets have taken a nose dive this season. After averaging a .325 batting average, park-adjusted 168 OPS+ and 40 home runs per season since 2001, the 33-year-old posted a mere .258 batting average, park-adjusted 116 OPS+ and 17 home runs before succumbing to a season-ending injury.
Considering Pujols is only in the second year of the 10-year, $240 million contract owed to him, it’s very possible the Angels will endure eight more seasons of quickly declining production from the former St. Louis Cardinals great.
Starting Pitcher: R.A. Dickey
The Toronto Blue Jays made a plethora of offseason moves to position themselves atop the American League East in 2013. Arguably the most significant transaction was acquiring 2012 Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets.
But Dickey has looked nothing like his 2012 self this season. After posting an elite 2.73 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 139 ERA+), 1.05 WHIP and 4.26 K/BB in 2012, the 38-year-old has been pedestrian in 2013. By comparison, Dickey has hurled a 4.21 ERA (versus a 97 ERA+), 1.26 WHIP and 2.36 K/BB. The pitcher’s average knuckleball has also fallen 1.5 miles per hour.
Considering the Blue Jays surrendered top prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard for Dickey’s services, league-average pitching production simply doesn’t cut it.
Relief Pitcher: Brandon League
Chicago Cubs fans might want to give this honor to Carlos Marmol, but after signing a three-year, $22.5 million contract, Brandon League has been the bigger disappointment between the two relievers in 2013.
After posting a 2.30 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 167 ERA+) over 27.1 innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, the team re-signed League to the deal mentioned above. Despite already boasting a young stud closer in Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers handed the closing gig to League to begin the season. But League’s role as closer didn’t last long.
The right-hander posted a 6.75 ERA and 7.00 ERA in May and June, respectively, and rightfully lost his job to Jansen. Even League's 2.98 ERA in July couldn’t salvage his season, which currently stands at 5.57 ERA (versus a 64 ERA+). He also has a 1.58 WHIP and a 1.80 K/BB.
With another $15 million left on his contract, League has officially gone from overpaid setup man to utter albatross.