Ben’s 2014 All-Disappointment Team
It’s Monday morning, and the entire world is grumpy. I am part of the world, and so also grumpy.
Rather than write a positive, insightful or analytical column, I’m going to vent. Many of my teams are somewhere between fourth and seventh place in my respective leagues, and this was not a year in which I was planning to rebuild. This is a fact that makes me angry.
So here you go: a complete lineup of suck that has drained the life from many of my redraft and dynasty league teams alike. Thanks for nothing, professional athletes who have failed to live up to my lofty, unreasonable standards.
C: Carlos Santana, CLE
1B: Eric Hosmer. KC
2B: Jedd Gyorko, SD
3B: Brett Lawrie, TOR
SS: J.J. Hardy, BAL
This infield is poop. Every single one of these players was supposed to hit for plus power this season. Right now, they have an aggregate of 25 homers, and that’s really only thanks to Lawrie, who has 11. Hardy and Hosmer have combined for two (2) bombs, and Santana and Gyorko have done their damndest to kill fantasy averages around the country. Lawrie was a bit of a risky pick coming into this season, but the struggles of the other four players here came as a genuine surprise to me, though wit hindsight I should’ve been more cautious with Gyorko.
Moving forward, I’m still semi-optimistic about what Hosmer can do, though I’m close to acknowledging that the power may never come. Santana should improve, but I still don’t expect that improvement to come with a decent average. And with Hardy, I’ll just use the shrugging emoticon – I know he was injured earlier in the season, but I can’t explain his power outage at all. Hopefully this is just a sophomore slump for Gyorko, but at least he’ll get plenty of opportunity in the majors thanks to his contract. I’m staying away from Lawrie, as he can’t hit for average and now he’s not running, either.
OF: Jay Bruce, CIN
OF: Matt Holliday, STL
OF: Daniel Nava, BOS
UT: Corey Hart, SEA
I’m pretty sure I have Bruce on 45 of my eight teams, and he’s killing me. I was counting on him as the preeminent source of power in many of my leagues and he’s responded with … four homers. At least he has seven steals, so, that’s cute. I thought Holliday was a steal for where I drafted him in many of my leagues, and while he’s been respectable, it’s still not quite what I was counting on. Don’t get me wrong – his .264/.378/.368 line still makes him a pretty valuable major leaguer, but three homers ain’t getting it done for me. At least his R and RBI totals are nice. And finally, we have Daniel Nava breaking my heart by completely forgetting how to hit/reach base. I didn’t expect him to duplicate his 2014 numbers, but I did take him as my final pick in many drafts, figuring he’d boost my AVG and R as a backup. Instead, he’s been – say it with me now – poop.
As for DH, there’s no question that Billy Butler has been the most disappointing player at that “position” this year, but for me personally, Hart has drawn more of my ire. I grabbed him very late in a bunch of leagues because he has power, but now he’s injured again, and I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming. Honestly, I’m madder at myself than I am Hart for this, but this column isn’t about fairness.
SP: Mat Latos, CIN
SP: Shelby Miller, StL
SP: CC Sabathia, NYY
SP: Danny Salazar, CLE
SP: Clay Buchholz, BOS
RP: Joe Nathan, MIN
I have Latos on pretty much all the teams ever, and while it’s easy to say it was a foolish decision to draft him, everyone only had him pegged for missing one to three starts at the beginning of the season. He was a huge discount on draft day, and I made him and Jordan Zimmermann the key cogs of many of my rotations. Now we’re well into June, and I’m still waiting for Latos to make his 2014 debut.
Miller has long been one of my favorite fantasy prospects, and I expected big things for him as soon as he was summoned to the majors last season. He lived up to my lofty standards in 2013 but has been substantially worse in 2014, posting a low strikeout rate and a high WHIP. I still think he’s a No. 2 starter in the long-run and I don’t buy into the “Shelby Miller is broken” stuff, but I can’t deny that he’s underperformed.
Sabathia was sort of the pitching version of Holliday for me – I felt as though he represented good value for where he fell in many of my drafts, and was happy to grab him as my No. 4 starter on many teams. I figured I could swallow a 3.75-4.00 ERA if it came with 15-plus wins and around 200 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Sabathia was having the worst season of his career before he went on the DL with a knee injury, and there’s not much reason for optimism moving forward.
With both Salazar and Buchholz I came into the season with more modest expectations than many, but I still ended up with both pitchers on several teams. I never expected Salazar to repeat his 2013 campaign, but I didn’t think he’d be so atrocious that he’d end up back in Triple-A in May. And while I’m quite accustomed to Buchholz’ up-and-down career, I also didn’t see him performing as literally the worst starting pitcher in the majors. These weren’t major blows to any of my teams, but they’ve been frustrating nonetheless.
And now, Mr. Nathan. Poor, sweet, declining Joe Nathan. I trusted him in a majority of my leagues this season, as I viewed him as one of the safest closers – an oxymoron if ever on existed – outside of the elite tier. Instead he’s really hurt me in TDGX and in several other leagues as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses the closer’s role in the next few days. I tend to only draft two closers and to trust myself to find others as the season progresses. It’s a good strategy that’s worked for me many times in the past, but it’s not so good when your “safe” closer implodes.
Feel free to commiserate in the comments section. Next week I’ll try to be more positive and address my Nailed It lineup, but if I’m still in seventh place in this many leagues I might just find 15 more players to bash.