Sky's note: This a very good FanPost from BtB reader dougbies which I've bumped to the front page. Good stuff, man, although you're starting to earn the nickname Mr. Negative... ; )
Considering I've seen numerous posts about the good in mlb through the midway point of the season, I wanted to create a post about the bad. I'll point out a couple of poor individual performances/teams and give me some feedback on if you agree, disagree, or have someone else you want to peg into any of these roles.
Least MVPesque - AL
Many people bought into another fine looking Jack Z move this off season by bringing in Figgins for four years & 36 million dollars. Coming off a 6.1 WAR .396 OBP season in 2009 there was little reason to doubt this acquisition. Sure Chone was going to be 32 when his contract began, and came off of a career year, but you had to think that he would produce the WAR necessary over the four years to make the deal worth while. His line thus far...
23 of 27 in stolen bases
Those are pretty ugly numbers across the board. His LD% is at a career low & he has been hitting more fly balls than he has in years. He is striking out more than ever, getting on base less, & playing poor defense. You would think that in once he gets acclimated to second base again, his defense there will improve. There isn't really much to like about what he has accomplished in a Mariners uniform thus far. You would think that as his .297 babip creeps up more towards his .338 career mark, his numbers will begin looking better across the board. Till then, he looks like a blemish of Jack Z's solid off season, & a mistake signing.
Least MVPesque - NL
Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers
Kemp came off of a monster 5.1 WAR season in 2009 at age 26 with very high expectations for 2010. Although he only makes 4 million dollars this season, the Dodgers expected him to produce much greater than he has thus far. His ugly stat line thus far...
28.3% k rate
Kemp isn't hitting terrible, even though his avg & obp are lower than his career norms. It's his defense that makes him look terrible so far this season. Kemp was considered to be a near average defensive center fielder prior to this season, but that looks like it has changed a bit. Both UZR & DRS are in agreement that he has been one of the games worst defenders. Sure it's a somewhat small sample size, but his defensive shortcomings are really beginning to affect his value. Many people considered him a top player/fantasy player entering 2010, & have been disappointed with the results.
Other possible candidates: Carlos Lee, Raul Ibanez, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval
Least Cy Youngesque - AL
Scott Kazmir - Los Angeles Angels
Kazmir is under contract with Angels for 8 million this season, 12 million the next, and then will have his contract bought out for 2.5 million before the 2012 season begins. Kazmir has been good at times throughout his career, but not recently. After seeing him give up seven earned while walking five to the Chicago White Sox yesterday, I realized just how bad Kazmir is. His line...
16 starts with 87.1 IP
8 million dollar salary
Kazmir has a lifetime FIP of four & has struck out a batter per inning throughout his career. The Kazmir we are seeing of late isn't the same Kazmir that had some solid seasons while with the Tamp Bay Rays. His strand & babip rates aren't really too far off his career norms, but his K rate is. Currently at 5.98 per 9, he is striking out about a 1/3 less batters than he normally has throughout his career. His K rate has been trending down for a number of seasons, but 5.98 per nine is a far cry from what it could be at. Although Kazmir's HR/FB ratio is currently at 11.9%, up from his career number of 8.9%, he is somehow giving up fewer fly balls & liners than normal, which is scary. Kazmir has been bad, and in my opinion the worst starting pitcher in the AL this season.
Other possible candidates: Javier Vazquez, Wade Davis, AJ Burnett, Ben Sheets
Least Cy Youngesque - NL
Randy Wolf - Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers attempted to address one of their biggest off season needs this past summer by agreeing to a three year 29.75 million dollar deal with Randy Wolf, a 33 year old pitcher with a career record 14 games over .500. So far, he has disappointed, even though my expectations for him weren't all that high. His stat line thus far...
17 starts with 103.1 IP
9.25 million dollar salary
While his hr rate is quite higher than his career norm of 1.16 per 9, babip & LOB% suggest that he really isn't getting all that unlucky. Wolf is simply walking more, striking up less, giving up the long ball more. This isn't something you really want out of your number two starter. With financial problems in Milwaukee, such as Jeff Suppan being released & Prince Fielder's contract coming up, this is not the type of contract you want if Wolf continues to deliver similar results.
Other possible candidates: Wandy Rodriguez, Ricky Nolasco, Cole Hamels
Most disappointing team AL
The Seattle Mariners
They currently sit at 34-48, 14 games out of the AL West leading Texas Rangers. Many SABR minded people picked them to win the West based on great defense, & a great 1, 2 punch. These people have been disappointed with the product they've seen thus far. Although offense was a glaring need going into the season, it has not been there at all, and they really have not had any spectacular individual performances besides Cliff Lee's.
Most disappointing team NL
Although there are a number of disappointing teams in the NL this season, the Phillies have to be the leaders here. They currently sit at 43-38, four games back of the division leading Atlanta Braves. Although they've had numerous key injuries, such as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Brad Lidge, Placido Polanco, & Joe Blanton, you had to expect the Phillies to be a better team than they've shown thus far. Going into the season, they had to be considered to favorites to make it to the World Series. If this continues, they may not even make the playoffs in 2010.
Thoughts, comments, concerns???