Biggest busts of the 2013 season
Each season begins with optimism, hope, and expectations. Everyone loves predictions. Fans make their own, analysts are paid to make there own, and even players have their own. By now, we have our results. We know who exceeded expectations, who met expectations, and who did not meet expectations.
Today, I focus on those who not only DID NOT meet expectations, but those who underachieved and did so poorly. Without further adieu, I give you the biggest busts of the 2013 Major League Baseball season:
Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
Starlin Castro led the MLB in hits in 2011, and was a National League All-Star the past two seasons. You would have never known that by the way he had played this year. Castro hit a miserable .245, and was the owner of a pathetic .631 OPS. After hitting 9 triples in 2011 and 12 in 2012, he hit only two in 2013. His RBI-total was down by over 30. His strikeout rate and total went way up, while his batting average against left-handed pitching was down over 70 points from a year ago. Maybe it’s his relationship with Dale Sveum, maybe it’s Chicago, but Starlin Castro seems to need a change of scenery.
R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays
Many people predicted this would happen: the inevitable truth in the one-hit wonder belief regarding R.A. Dickey. I was not one. His previous three seasons were excellent, topped off by his Cy Young award-winning 2012 campaign. However, Dickey let me — along with Alex Anthopoulos — down. Dickey was dealt by the New York Mets to Toronto for top prospects catcher Travis d’Arnaud and right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard, both of whom would definitely be helpful to the Blue Jays now. I say this after seeing the mess that is their starting rotation along with seeing how horrendous J.P. Arencibia has been at the plate. Dickey’s ERA went up about 1.5 runs when compared to 2012. He also allowed a near Major League-high 35 home runs, in addition to his walks being up and coinciding with the fact that his strikeouts were way, way down. When a team gives away part of its future for a player, and when that player fails, that player is defined a “bust.”
Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals
Danny Espinosa, a one time a budding star, played his way out of a job in 2012. In 158 at-bats, Espinosa hit an embarrassing .158 and logged a straight-up laughable .465 OPS. He was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Syracuse in early June. The Nats went on to use Anthony Rendon and Steve Lombardozzi at second base for the remainder of the season. The two combined to average an OPS of .671. That’s how much the organization thinks of their former third round draft pick.
Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels
I do not feel like wasting my time, and yours, repeating everything that has already been said about Josh Hamilton. He made a decision based on money — and now it is one that has backfired, as he has quickly turned from one of baseball’s best players into the scapegoat of a failing team.
Joel Hanrahan, Boston Red Sox
Am I supposed to give Joel Hanrahan a pass because of an injury, and how well Boston has recovered from 2012? Am I supposed to let this go simply because of how great Koji Uehara has filled in? Hanrahan had been one of the top closers in the National League over the previous two seasons, but was a disaster in his first switch to the American League. In 2013, he pitched in 1/7 of the amount of games that he did in 2012. He still managed to allow half as many home runs as he did throughout the entire 2012 season, in a mere 7.1 innings (!!!). He was simply awful.
Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
Josh Byrnes is cringing in his chair reading this while thinking to himself, “Why didn’t I just trade this guy!?” Folks, track record is so important because it is usually accurate. Headley, up until 2012, had never hit more than a dozen homers in a big league season. In 2012 he hit 31 of them along with driving in 115 runs. Prior to last season and through it, he had never driven in 65 runs or more.
So, the Padres brass faced a tough decision: Should they keep Headley, and wait until his free agency after 2013, or deal him? They chose to keep him. The New York Yankees were willing to offer the world for Headley but San Diego declined to get rid of their third baseman. Instead, he underachieved greatly in 2013. He stole 17 bags in 2012 and only 8 in 2013. He drove in 65 fewer runs in 2013. His home run total went down from 31 to 13, and his OPS was down .126 points. Now, instead of landing young stars for Headley, Byrnes is left empty-handed.
Edwin Jackson, Chicago Cubs
I guess there is a reason why Edwin Jackson had played for 8 teams in 11 seasons. You do not know what you are going to get out of him. This past off-season, the Cubs made the ultimate high-risk, high-reward investment by giving Jackson a four-year, $52 million dollar contract. He then went 8-18, with a 4.98 ERA in his first season as with the Chicago Cubs, allowing opponents to hit at a clip of .281 against him. Needless to say, that so far, it looks like a bad investment.
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals
At the end of the 2011 season, we all thought that we were looking at a dynamic duo on the rise in Kansas City, between Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas. Hosmer has since risen to stardom, leaving “Moose” back in the dust. But it’s his own fault that he as he hit a lousy .233, with only a dozen homers, and a poor OPS of .651. 2014 may be a make-or-break year for “Moose,” a former second overall pick.
B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves
And now, for the ultimate bust: B.J. Upton.
Upton has had one of the worst seasons ever, for a guy making about $14 million dollars in a season. Coming off a year in which clubbed 28 homers and swiped 31 bags, Upton left the Tampa Bay Rays and joined the Braves under the terms of a new five-year, $72.5 million contract. He has become a laughing stock. In 2013, Upton hit a pathetic .184, with nine homers, stealing only 12 bases, and recording an utterly laughable OPS of .557. Cubs starting pitcher, Travis Wood, had an OPS of .639. Upton has been benched by manager Fredi Gonzalez, and seems to be staying their as the postseason looms. What a disaster of a year it has been for a guy who was predicted by the “experts” to post a 30/30 season.
What do you think? Did I forget anyone? Leave your thoughts below, or tweet me- @TheBTrain10.
All images come courtesy of Zimbio.com.
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