411 Midseason All-Disappointment Team
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Zach back with you,
As promised, here’s our Midseason All-Disappointment team. Note that there were many quality options, but thinking in terms of performance to date relative to draft day cost, we ultimately came up with this group.
C – Jonathan LuCroy – Heading into the season, LuCroy was widely viewed as the #2 fantasy catcher behind Buster Posey. But after batting .297 with averages of 14 homers and 70 RBI from 2012-2014, the Brewers backstop is batting just .241 with two homers and 17 RBI over 191 at-bats this season. That said, I’m giving him at least a partial mulligan being that he missed significant time due to injury. Now healthy again, look for him to reward his frustrated yet patient owners. If the LuCroy owner in your league is both frustrated and impatient, try sending over a lowball trade offer.
1B – Adam LaRoche – A longtime favorite of mine, LaRoche has always been a guy who you could draft at a reasonable cost and would consistently put up solid power numbers. Judging from his ultra-quiet first half, however, could it be that the 35-year-old is finally nearing the end? Not so fast. Even in his prime, LaRoche was known as a streaky hitter and more importantly, a second half hitter. Considering that his splits have been so drastic over the years, I’m holding out hope that this trend will continue. While I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to trade for LaRoche, I wouldn’t rush to drop him either.
2B – Robinson Cano – Maybe the Yankees knew what they were doing when they said goodbye to their All-Star second baseman following the 2013 season. Cano hasn’t been the same player since he signed that monster contract with the Mariners. Despite the power decline last year, he still performed at the level of a top-tier second baseman thanks to a .314 batting average and 82 RBI. But this season has been a huge struggle from the start. Cano owners can take solace in the fact that he’s batting .327 with two home runs so far in July, but he has a lot of work to do in order to give his fantasy owners anything close to an equal return on their investment.
SS – Ian Desmond – Forget about most disappointing shortstop. When factoring in ADP, Desmond has been the most disappointing hitter, and it’s really not that close. After posting three consecutive 20/20 seasons, he’s on pace to finish 2015 with 13 homers and nine steals, and he’s batting .211. There goes the contract year theory.
3B – Adrian Beltre – Talk about consistency. Beltre enjoyed a four-year stretch from 2010-2013 during which he batted at least .296 with no fewer than 28 home runs and 92 RBI. His power numbers declined last season, however, and he’s barely been a starting caliber fantasy player in 2015. But a lingering thumb injury that landed him on the DL for a few weeks in June is partly to blame, and he did post a strong .293-4-16 line in May just prior to hitting the shelf. Beltre owners have little choice but to hang onto him and hope for better luck in the health department. For now at least, there’s no way that you will get fair value in a trade.
OF – Yasiel Puig – Although labeling Puig a fantasy bust wouldn’t be accurate considering that he too has missed a considerable number of games due to injury, the bottom line is that even when on the field, the production simply hasn’t been there. Owners of Puig paid a steep price for him on draft day, and time is running out for the Dodgers outfielder to start paying them back. Well, there’s always next year.
OF – Matt Kemp – Speaking of steep prices, Kemp’s huge second half last year raised his draft day price to a level that, in retrospect, might have been unreasonable. Maybe Kemp owners got carried away, thinking that a return to elite form was in the cards and drafting him outside the top-25 would prove to be a bargain. Not quite. The good news is that Kemp has remained healthy. The bad news is that a .250 batting average with eight homers through 89 games wasn’t what his owners signed up for. But seven of his eight home runs have come since the beginning of June. I wouldn’t give up on him yet.
OF – Marcell Ozuna – Ozuna’s name was included on plenty of breakout player lists going into this season, but he’s followed up a promising .269-23-85 season with a .249-4-26 line through 79 games this year. Underwhelming numbers, yes. But I’m not so sure he deserved to be sent down to the Minors. I’d be very surprised if he isn’t back in the Majors soon, and owners in deeper mixed formats and of course NL-only leagues would be wise to keep him on their roster.
SP – Stephen Strasburg – This is exactly why we don’t like to spend big on starting pitching. Largely viewed as a sure thing, injuries and inconsistency have plagued Strasburg’s 2015 campaign. The truth is that when it comes to starting pitching, there really aren’t any sure things. Even if he does return from the DL shortly after the break, how confident are we that he will stay off the DL for the remainder of the season? Back in April, Strasburg was the 23rd pick in the 411 Listener League draft. Chris Archer was taken at #149.
SP – Julio Teheran – Teheran has pitched better of late, as he’s fresh off back-to-back quality starts, a feat that he had yet to accomplish this year. And that goes to show just how rocky his 2015 season has been. Still only 24 years of age, a bounce back campaign in 2016 is very possible. As for his short-term outlook, it’s hard to have faith in a guy who has been this inconsistent over the course of three and a half months.
CL – Steve Cishek – The “don’t pay for saves” crowd must be loving this. A consensus top-15 closer entering the season, Cishek collected a grand total of three saves before being removed from the Marlins closer role in mid-May. Even after allowing only one run over his last 8 2/3 innings, his ERA sits at 5.14. With A.J. Ramos thriving in the ninth inning role, 99.9 percent of Cishek owners are no longer Cishek owners. And that’s the way it should be.