Five Most Disappointing Players of 2019- MLB

Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics

It was only a season ago when Khris Davis finished 8thin the AL MVP voting.  Mashing 48 homers Davis became the power bat in an emerging lineup.  The cog in a machine of a soon to be great offense in Oakland.  The specious Coliseum was no match for his raw power. The Athletics were so inspired by his season that they signed him to a two-year extension worth over $33 million. When they did this, I openly tweeted that Oakland just got a steal.  A young player that has been averaging 40 homers for multiple years for a discount as well as not having to go through the trouble of dealing with the problem of free agency.

The Athletics have overcome a slow start despite Davis’s slash line of .224/.290/.390.  Davis has been a complete disaster with a wRC+ 50 points behind his career average. The Athletics have been lucky to have Ramon Laureano become an offensive force.

Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays were not coming into this year looking to contend. Aaron Sanchez was supposed to be a player they could look upon to bring back some valuable pieces to help the rebuild along with their already existing young core.  Sanchez came out of the gates looking like a guy that would be moved to a contender in no time, starting out the year with a 3-1 record with a 20.6% strikeout rate, 15.3% walk rate, 2.32 ERA, 5.45 SIERA, and 0.3 fWAR in 31 innings. Then the wheels fell off Sanchez. Sanchez currently leads the league with 14 losses while sporting a 5.09 xFIP.  

Sanchez went from potential trade chip to a potential DFA in less than two months.  

Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets

Thor was supposed to help the Mets compete for an NL East crown in 2019, but that’s not the season Noah Syndergaard of the Mets have gotten.  Not to say Syndergaard has been terrible but a 4.33 ERA was not what the Mets were looking for.  They wanted to see steps in the right direction similarly to Jacob DeGrom. That has not been the case for Syndergaard.  Statistics are similar but the biggest problem for him has been batting average against with runners in scoring position. His xFIP has went up by an entire run in the 2019 season.  

Syndergaard has now been forced to deal with the rumors that he is available in trade scenarios.  The distraction has been a problem for the team along with the lack of direction for the team.

Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies

The Rockies were everyone’s darling team last season.  Kyle Freeland was the leader of a pitching staff that stepped up to make them a legitimate contender.  Freeland entered the season looking to repeat his dominance, that is not how the season has gone.  Freeland, 26, has found himself in the midst of a major regression 2-6 with a 7.13 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 12 starts before being farmed out.

The minors haven’t seemed to help Freeland find what he was missing as the second half hasn’t changed much. With Freeland’s decline the Rockies have declined falling further out of contention as the summer goes on. Freeland’s most baffling number is the power he has given up.  Last year he posted an impressive .76 homeruns per nine.  That number has ballooned to a 2.09.  In a place like Colorado there is no wiggle room for mistakes and Freeland has been making a lot of them.  The Rockies are still within striking distance of a Wild Card Spot, they will need Freeland to step up and be some form of his 2018 self.

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals believed that they had the perfect combination at the top of their lineup with Matt Carpenter, coming off of a career season in 2018, followed by newly acquired 

Paul Goldschmidt.  The plan was to have them bat one and two in front of power bat Marcel Ozuna.  Carpenter has looked lost at the plate for the entire season, his total WRC+ has dropped from a 138 in 2018 to an 86 in 2019.  His on-base percentage is down 50 points compared to last season.  Carpenter’s struggles attributed to the slow start of the Cardinals offense. 

Injuries have played a role in Carpenter’s struggles, but an overall lack of confidence seems to be the most telling signs.  His swing and miss rate has gone up as well as his pitch recognition.  The Cardinals have found a way to play through his struggles and still compete but a return to form of their 2018 MVP candidate would be huge for the stretch run.  It is not looking likely though as Carpenter’s most recent numbers in the minors have not shown that he is major league ready.  The Cardinal need his production to be a legit contender. 

May 24 MLB Draftkings Lineup

SP: Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets, $10,100

Thor is facing the Detroit Tigers who basically strikeout as if it was their personal hitting approach.  While he has had a few clunkers this season its hard not to think Syndergaard isn’t looking at ten strikeouts tonight

SP: Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals, $7,300

Multiple stud pitchers going on the slate tonight you have to find someone to pair with them.  Mikolas is coming off of his worst start of the year but at 7.3K he has the highest upside of the low to mid-tier plays.  Worth a dart throw.

C: Yan Gomes, Washington Nationals, $3,200

Gomes is cheap but brings double digit DK points in 2 of 3.  Catcher is a tough position go with the veteran that is swinging well.

1B: Pete Alonso, New York Mets, $5,300

The Mets are another stackable team tonight going against Tigers prospect Gregory Soto.  Soto has stunk in his first three career starts. There is no other way to sugar coat it.  Alonso will have opportunity with men on to do damage, most likely homers tonight.

2B: Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox, $5,000

Four homers in 29 at-bats on the season versus lefties makes Chavis a nice play.  Chavis has been at the top of the Boston order over the last few games which also gives him value with more plate appearances. While I like Wade Miley I can see him as a potential fade at hitter friendly Minute Maid Park.

3B: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, $4,200

Matt Carpenter has had a few slow starts in his career but I think it’s finally time for a breakout. Matching up with Mike Foltynewicz who gives up a .270 ISO against lefties this season.  Carpenter has had some bad luck this season with his hard hit percentage being high yet his BABIP has not. 

SS: Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics $4,000

Semien matchups up with with Leblanc’s favorite pitch, the changeup.  Semien has an iso of .250 for the season against that pitch.  Look for Semien to use his sneaky power to drive the ball for multiple extra base hits tonight.

OF: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates $4,000

Marte is coming off of his best game of the 2019 season. Surprisingly Marte has also been hitting righties much better then lefties so a matchup with the tough Walker Buehler can scare a lot people off of him but with his great value and huge upside he is a perfect fit for your lineup.

OF: Steven Piscotty, Oakland Athletics, $3,700

Piscotty has a .441 wOBA versus lefties this season.  They face struggling Wade Leblanc.  He only costs 3.7K.  Any other questions?

OF: Steve Pearce, Boston Red Sox, $3,000

He should really be named chalky chalkerson for tonights game.  His career against lefties going along with his extremely low price will make him a most start in your lineup to save room for some pitching studs.

Matt Carpenter the best at the top.

Matt Carpenter has entered himself into the National League MVP race over the last two months of the 2018 season after many wrote him off, including yours truly.   I went so far as to write an article about the Cardinals moving Tommy Pham into the leadoff position was what was best for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Just like Carpenter and his salsa I am ready to eat my words.  Carpenter has found himself in this situation while being primarily in the lead off role. His potential MVP status has opened my eyes to the evolution of the lead off hitter as a force in MLB lineups.

Traditionalist have a predetermined idea that a leadoff hitter should be someone with speed. A player that can turn a single into a double or even triple by being on the move. But today’s MLB doesn’t work that way anymore.  Baseball is a game of statistics as well as ever changing dynamics.  Players like Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon can change the game with their speed, but they are the leadoff hitters of the past.   The new form of leadoff hitters are players that force a pitcher to be on their game right away or be down by one run.

Today’s leadoff hitters focus more about getting on base and provide much more power.  Look at the impact that George Springer had for the World Champion Astros during their great 2017 run in the playoffs.  Springer was able to jump on get me over fastballs to start the game and put an immediate run on the board.  Lead off hitters now rely on patience and launch angles to beat up on the opposition rather than using their speed.

Look at a list of impactful leadoff men in today’s game and see that there is a new trend in the game.  Joining George Springer are star caliber players like Charlie Blackmon, Mookie Betts, Anthony Rizzo, Corey Dickerson, and even Bryce Harper have spent time in the leadoff spot for their respective teams.  Managers are beginning to understand that their best hitters will not only be getting more at bats but they will also be in a position to see a few get me over fastballs that can be deposited in the seats.  Instead of pitchers trying to pitch around these players they are forced to pitch to them at least once rather than start a game with a runner on base.

Matt Carpenter is currently leading the National League in homeruns. While a large portion of those homeruns are solo shots he is still making an impact from the lead off position.  What is overlooked is that he has the protection of the middle of the order forcing pitchers to throw to him.  The worst thing a pitcher can do is to put a man on in front of the middle of the order.  Carpenter has to see strikes, he has to be challenged and he more you challenge him the better he has been.  This is the new idea of lead off hitters.  In a way its like a slow pitch softball approach, why not get your best player as many at bats as you possibly can?

Time to sell. Is that a bad thing?

The Cardinals stepped into the second half taking a glass is half full approach.  By moving on from Mike Matheny all their problems would magically dissapear.  The bullpen would pitch better, Ozuna and Fowler would start hitting, the defense would play error free.  After just six games they realized that not only was the glass half empty but it has been thrown to the ground and shattered.

Sitting five games back in the Wild Card is an illusion of potential for a team that has lost its way.  While they only sit five games back they have to jump two teams in their own division just to make case for the second spot. It is time to open their eyes and see that this is a team that has to find a new direction.  I wrote a piece earlier in the month talking about the potential of trading “ace” Carlos Martinez in hopes to have a return that can set them up for future success.  While it is unlikely that they move on from Martinez they have to see that it is time move the pieces that are not going to be a part of the future.   Players like Jedd Gyroko, Jose Martinez, Kolten Wong,  Tommy Pham and Bud Norris have to be put on the trade block.  Each one of these players have friendly contracts and assets that can intrigue true contending teams.

Players like Jedd, Jose and Kolten may not bring you high valued prospects in return, but  they can allow the team to open up spots for young talent. Players that are ready in the minors like Patrick Wisdom and Tyler O’Neil need to be called up and put into bench roles while Yairo Munoz and Harrison Bader should be given the chance to play everyday to see what they can bring to the table on a day to day basis.  The players that can bring you the most value on the market like Bud Norris and Tommy Pham should be moved in order to restock your system with top 15 potential players.

So why not move your hottest hitter Matt Carpenter or your bad contract Dexter Fowler or your “big” offseason pickup Marcell Ozuna?

Carpenter is the player you have to build around, moving him full time to first base is your best option and can bring you stability to work around for your infield.

Fowler’s contract will most surely be impossible to move.  The reality is that you have to put him on the bench and try and find a suitor in the offseason that will help you take on some of his salary (Very Unlikely).

Ozuna is injured.  He has little to no value at the moment unless you want to sell low.  Shut him down and let him go fix his shoulder injury.  If you would like to move him next season before he becomes a free agent then look into it then.  He has to much potential as a great trade piece when he is fully healthy.

It’s hard for a front office to admit that the season is a bust.  I am not admitting that it is a bust yet, but what the organization is putting on the field is not one that can make it to the playoffs let alone compete in an extremely competitive 2018 National League Central.  Let the young kids come up and see what kind of impact they bring.  Being a seller at the deadline does not admit defeat it can show a better understanding of your personal.  This team needs a change, they need fresh faces beyond Mike Shildt.  Let the young guys play and see if it can turn things around.  Use Poncdeleon, Gomber and eventually Dakota Hudson in the bullpen if their is not a spot in the rotation.  Let Bader get as many at bats as he can and see if he changes your team dynamic.  Cardinals fans may not like the idea of “selling” but they will have to understand that sometimes selling just means admitting your mistakes.   Everyone can accept that.