In this article, I’m going to name my “All Big Bust Team.” Later on, I’ll take care of the “Big Surprise Team,” “Did You Hear about Him Team,” and “Most Valuable Fantasy Players Team.” The Big Bust team is composed of players that fans expected a lot from, but failed to live up to any decent sort of standards.
C Jason Varitek, Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox captain missed plenty of time due to injury, but that doesn’t save him from being listed here. Many player ratings had him ranked second or third behind both Victor Martinez and Jorge Posada, but he finished no where near that level this year. Varitek put together a .238/12/55 campaign in 365 AB’s, and this might be the beginning of the end for him, both as having value as a real catcher and fantasy catcher.
1B Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs – Many avid fantasy baseball players took D-Lee in the first round, expecting similar numbers to last year. However, Lee never came close to repeating those stats, due to a wrist injury and sickness within his family. He finished with Doug Mientkiewiczian numbers -- .286/8/30 with 8 stolen bases. He has always been a fine contributor, but he’ll never repeat 2005 again. But you should still look for him in the fourth or fifth round next season.
2B Jeff Kent, Los Angeles Dodgers – I know I’m picking on injured players, but Jeff Kent surely underperformed, at least according to my expectations. The Dodgers’ second baseman put together a .292/14/68 campaign, but failed to reach the .300/25/100 many expected. He’s on the downslide of his career, but should still put together some decent numbers next season. I’m just wondering where that power went.
SS Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland Indians – In a season in which the Tribe performed drastically beneath expectations, Peralta might have been the biggest cause. The shortstop had a .257/13/68 line, and it seemed like he carried that out into the field, too. The Indians need this guy to get back to the form he showed in 2005, when he resembled Miguel Tejada and not Felipe Lopez with no stolen bases.
3B Morgan Ensberg, Houston Astros – There have been Greek tragedies in which the main character hasn’t looked so badly at the end. Last year, Ensberg put together a .283/36/101 stat line, but finished this season with .235/23/58. In other words, he had an utter collapse from career highs in 2005. And there’s really no explanation for his drastic declines. We can only hope the Astros’ third baseman reaches previous statistics once again.
OF Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox – Pods fell out of favor with White Sox fans and did so in a tremendous fashion. When drafted in March, fantasy players expected around 65 stolen bases, an empty batting average around .300, and 100 runs scored — a three category contributor. In the end, however, the left fielder finished with a .261 batting average, 40 stolen bases, and 86 runs scored. It goes without saying that he didn’t meet what people drafted him for.
OF Jim Edmonds, St. Louis Cardinals – All throughout the season, I kept touting Edmonds as a player who would bust out of his slump. Despite early season injury issues, I kept in mind that Edmonds always produced around 30-35 homers and 100 RBIs with a decent batting average. He didn’t do any of those things. The Cardinals’ center fielder finished with .257/19/70 in only 350 ABs. Next season, however…
OF Jason Lane, Houston Astros – This Astros’ outfielder ran into some very rough times. After last season’s respectable stats (.267/26/78), the USC product just couldn’t hit. In 288 ABs, he put together a very respectable 15 homers and 45 RBIs, but a .201 batting average would have been murder to your fantasy squad. It’s long been make it or break time for this guy, and now he might be nothing more than a fourth outfielder on a good team.
SP Pedro Martinez, New York Mets – The Mets’ ace started the year with quite a bit of promise, but injuries eventually took their toll on the diminutive right hander. His fastball was in the mid 80s for much of the latter portions of the year, and teams like the Pirates and Braves blasted him at the end of the season. A 4.48 ERA wasn’t what you were expecting from your staff ace. Plus, he’ll miss the majority of next season due to offseason rotator cuff surgery. He may never be the same pitcher again. Maybe Theo Epstein was right in not offering him a four year deal.
CL Derrick Turnbow, Milwaukee Brewers – Closers live short shelf lives. That is perhaps the greatest truism in baseball. They quickly rise to the pinnacle before slowly returning to earth. That’s what happened to the man Brewers’ fans came to know as Turnblow. This right hander started giving up more walks this year, which was right in line with his minor league statistics. It’s too bad, because he’s got really cool hair.
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