The regular season is in the books for 28 of the 30 MLB teams, and we can now reflect on the season heading into the playoffs. As always when it comes to the end of the year, when looking back, we can identify which players performed above, below, and right around our expectation. But it's never fun to be positive and reflect on the good things, now is it?
So without any further ado, here's the 2013 All-Disappointment Team, featuring a player at every position that vastly under performed compared to our expectations and/or their salaries.. I tried to take long injury stints out of the equation, so you're not going to see guys like Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, and Matt Kemp on this list, even though all three were quite disappointing. Also, remember that disappointment has to come from a player that you actually expected to be good. If a player wasn't great last year, and he wasn't great this year…how exactly is he a disappointment? Anyway, onto the team.
Catcher: Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks. I expected the world from Montero in 2013, and uh…he really didn't deliver. After back to back four win seasons, Montero's five year, $60 million contract extension began starting with the 2013 season, and he didn't live up to Arizona's expectations at all, hitting just .230/.318/.344 with only 11 homers, his lowest total since 2010 when he hit nine (in only 331 plate appearances). Montero was the biggest disappointment on a Diamondbacks team that couldn't pull away from the pack in the first half when the Dodgers struggled.
First Base: Paul Konerko, White Sox. You know, I didn't expect Konerko to have an All-Star caliber season in 2013. I also didn't expect him to hit .244/.313/.355 and hit just 12 homers, his lowest total since his rookie season of 1998. The 37-year old was one of the worst every day players in baseball in 2013, and is considering retirement after the season he had. When you're an older player, sometimes when it goes, it just *goes*. Konerko was so bad that Adam Dunn played nearly as many innings at first base for the White Sox as him, and Dunn is an absolute disaster with the leather.
Second Base: Dan Uggla, Braves. I didn't want to give Uggla the nod here. There were a lot of second basemen that had awful seasons in 2013, with Rickie Weeks, Darwin Barney, and Jose Altuve joining Uggla on the struggle bus. But man, Uggla was really just…not good this season. He hit .179/.309/.362 with 22 homers. Uggla had never hit fewer than 27 homers in a season going into last year, and now he's done just that in consecutive seasons. Uggla, always one to swing and miss, also struck out 171 times, tying his career high. Perhaps the most telling stat about Uggla was just total of just ten doubles, though. Even when he struggled last year, he still banged out the two-baggers. This year? Nothing.
Shortstop: Starlin Castro, Cubs. Holy crap, this one was a shocker. Castro was supposed to be a building block for the Cubs going forth, and he went backwards across the board in 2013. The 23-year old Cubs shortstop hit a pathetic .245/.284/.347 this year while stealing just nine bases. His walk rate decreased, his strikeout rate increased, and Castro seemed like a random fill-in for much of the year rather than a guy that was poised as a franchise cornerstone.
Third Base: David Freese, Cardinals. Freese became a Cardinals legend after his heroics in the 2011 Postseason. He received his first extended playing time in 2012 and impressed. But in 2013, things fell apart for Freese as he hit .262/.340/.381. Don't get me wrong – it's not necessarily a bad line, but Freese is 30, and his power probably isn't going to suddenly return. Going from 20 homers to nine in nearly the same amount of playing time isn't a good sign for his future.
Left Field: Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays. The rose is off the Melky bloom. He had a great year in 2011, and an even better year in 2012 that was marred by a 50-game PED suspension. The Cabrera that the Blue Jays got in 2013 was more the Braves version, who hit .255/.317/.354 in his one year in Atlanta, than the borderline superstar Cabrera that played in Kansas City and San Francisco. For the season, Melky hit .279/.332/.360 with just three homers, two stolen bases, and disastrous defense in left. What a bargain for $8 million!
Center Field: BJ Upton, Braves. You could make the argument that the Braves would have been better off taking $15 million and lighting it on fire instead of paying it to Upton. The elder Upton was a disappointment in every sense of the word in 2013, hitting a pathetic .184/.268/.289 this year with nine homers and 12 stolen bases and a strikeout rate north of 33%. With Jason Heyward getting reps in center field over the second half of 2013 for the Braves, Upton's future in Atlanta is cloudier than any expected.
Right Field: Nick Markakis, Orioles. Markakis was being positioned as a franchise cornerstone in Baltimore, but he's never really developed into the superstar the club thought when they gave him a six-year contract extension prior to the 2009 season. But while Markakis has struggled at times in the first four years of that deal, year five was a mess. Markakis hit .271/.329/.356, homered a career low ten times, and also posted the lowest doubles output of his career. Considering the only two times Markakis hit under 30 doubles in a season, he also didn't record 500 plate appearances, his 24 doubles in 700 plate appearances is not a good sign at all.
Starting Pitcher: Joe Blanton, Angels. What a disaster. Blanton finished 2-14 in 2013, posted a career-worst 6.04 ERA, somehow managed to allow 180 hits in 132 2/3 innings, and struck out just a few more batters (108) than runs allowed (96). And good news, Angels fans: he's signed for $7.5 million next year, too!
Relief Pitcher: Brandon League, Dodgers. From the moment the Dodgers signed League to a three year, $22.5 million contract prior this offseason, we called it a mistake. League rewarded the Dodgers for overpaying him by posting a 5.30 ERA in 54 1/3 innings, saving 14 games while blowing five, striking out just 4.64 batters per nine innings, and losing his closer's job before the first day of summer to the much more deserving and qualified Kenley Jansen. If only people had seen this coming before the season…