The 2011 Fantasy Baseball All-Futility Team: Major Stars Failing To Measure Up
Catcher: Discounting both Joe Mauer and Buster Posey who have both succumb to injury this season, Geovany Soto too has missed time but has played in over 36 game thus far in 2011 and failed to be the run producer the Cubs had hoped. Soto entered his third Major League season last year coming off of a dismal 2009 where he hit just .218, 11 HR, and 47 HR but bounced back in 2010 with a .280 Avg. and 17 HR. Rather than build off last year’s production Soto has been battling lingering injuries due his duties as the team’s featured catcher which has manifested a meager 27 hits and just three home runs.
Close behind Soto is young Cleveland catcherCarlos Santana whose .229 average entering the second week of June places him among the league’s lowest at his position. Both Soto and Santana are filled with promise and should have better days ahead.
First Base: The clear cut leader in futility here is Chicago’s Adam Dunn who has been featured in the White Sox outfield in 2011, but will continue to see periodic opportunities at first as we approach the mid-point of the season. The White Sox seem steadfast in allowing Dunn to hit himself through a career worst slump, highlighted by dismal 1/24 versus left handed pitching in 2011. Dunn’s modus operandi throughout his career has been his power stroke which has yielded a meager five home runs through 184 at bats.
Dunn has long been one of the game’s most patient hitters, a facet of his skill set, which has kept him in the lineup through his struggles. A .320 OBP gives the White Sox a chance considering he’s still able to draw sufficient walks to enable manager Ozzie Guillen to pencil Dunn in each day.
Second Base: Dan Uggla wouldn’t mind a mulligan through the first three months of the season since the newly acquired Braves slugger has hit a bleak .172 playing each day for a playoff hopeful Atlanta team. Uggla has however continued to hit for occasional power, his seven home runs have given the Braves enough confidence to keep him in the sixth slot behind both Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.
Uggla has been dominated by left handed pitching to the tune of a .102 batting average through 59 at bats. A notorious slow starter (.239 April Avg.), Uggla has gone to the extreme of a drought although Atlanta seems confident that their star infielder will come around. Eventually.
Third Base: Certainly Evan Longoria (.246, 4 HR, 13 RBI) should head this group of the MLB’s most disappointing third basemen, but having played in a mere 33 games thus far, such a label seems undeserved. Mercilessly the stigma goes to the Brewers’ Casey McGehee. Entering the season off of a career best .285, 23 HR, 104 RBI, McGehee seemed poised to climb the baseball echelon as one of the sport’s top infielders.
Instead, McGehee has regressed and has consequently sunk deep into the depths of the Brewers’ lineup as a result of his dismal .238 average, compounded by a .214 rate on the road. Milwaukee figured McGehee to be solid protection for their star Prince Fielder. Should the Brew Crew decide to play all of their games during the day (.304 Avg), McGehee could be a potential solution, until then he’ll find himself penciled in as a starter on Team Futility.
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez’s nightmare 2011 has added another chapter following the star’s enlistment on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back. Hanley’s back issues have restricted the star both offensively and defensively exhibited in his uncharacteristic .167 average against right handed pitching.
Stories of Ramirez having to travel plane trips standing up because of tightness in his back have surfaced and put a scare into the Marlins who want to keep their franchise player healthy entering their new Miami Marlins campaign complete with a new stadium just around the corner. Until Florida is convinced Hanley is healthy, don’t expect the former All Star to leave this list anytime soon.
Outfield: Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo spoke publicly claiming that his recent DUI has been affecting his play on the field. Evidently it has since Choo is hitting a career low .239 (.291 lifetime) and his struggles seem to be worsening (.125 in June).
Alex Rios too has fallen victim to equally morbid statistics demonstrated in his unsightly .199 average entering the second week of June. Rios’ stellar 2010 gave Sox fans confidence that Rios had returned to his Toronto form that witnessed the rare combination of speed and power (109 HR, 155 SB).
Delmon Young can relate to the struggles of both Choo and Rios as Young has been a shell of him usual self, batting just .215 in contrast to his lifetime .288 mark. All three outfielders alike seem to be years away from their decline, so this stall may be just something of a pothole, rather than divot or even the end of the road.
Pitchers: Ubaldo Jimenez’s dominance in 2010 seemed to elevate the young Rockies’ right hander into baseball’s group of elite pitchers. Rather than defend his place among baseball’s best, Jimenez has struggled since opening day to keep runners off base (1.36 WHIP in 2011 vs. 1.15 in 2010). A 19-game winner last season, Ubaldo has claimed just one victory over his first ten starts. Injury concerns have begun to creep into the equation for a pitcher who has thrown just under 600 innings in the past three seasons.
Cardinals’ Brass has yet to determine what ails their aceChris Carpenter whose one victory over 13 starts is a bit disconcerting. The former Cy Young award winner’s 4.25 ERA is the highest of his career (discounting one start in 2007 due to Tommy John Surgery) since 2002 with the Blue Jays.
In the mix with both Jimenez and Carpenter is Oakland’sBrett Anderson who entered 2011 with such high praise the he appeared to be a potential Cy Young candidate following his strong 2010 season (2.80 ERA). Anderson hasn’t held up to such acclaim and has yielded a career high 1.33 WHIP in addition to a mere 61/25 K/BB rate.
Heading the list of closers who have disappointed through the first ten weeks of the season isJoakim Soria who was displayed as the teams featured 9th inning man. Prior to this season Soria was one of the game’s elite relief arms, quietly assembling statistics that rivaled New York’s Mariano Rivera. 2011 has been a vastly different experience for the hard throwing right hander whose five blown saves is nearly as many has he had in combined in both 2009 and 2010.
Written by Conor Gereg exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com
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