With the baseball season halfway complete, it’s time to present the 2012 Major League Baseball awards for the most disappointing players. For the most part, these aren’t mediocre starters on bad teams. Daric Barton is having a miserable season for the Oakland Athletics, but he could bat .100 and strike out in half of his at bats and I don’t know if he would be as disappointing as the players who were actually expected to do something this year.
This list is composed of mostly All-Stars playing for good teams. You’ll even see a future Hall of Famer or two on this list.
10. Roy Oswalt:
Roy Oswalt was signed by the Texas Rangers in midseason to be the third or fourth starting pitcher in the rotation. But he’s shown that he really has nothing left in his career. In four starts, he’s been about as bad as it gets. He’s allowed 40 hits and 16 earned runs in 23 innings. The only reason he has a 2-1 record is because of the Rangers’ explosive offense.
9. Hector Noesi:
Hector Noesi, 25, was one of the players in the highly publicized New York Yankees-Seattle Mariners trade during the 2011 offseason. Noesi showed potential last season, winning two of four decisions with a 4.47 ERA. Things looked bright for the 2012 season, especially as Noesi left the powerful AL East for the weak-hitting AL West. But he’s been terrible in 2012. He has a 2-11 record and a 5.77 earned run average. That puts him on pace to become the first pitcher to lose 20 games since Mike Maroth of the Detroit Tigers lost 21 in 2003.
8. Eric Hosmer:
With some of the top young talent in the American League in Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer, the Kansas City Royals were supposed to be a decent team this season. But the disappointing first half of the 2012 season by 22-year old Eric Hosmer is one of the reasons why the Royals are on pace for their ninth straight losing season. Hosmer’s homers and RBIs are right on pace with his 2011 totals, but his .231 batting average and .299 on base percentage won’t get it done.
7. Gaby Sanchez:
Gaby Sanchez went from being a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2010 to an All-Star in 2011 to a bench player by the 2012 All-Star break. He’s hitting just .202 with a .250 on base percentage and a .306 slugging percentage this year, and he’s played poorly enough that the Miami Marlins traded for veteran Carlos Lee to take Sanchez’s starting spot.
6. Cliff Lee:
The Philadelphia Phillies are paying Cliff Lee $21.5 million for the 2012 season. That means his one victory in 14 starts has cost the team about $11 million. That’s completely unacceptable. Not everything is his fault. His earned run average is right with the league average, and his strikeout and walk totals are on par with his career average. But Lee’s also become the master of blowing late leads, and he’s one of the biggest reasons why the Phillies are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2006.
5. Albert Pujols:
His numbers look okay now. Not good, but okay. He’s hit 14 home runs with 51 runs batted in, and he has a .268/.334/.460 slash line. But come on, man. This isn’t why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed Albert Pujols to a $254 million deal. He’s supposed to play like one of the best players in baseball. After all, he’s been the game’s best player since his career Barry Bonds retired. If it wasn’t for the incredible rookie season by 20-year old Mike Trout, the Angels would probably have a losing record and Pujols would receive a lot more criticism than he has so far.
4. Heath Bell:
The 34-year old closer was signed by Miami to a three-year, $27 million deal during the 2011 offseason, but he’s been absolutely brutal for the majority of this season. He started out with an 0-3 record, an 11.42 ERA, and four blown saves in his first seven opportunities. Since then, he’s pitched better, but he’s still been inconsistent. His midseason stats make him arguably the game’s worst closer this season: 2-5, 19 of 25 in saves, 6.75 ERA. And he might be a blown save away from a demotion to the setup role.
3. Minnesota Twins Starting Pitchers:
The Minnesota Twins‘ pitching rotation has been almost laughable this season. 11 different pitchers have made at least one start, and only Scott Diamond (7-2, 2.62) is having a good season. Franciso Liriano (3-7, 5.08) has been bad, and Carl Pavano (2-5, 6.00), Liam Hendriks (0-5, 7.04), Nick Blackburn (4-5, 8.10), and Jason Marquis (2-4, 8.47) have been absolutely brutal. It’s no surprise that the Twins have just 36 wins and are in last place.
2. Phillies’ bullpen:
The Phillies might be the most disappointing team in baseball this season, as they’ve lost just 10 fewer games by the All-Star break than they did all of last season. Their bullpen is easily the biggest reason for their struggles. Jose Contreras (5.27 ERA), David Herndon (4.70 ERA), and Michael Stutes (6.35 ERA) have spent the majority of the season injured, while Chad Qualls (4.60 ERA, 7 homers in 31.1 innings) pitched so poorly that he was designated for assignment and then traded. Lefty Antonio Bastardo was dominany for most of 2011 but his 5.34 is more than double his 2011 ERA. Even All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon has struggled in non-save situations.
1. Tim Lincecum:
Tim Lincecum has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball over the first half of the 2012 season. In fact, the former two-time National League Cy Young winner might be THE worst pitcher in baseball. He’s 3-10 and his ERA is 6.42. That’s nearly twice his career mark. His strikeouts are still high (9.7 per nine innings), but that’s about the only important statistic. He’s leading the league in earned runs and wild pitches, and he’s walked more than a batter every other inning. The San Francisco Giants are somehow still in contention for a playoff spot, but if Lincecum doesn’t turn his miserable season around, they’re going to have some big decisions when it comes time to make their postseason rotation.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for Eagles Central and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.