15 MLB Stars Who Will Slump in 2013

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15 MLB Stars Who Will Slump in 2013

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There are some MLB stars who seem to be able to keep their play at a high level no matter what ups and downs go on around them. The vast majority however have career years, breakout years, awarding winning years and so on. Those are usually coupled with years where even the best MLB stars slump. Some slumps are major and are recovered from within the same year the slump starts. From time to time a star might slump and never fully recover.

I wonder why this happens. A great deal of it, in my opinion has something to do with the huge contracts the players get now. So many times we see a borderline great player have an amazing year when he is due to become a free agent following the season. Conversely, after he gets the new big contract, a slump often follows. It’s not a guarantee but its one theory anyway. There are other possible causes, not the least of which is the fact that hitting a baseball that’s flying at you and moving around is difficult.

Of course I have that injuries do happen, especially to pitchers that can reroute the course of a player’s entire career. I have tried to stay away from any of those players. This list will consist mainly of good players who normally would be expected to have a good or even great year that I expect to hit a wall. Most I assume will rebound soon after, either next year or 2015. For these fifteen players however, the 2013 season could be a bad spot on their stat sheet.

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15 - Joey Votto

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Joey Votto was ripping the cover off of the ball last season at the half way point. Then he hurt his knee and was gone for most of the rest of the season. He really didn’t have much time for anyone to see how well he was going to get back into the regular season stride post injury. Knowing that they have him locked up until the year 2024, a freakishly long contract by the way, the Cincinnati Reds will be glad to know he has plenty of time to regain form. I think the first half of this year might be kind of rough for him, all things considered.

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14 - James Shields

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The Kansas City Royals did themselves a favor when signing free agent pitcher James Shields, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays. On the down side of thirty and two years removed from a Cy Young quality season, I think the first new contract year might be a bit rough for Shields. Chances are that he will play out the contract in style after he settles in next year and the option year, but 2013 I think will be a slumpy one for Shields.

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13 - Mike Trout

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I’d love to think that potential great players like Mike Trout were immune to the sophomore jinx. The fact of the matter is he is not. Finishing second in MVP voting and winning the rookie of the year at the age of twenty doesn’t leave a lot of up room for Trout’s second full year. I’m sure Trout will have an effect on the games he plays in no matter how he has to do it. Just look for the pitchers to get the better of him for a while first. Trout seems like the real deal and if he is then he’ll have to adjust when the pitchers adjust. He will, but not in time to have another MVP quality season in 2013.

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12 - Zach Greinke

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Zack Greinke has been a solid starter for several years now. He hasn’t quite been able to duplicate the magic of his Cy Young season with the Kansas City Royals however. With a new sizable contract to play out through 2018, I’m unsure how the atmosphere of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the NL West will work for Greinke. I see him having a decent year but at the end of this season the Dodgers might wish they would have given him a slightly lower amount of money. Though he is still young enough to have a great few seasons, I don’t think 2013 is going to be a great one for him.

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11 - David Price

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Having won the AL Cy Young award in 2012, David Price’s price tag went significantly upwards this off-season. He deserves it with the numbers he put up. I can’t see any evidence that his stuff will keep him on that path this season. He will likely have a good season but with the Rays having a lot of changes, it would be very difficult for Price to not have a down year with the excellent year he had in 2012 in the rear-view mirror.

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10 - Jake Peavy

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This former Cy Young award winner hasn’t been exactly the same since his move to the AL via a trade from the San Diego Padres to the Chicago White Sox. Granted last year he did well and even made the All-Star team. Still he just doesn’t seem to putting things together in the AL like he did with the Padres. I look for Jake Peavy to have his worst year yet in the AL. Obviously the White Sox think his value has dropped as well since the new contract they gave him is smaller yet incentive laden. Maybe Peavy can hit some of those incentives in 2014.

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9 - R.A. Dickey

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The Toronto Blue Jays really went out with the checkbook this off-season. One of their big free agent signings was former New York Mets pitcher R. A. Dickey. To say Dickey appears worth the money seems to be an understatement. All he did was go 20-7 with a 2.73 ERA and win the Cy Young award. Not bad, huh? If you are asking why he’s on this list it’s because he signed with an American League team. His NL ERA over three seasons was 2.95 while his average AL ERA (excluding one inflated number) was right around 5.66. Add to that only one AL season with a winning percentage over .500 and you have yourself a 2013 slump.

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8 - David Wright

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets handed David Wright so much money this off-season in a contract extension that he will be getting paid by the Mets even after the contract expires. Wright has been worthy of the money thus far, having been to several All-Star games and doing well in MVP voting in the years he has been healthy. I think 2013 will be our first look at what Wright looks like in a down year. Wright might have the Mets fans worrying about paying him $20 million per year by next season with the year he is likely to have this year. Don’t worry though, the great ones always bounce back.

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7 - Andrew McCutchen

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In the world of the Pittsburgh Pirates fan, Andrew McCutchen has to seem like the greatest thing since even before sliced bread. Year in and year out he comes through when no one else will. He is a good player that will probably one day be considered a great ballplayer. I think this year the pressure of carrying the Pirate load will be a little much for his stats. When the Pirates get things together and get him some assistance either through experience of younger players or trades, McCutchen will rebound and hit his prime in stride.

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6 - Josh Hamilton

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I really like Josh Hamilton. He’s one of those big stud hitters that just worked well in a Texas Rangers uniform and in that ballpark. Last season, a contract year of course, was a great one for Hamilton in spite of any off the field issues. Now, with a comfortable contract that will take him past his prime, he can relax a little bit. He will too, and that’s why he’ll have a down year. It won’t necessarily be terrible by league standards, but he won’t be what he was last year. The good news is that he will probably bounce back.

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5 - Torii Hunter

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Torii Hunter had a run of a few years when he could easily be called the best center fielder in the game. Then again so did Andruw Jones, who recently signed with some team in Japan. Hunter’s career has hung on longer than that of Jones but has steadily declined in recent years. This decline is likely the reason for the $6 million drop in pay from last season to the upcoming season. Make no mistake; Hunter was the man for a while. He just isn’t anymore.

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4 - David Ross

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I’m not totally sure why David Ross garnered so much attention this year other than his good years with the Atlanta Braves. He did have good years but that was in a very unique situation that isn’t likely to be duplicated anywhere else. I look for Ross to have a down year in 2013. Really it’s not a down year that’s upcoming. When you think about it the recent year or two were just up years.

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3 - Michael Bourn

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There is little doubt that Michael Bourn has been one of the more sought after and most talked about free agents this year. He is coming off of a good few years with the Atlanta Braves and so is asking for a big pay day, Scott Boras is rather. Anyway, his asking price has turned many teams away including the Braves. Assuming he eventually lands with someone willing to pay a ton of money; Bourn might be too relieved to know what team he is playing for to focus on readying himself for the season.

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2 - Shane Victorino

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One of the more talked about players on the free agent market once the 2012 season was over, Shane Victorino made a pretty good amount of noise during the MLB Winter Meetings. Even though he is a good player that brings something to the team, he isn’t the best in the league and never has been. The buzz seemed to die down about and a lot of teams slacked off of wanting to sign him. As it turns out, he was asking a ton of money for someone who usually has trouble against right handed pitching. He didn’t exactly have a banner year in 2012 but look for him to slump more in 2013 for the Boston Red Sox. He might have limited success in a platoon role but that sure is a lot of money to pay a part time player.

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1 - Adam Laroche

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Adam Laroche has never been what I would consider to be a great player or a future Hall of Famer. Only twice has he reached 100 RBI but he always produces an alright amount of runs. That said, most of his career years have had the same thing in common. What about last season when he had over thirty homers for the second time and one of the two 100 RBI years? He finished sixth in MVP voting for goodness sake. Yes, 2012 had the same thing going for it that the others did. It was the last year of his contract. His slumping year this upcoming season will be just as magical as his great season in 2012. At least he should still have a good year with the glove.

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