Predicting 15 MLB All-Stars From 2013 Who Will Struggle in 2014
Predicting 15 MLB All-Stars From 2013 Who Will Struggle in 2014
One of the most appreciated honors in all of MLB is to be selected as a member of the All-Star team. Let us not pretend that the All-Star Game selection is the most important honor. Clearly winning the World Series or league MVP is better as far as performance goes. As a matter of fact making the All-Star team doesn’t say a great deal about how a player will perform the following season.
It could be suggested that winning the MVP would signal that a player was on top of his game and therefore would likely remain close to the top of his game the following season. The same is not true of an All-Star selection however. As a matter of fact there are MLB players who were members of the highly respected mid-summer classic roster last season that will likely struggle this season.
You might not believe me but there are a few no-brainers on that list. Not that it is his fault but Matt Harvey started the game for the National League last year but he won’t be there this year. Obviously anyone on the list you are about to read will not be here because of season missing surgery like Harvey. The fact remains that some guys will struggle this season after enjoying that honor last season.
We are going to look at 15 players that seem likely for one reason or another to struggle in 2014. There are no guarantees in baseball as we all know so these are predictions, not guarantees. Also it should be mentioned that nobody wants any of these players to struggle. Having off seasons now and then is just a fact of the game. Without further delay, here are a few guys that might struggle this season.
15 – Steve Delabar – Toronto Blue Jays
Delabar made the team last season on the strength of a decent to good first half. The second half of his 2013 included less time on the mound, four losses and an ERA over 7.00. It isn’t too big of a stretch to imagine that downward streak will flow into this season and become a struggle.
14 – Grant Balfour – Tampa Bay Rays
While Balfour is pumped to be back with the Rays, his former numbers there suggest he might should be careful about being so satisfied. As a matter of fact, outside of his time with the Oakland Athletics, few would have known Balfour even had the ability to be a dominant closer. I think he will close some games successfully but don’t be surprised if the magical dominance remained behind. Also he might have a little too large of a chip on his shoulder after the debacle of the almost-signing in Baltimore.
13 – Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks
If Corbin had continued the dominance he showed in the first half of 2013 all season long, Clayton Kershaw might have had some big competition for the Cy-Young award. He did not continue it however. Much of that is likely due to hitters finding something out about how best to approach him as happens with young pitchers. Corbin is likely to adjust and emerge a high caliber starter but the road there could be a struggle.
12 – Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
Most everything the Cardinals do looks perfect from every angle but the signing of Peralta is puzzling. Peralta is a fine player outside of the PED mess that hit him last season but he doesn’t seem to be a good fit in St. Louis. I think things will be a bit forced there for a while as Peralta settles in. Look for him to have a struggle well passed the first half of the season.
11 – Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers
There are few players in MLB with the natural tools that Gomez carries with him every day. Sadly he also carries with him an ability to be extremely unstable in many ways. He made the all-star team last season. This year could be a turning point in his career one way or another. I suspect some small or major thing will drag his attention away again and ruin part of his season. Because his potential is so high, a season of struggles is a big letdown.
10 – Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals
Nothing goes perfectly for every team every season. The Cardinals are about due for some issues to overcome and I think Craig might be one of them. He was able to contribute in the World Series last season but his full recovery could have an impact on his performance to start the season. It happens very often to great players so it certainly is possible.
9 – Jean Segura – Milwaukee Brewers
Segura was a pleasant surprise for much of the season for the Brewers in 2013. He probably will be much the same for the balance of the next few years but expect some slump and struggle to begin with during what should be his second full season.
8 – Nelson Cruz – Baltimore Orioles
There are many who expect some manner of struggle from Cruz. One group who thinks it is clearly possible is the Orioles themselves. After all if they viewed his past output as a guarantee he would surely have gotten more than a one year deal with less than 10 million bucks.
7 – Domonic Brown – Philadelphia Phillies
A quick glance at the numbers Brown put up last year will tell you exactly why he was on the all-star team. Any time someone pulls down 27 home runs and 83 RBI you know it was a good year. Here is the thing about Brown though. Understand that 23 of those home runs and 67 of the RBI came in the first half last season and you can clearly see the drop-off that will likely extend into this season as well.
6 – Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates
Alvarez put up good numbers in the home run and RBI category last season but nearly everything else was down. It is possible to have a low .200’s batting average and have great power numbers but it isn’t easy and we should not expect him to be able to repeat the same this season.
5 – Carlos Beltran – New York Yankees
Beltran is well known by now for having a great and consistent output during the postseason. What he is also very likely to do however is suffer some significant drop-off in the regular season. The situation around the Yankees is a very good one overall right now so they will be fine with him probably having a few struggles. When they make the postseason there will be no such struggles however, so no worries there.
4 – Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds
Phillips’ efforts to keep himself focused on baseball are extremely admirable and might just work for a while. His numbers have been slightly dropping off from one season to the next in the last few years however. Look for the average to dip down a little bit lower this season and for the RBI and home run category to suffer as well.
3 – Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers
Though Fielder does not have the pressure of a new contract over his head this season, he does have the pressure to live up to a trade that brought him to the Rangers and upset some of the fan base. They have a lot of money tied up in Fielder now that they did not have tied up in him before. He will feel the pressure to earn that and likely take his postseason struggles over into the 2014 regular season.
2 – Torii Hunter – Detroit Tigers
Everything about the offense the Tigers will put on the field is going to be different. Just a piece or two has moved around but the overall affect will be larger than that. The only problem is that Hunter works really well under the offense the way it was before. Look for the change to cause a slight shift in his numbers this season. He will still be somewhat effective but he also could struggle a good bit.
1 – Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners
Cano signed this offseason’s version of Josh Hamilton’s 2013 offseason deal. We all know what happened to Hamilton in 2013 in large part because of the pressure to earn the new deal. Cano’s deal actually is larger and he has the added pressure that is brought on by the simple fact that the Mariners are putting a ton of faith in his abilities. It will inevitably lead to him pressing and struggling this year.