It is just about September and you are looking at your fantasy roster and thinking "where the hell did I go wrong? I drafted such a great team!" Well friends, sometimes things that look great on paper don't turn out to be exactly what we thought they might. And then other times they are so bad that it kills your season all together. Well, if you have more than one or two guys on this list below, chances are you aren't a happy camper when you think about Fantasy Baseball 2011, and chances are also that your team is on the lower third of the standings. I present to you the ten biggest busts of the 2011 season, why they were busts, and whether I think this was just a subpar season or whether this is going to be a trend that continues.
FantasyAlarm LITE has arrived! Get our premium email service FREE! First 100,000 users only. Sign up Today!
10. Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland Indians. It has been a rough year for Korea's best baseball player, but some of it hasn't been his fault although some of it has. Choo started out poorly with the DUI, and things never seemed to turn around after that. He had just one home run in May and June combined and only drove in 15 runs over that span. A hand injury cost him another chunk of the season, but even when he was healthy he hasn't been good. Choo's average is 40 percent less than it has been in recent seasons, and his power and speed are just a shell of what they have been. I've never been a fan of having to draft Choo where his average draft position is anyway, and after this subpar season I even fall farther off of his bandwagon. I would likely stay away from him in the upcoming season.
9. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals. Soria had saved 40 games in two of the last three seasons and even though he was on one of the worst teams in baseball, he had remained an elite closer. His strikeout rate was high, his walk rate low, and his ERA had been under 2.00 in two of the last three years. Now he sits at just 23 saves on the year, his ERA is over 4.00, and he even was removed from the closer's role for a short period earlier this season. Through it all I stayed the course with Soria and I will continue to do so. I feel he will bounceback again next season and return to save 30-35 games with an ERA under 2.50. I will enjoy that he will go later in drafts and I will be able to get him in the ninth or tenth round instead of the fifth or sixth like he went this season. There are certain guys that you can just remain confident in from year to year, and even though he has disappointed this time around, Soria is still one of those guys that I feel good about.
8. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins. It has been a horrendously disappointing season for all of those who picked Hanley with one of the top few picks of the draft, but there have been a ton of issues with him. I know that I said in the intro that I didn't want injuries to be a major factor in making this list because they are unpredictable, but there have been so many other things with Hanley. He has been benched, he has been moved around in the batting order, he has not run out ground balls, and he has been laxed in the field. Even more concerning than his lack of power and his lack of stolen bases has been the horrendous dip in batting average as his number is currently about 60 points lower than it was last season. The funny thing is with Hanley is that I don't think that this will cause him to slip very far in drafts next season because of the dearth of talent at the shortstop position. You might be able to get him fifth or sixth overall instead of second or third, but don't expect him to fall into the second round, even with this awful, awful season.
7. Mat Latos, San Diego Padres. This could be more of a personal one for me, but I had HUGE hopes for Latos coming into the season, and while he has been better in the second half of the season, this is a far cry from what I was hoping for. Even though his ERA is respectable and under 4.00, I would have never guessed that he would have a 6-12 record, fewer strikeouts than innings pitched, and already more walks than last season. I still think the future for this kid is super bright, and I am excited at the thought of not having to draft him too high in 2012 after this disappointing season because I will be predicting a monster bounceback season from him. There is no doubt that the talent is there and although he hasn't been good this year, I wouldn't hold it against him when you are looking for a number two pitcher next season.
6. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners. He has been on a tear the last two weeks, but one cannot deny the disappointment that has been Ichiro. He still might get to 200 hits again this season, but one thing you could always count on him for is batting average. In his ten years since coming to the United States, Suzuki had never hit below .300, but as of now he is hovering right around the .270 mark. His stolen bases aren't terrible in the low 30s, but this is not what you expected when you selected fantasy baseball's favorite Japanese import. He will be 38 years old in October and you have to start thinking that this is an indication that his best days are behind him and perhaps he isn't going to be one of the best in the game at finding holes in the defense anymore. With the horrible team around him and his advancing age, I am worried that this is not just one down season.
5. Casey McGehee, Milwaukee Brewers. Was it the magical fantasy age of 27 that was the cause of McGehee's breakout campaign in 2010, or is he really that talented? After a nice 2009, and a big step forward in 2010, many thought that the hot corner guy for the Beer Makers was for real, but oh no, he really pulled the rug out from under fantasy players in 2011. McGehee's average is down nearly 40 points and he has less than half of the home runs he had last season with just a month to go. He never showed 25 homer power in the minors, so I guess we shouldn't be overly surprised by the regression this season, but it seemed like everyone was sure that he was going to be a solid performer, including myself. Even though third base isn't the strongest position in fantasy baseball these days, I think I would have a hard time ranking McGehee among the top ten going into drafts in 2012.
4. Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies/Cleveland Indians. I'm not sure how many times I have written about Baldy in 2011 and how much of a terrible season he is having, but I bet it is close to a dozen. Ever since the post All-Star Break of 2010, this guy has just been ultra hittable and has seemed to have lost the giddy-up on his fastball. He is still striking guys out at a decent clip, but he is well below .500 in his win/loss record, and he continues to give up a ton of hits and a ton of walks. He has already given up more home runs this season than he ever has before in his career, and I think the move to the American League is only going to make things worse. There is no way that you can consider this guy as your fantasy ace in 2012, although I think some players will. I would not feel comfortable if he was anymore than the third best pitcher on my squad.
3. Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals. He took a small step back in his final year in Philadelphia, but this season has been a colossal flop on the face. With just one month to go in the season, Werth is still hitting just over his weight in the low .230s and he has about half of the home runs that he did in 2010. I think a lot of fantasy players saw this one coming, but you still had to draft Werth fairly high so those of you who took the chance on him have been looking for the nearest bridge. I'm not sure if he got lazy with the big contract, he felt too much pressure to be the man, or that he wasn't in that tiny ballpark in Philly with the nasty lineup around him, but Werth has been a shell of what he was the past two seasons. I often question players that break out in their very late 20s or early 30s, and this looks like it could be the case of a couple hit wonder who got paid, and then was never the same again. I caution against Werth again in 2012.
2. Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox. The biggest offensive free agent of the winter, Crawford got a ton of money from the Red Sox and also commanded a ton of respect from fantasy owners as I saw him drafted as high as second overall. I knew that was crazy at the time, but I didn't realize exactly how insane it would turn out to be. He has been a bit better of late, but if you had told me with one month to go he wouldn't have ten homers or twenty steals I would have eaten my hat! Oh, but that is where he sits right now and fantasy owners who used a first round pick on him are likely in eighth place or perhaps much worse. I do believe that 2012 will be better for Crawford, but he certainly left people who drafted him drinking themselves into oblivion.
1. Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox. I could have gone with a number of different White Sox on this list, but the creme de la creme would certainly be Dunn. Alex Rios, Juan Pierre, and Matt Thornton certainly apply here, but no one embodies a bust quite like Adam Dunn. For months we were talking that he had to turn it around, had to turn it around, had to turn it around, and every time he hit a home run I personally thought that it was the one that would set him loose. Alas, that break never came and a few days before the end of August, Dunn still is hitting in the .160s and has just over 10 home runs. I would have never expected such a collosal disappointment from the big guy, but there's no denying it now, he is the biggest bust of the season.
Want to read more? Check out our Fantasy Alarm in-season fantasy baseball coverage complete with nightly fantasy baseball recaps, two start pitchers, best waiver pickups, injury reports and in-depth minor league baseball coverage.
Rounding The Bases - Todd Zola Looks At The First 10 Rounds of a Likely 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft
Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola - Looking Ahead To The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season
Rounding The Bases - Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (20 Prospects for '14)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 24
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (September Call-Ups)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 23
Rounding the Bases: A Day For the Little Man
Rounding The Bases: Morse, Willingham On the Move?
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Roster Expansion)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 22
Rounding the Bases: Five Surging Pitchers & Hitters
Rounding the Bases: Rookies, Veterans & Roster Movement
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Pitching Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21
Master Notes From Todd Zola - Taking A Look at Starting Pitching In Keeper Leagues
Rounding the Bases: Small Names, Big Production?
Rounding the Bases: A First for Stephen Strasburg and the (Near) Final Round-Up
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Hitting Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week Twenty