My most recent “Wild Card” post over on SI.com’s Fungoes blog compiled an all-star starting line-up of underachieving stars from the early going this season, but those players just scratched the surface. If you’re wondering where your favorite 225-pound weakling is, check out my runners-up below the fold . . .
1B Paul Konerko (.213/.308/.369) the first of many White Sox to make an appearance, Richie Sexson (.117/.284/.355), Adam LaRoche (.195/.311/.336), Nomar Garciaparra (.282/.328/.350), Sean Casey and Aubrey Huff are perpetually overrated, but still better than their respective .255/.312/.319 and .253/.287/.376 lines, special honors to Craig Wilson’s .172/.304/.259 in a platoon role and the power outages experienced by Ryan Howard (.204/.380/.429, six homers, but only four other extra-base hits) and Lance Berkman (.265/.412/.368, five homers but only one other extra base hit).
2B World Champ Tadahito Iguchi (.217/.313/.333), Batting Champ Freddy Sanchez (.286/.316/.342), World Champion cast-off Ronnie Belliard (.264/.305/.321), second-generation sophomore Josh Barfield (.230/.259/.322), and Jamey Carroll, who’s managed not only to underperform Jamey Carroll-level expectations, but has also hit .185/.312/.207 as a member of the Colorado Rockies without ever having been one of their catching prospects.
SS Omar Vizquel (.235/.273/.283) who may finally be done at age 40, Adam Everett (.192/.248/.260) who is furthering Rey Ordoñez’s research into the breaking point of managers who played during the Mark Belanger era of shortstops, Stephen Drew (.230/.299/.303) whose only underperforming against hype, and Felipe Lopez (.246/.295/.364). It’s an indication of how poorly things are going in Washington that the Nats wised up and benched Cristian Guzman only to have both members of the keystone combo they’re starting in his place make this list with numbers worse than both Guzman’s career .260/.298/.374 and current .266/.338/.375.
3B Chone Figgins (.123/.169/.178) who missed April due to a pair of broken fingers on his right hand, requisite White Sock Joe Crede (.215/.259/.319), Eric Chavez (.240/.297/.402) harking back to his even worse start to 2005, possible flashes in the pan Morgan Ensberg (.216/.319/.345) and Garrett Atkins (.228/.309/.341), possible prospect bust Andy Marte (.195/.233/.341), possible switch flippers Alex Gordon (.195/.306/.309, but .297/.350/.486 over the last ten days) and Ryan Zimmerman (.250/.305/.417, but slugging .537 in May), and Edwin Encarnacion (.220/.303/.284), who just returned from a time-out in triple-A.
C Ivan Rodriguez (.266/.275/.399) who has hit the bewitching age for catchers: 35, Michael Barrett (.243/.290/.426) undoing the good work of the last three seasons in his walk year, and Dioner Navarro, who may still be a 23-year-old question mark, but has enough of a major league track record to prove he’s better than his current .184/.244/.254.
RF Bobby Abreu’s rival head case J. D. Drew (.237/.346/.333), top prospect Delmon Young (.240/.283/.377), requisite Chisock and 2006 MVP candidate Jermaine Dye (.229/.289/.471), likely flash-in-pan Emil Brown (.219/.280/.298), confirmed flash-in-pan Jason Lane (.176/.187/.378), and the little that’s left of Preston Wilson (.219/.265/.313)
CF The perpetually and once again injured Rocco Baldelli (.204/.268/.358), the similarly disabled Dave Roberts (.216/.283/.371), Coco Crisp (.240/.303/.340) who no longer has the hand injury as an excuse, and Andrew Jones (.216/.338/.401) who is hitting an Abreu-like .162/.253/.243 in May.
LF David Dellucci (.227/.285/.336) a solid career fourth outfielder who likely enjoyed a comparatively small-sample fluke over his last 800 plate appearances, and the thoroughly washed up and currently injured Garret Anderson (.263/.265/.389).
DH Frank Thomas’s Oakland successor and eventual Hall-mate Mike Piazza (.282/.339/.379), Gary Sheffield (.239/.355/.423) who’s heating up in May, and Shea Hillenbrand (.237/.252/.309) who just might be out of baseball before the year’s over.
Closer B. J. Ryan (12.46 ERA and Tommy John surgery), and Joe Borowski (7.94 ERA) which proves how hard saves are to get, as Joe Bo has 14 of them.