It’s fun to argue about who did and didn’t deserve to be voted on the All-Star team each year. Fantasy baseball competitors often find themselves backing some of their own players as All-Star snubs. More often than that, owners lament the the players that have dug a massive hole in the standings. These are the guys that aren’t injured, but you wished they were. For whatever reason, you just can’t quit them.
Below we’ll name our 2011 All-Scrub Team, filled with the players drafted in fantasy leagues that have been the biggest disappointments in the first half of the season. Feel free to argue the picks in the comments section, especially if you’ve had to endure a season-long headache from one of the Scrub snubs.
1Bs Adam Dunn (S), Justin Morneau
Could anyone else be starting at first? Dunn currently has 42 hits in 251 at-bats, giving him a .167 average this season. He’s never been particularly great in the category, but this is beyond pathetic. His tape-measure power hasn’t saved him, as he’s only notched eight HRs on the year. His .621 OPS is over 250 points lower than his career mark. In a word, “yuck.” Morneau has now spent about a month on the DL, but a .225/.281/.338 line coupled with a high draft stock definitely earns him a spot here.
2Bs Dan Uggla (S), Aaron Hill
Uggla is sure living up to his name in 2011. One season removed from a .287 average and 33 home runs, the Braves prize off-season acquisition has disappointed with a .178 average and 13 bombs through 320 at-bats. He’s posted similar numbers to Kelly Johnson, but at least the Diamondback has chipped in eight steals while keeping his average above .200, making him the 13th best 2B-eligible player in Yahoo leagues. Hill has raised his average from 2010′s .205 level, but he lost all his power along the way, hitting just four HRs in 269 at-bats this season.
3Bs Chone Figgins (S), Casey McGehee
Not too long ago, Figgins was stealing 40-plus bags a season while hitting in the .290 range. Because of that history, he was drafted relatively high in many fantasy leagues despite only hitting .259 last season. That low average proved to be a harbinger of things to come for Figgins, who has been relegated to a part-time role by hitting .185 while posting an OPS of .476 and stealing nine bases in 15 attempts. Don’t expect him to be found on any fantasy lineups in 2012. Meanwhile, McGehee emerged as an RBI machine last year but has a .585 OPS with only four HRs in 2011.
SSs Derek Jeter (S), Ian Desmond
One can certainly make a case for Hanley Ramirez as our SS starter, but while he’s chipped in an acceptable seven HRs and 14 SBs thus far (albeit with a low average), Jeter has given fantasy owners next to nothing all season. His average had long been one of the most appealing aspects of his fantasy game, but he’s currently hitting .257 after posting a .270 average last year. The power has dried up, with The Captain sitting at two HRs this season while his seven steals give him only marginal value. Desmond is hitting just .215 with three HRs, but his 20 steals have at least made him useful in one fantasy category.
Owners certainly felt comfortable drafting Suzuki as a borderline fantasy starter, even after he hit .223 with three HRs after the All-Star break in 2010. This season has felt like an extension of that second half, as the A’s backstop is hitting around that same average with only six HRs in 75 games to date. Nothing in his numbers suggests he could be getting better anytime soon. Soto was a much higher draft pick that Suzuki, but he’s posting a similarly terrible average (.230) while hitting eight HRs. Before his modest three-game hit streak, the Cubs catcher was batting just .217.
Crawford and Choo certainly did more than enough to make our starting roster before hitting the DL in June. Crawford was pegged by some as the top OF in the game after his move to Boston, but he’s only hitting .243/.275/.384 in 2011; all marks would be career lows for Crawford save for slugging, which hasn’t been below .400 since 2003, his first full year with Tampa Bay. Choo was a popular OF2 pick before hitting .244/.333/.353 with five homers and 11 steals in 266 at-bats this season. Heyward was considered the next best thing in fantasy baseball, but nagging injuries have conspired to suppress his upside, and he’s hitting .225 with eight HRs and four steals this season.
Patient Sizemore owners had to wait a few weeks in May to get the power/speed threat, who then missed significant action in June. He still managed to cobble together 200 at-bats, but hit .225 before last night’s 2-for-4 performance. Eight HRs and no steals with a 66:14 K:BB ratio show just how poorly he’s performed. Young is also on the DL but tops 200 at-bats, hitting .256 with two HRs and one SBs, making him just about useless in every fantasy category. Wells may have found himself a starter on our team heading into June with his .183/.224/.303 line, but he then hit .276 with six HRs over the next month to regain a little value.
Jimenez can’t be blamed in full for only having three wins while the season is already in July, but with a 4.39 ERA and 1.35 WHIP he sure hasn’t helped. He was likely the only pitcher of the above group to be drafted as a fantasy ace, so we’ll give him starter status on our team. Scherzer has allowed five runs or more in eight of his last starts, ballooning his ERA to 4.90 and causing many fantasy owners to abandon ship. Alarmingly, he’s only recorded more than four strikeouts once in his last six starts. Latos struggled early before smoothing out a bit, earning him a 4.26 ERA and 1.39 WHIP with five wins so far. He’s already allowed 36 walks after surrendering just 50 free passes last year.
Liriano was the leader in the clubhouse for this team after posting a 9.13 ERA in five April starts, but his ERA has progressively dropped, staying below 5.00 for his last three starts. He’s another one having issues with walks. Like Liriano, Dempster has been quietly undoing the damage of an awful start to the season, bringing his ERA from 6.91 on May 18 to 4.99 after his most recent start. Aside from one six-walk effort, he’s looked excellent in his last five games. Lilly, on the other hand, had been bombed in three straight stars before his “quality” six-inning, three-run effort yesterday. His ERA now sits at 4.94.
RPs Ryan Franklin (S), Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Matt Thornton
Franklin managed to pitch himself out of a job in the first 10 days of the season, blowing three of his first four save opportunities. The Cardinals mercifully cut ties with him recently, about two and a half months after fantasy owners had already done the same. Soria looks fine now, but the top-tier RP was removed as closer for a time after an ugly week in May brought his ERA up to 6.55 after two months. Nathan has dealt with injury issues this year, but he was removed from the closing role long before he hit the DL. With Matt Capps a trade candidate and also underwhelming in the ninth, Nathan could regain his job by the end of the month despite his current 6.52 ERA. Thornton was considered one of the best options of the lower tier closers, but blown saves in four straight appearances earned him a quick hook in April. His 3.45 ERA is OK; his 1.69 WHIP is not.