By Ryan Mayer CBS Local Sports
The MLB All-Star Game is a little more than a week away. The starting line-ups were announced on Sunday and the reserves and injury replacements will be selected during the course of this week. Baseball’s brightest stars will have their chance to showcase themselves next Tuesday, but what about those who haven’t shone brightly this season? I’ve decided to set-up up my own opposite All-Star team with one guy at each spot and a lefty and righty starter consisting of guys who have had the worst first halves. The main designation is that these players have to still be on the big club, and played in at least 60% of the team’s games. CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa compiled his list here.
Catcher: Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners
Zunino has played in 74 of the Mariners 82 games so far this season and hasn’t exactly lived up to his top prospect billing. He’s hitting .162/.229/.307 with 9 HR’s and 18 RBI. The 24 year old also owns a 5 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio which is well, not good. For a player that has played in all but 8 of his team’s games so far this year, he’s severely underperforming. Then again, so are the Mariners based on expectations. Rays catcher Rene Rivera was also in the conversation for this spot.
First Base: Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox
I agree with Mike on this one, Napoli has been atrocious this season. Hitting .195/.294/.358 with 78 K vs. 27 BB, it’s amazing that he continues to stay in the line-up. But it’s not as if the Red Sox have many readily available options. David Ortiz can’t play first anymore and there have been murmurs of maybe moving Hanley Ramirez in from the outfield but neither are really great options. Close second here though is Ryan Howard, the king of terrible first basemen in recent years, but his moderately higher average (.217) and 13 home runs keep him off this list.
Second Base: Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
Utley is a Philadelphia icon, but he’s been just horrible this season. Like the previous two players on this list he remains below the Mendoza line at .179/.257/.275. Combine that with the lack of power production (4 HR) despite an especially hitter friendly ballpark and you have your starting second baseman here. Stephen Drew has irritated Yankees fans throughout the season but he gets left off because at least he’s producing a semblance of power and RBI.
Third Base: Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox
Beckham narrowly beats out the Tigers Nick Castellanos for this spot in my book. That’s strictly because I’m giving Castellanos the benefit of the doubt because of his age (he’s only 23). Beckham has always been a light hitting player, but at .207/.276/.331 this season he’s been especially poor. The White Sox like the Mariners have been wildly disappointing after the moves they made to try and solidify the team in the offseason.
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins, Los Angeles Dodgers
Rollins was supposed to be part of a remodeling of the infield done by the Dodgers this offseason. While, he’s been okay with the glove this year, his bat has been bad. Hitting .208/.263/.322 this season he certainly has earned a place on this list and is just ahead of Alexei Ramirez keeping the White Sox from placing back-to-back guys on this list.
Left Field: Matt Joyce, Los Angeles Angels
We don’t have to go very far to fill out the first outfield position on this team. Joyce has been underwhelming this season with a .192/.284/.313 triple slash line since coming over from Tampa this offseason. The hole that he is leaving out in left will force the Angels to look for an outfielder at the deadline.
Center Field: Sam Fuld, Oakland Athletics
Fuld has been a solid contributor in past years and is mainly known for his defense. You can get away with being a mostly defensive guy when your average is in the .230 range, but when it drops down to .212 like Fuld’s has this season, well you’ve got problems. To be fair to Fuld, he’s never really been an everyday guy playing 118 games at most (2013) in his career. Through 72 games this season you can see why.
Right Field: Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
Polanco and the Pirates were close to an extension this offseason before talks broke down and the season began. Maybe that’s hanging over his head and is part of the reason for his poor performance to start the year. But, I can’t ignore a .231/.300/.330 line. The Pirates and their fans are hoping that Polanco finds a way to turn this around in the second half.
Right Handed Pitcher: Kyle Lohse, Milwaukee Brewers
Mike has Kyle Kendrick in this spot and that’s hard to argue with. As he points out, since that opening day start Kendrick has been utterly horrendous. But Lohse gets the nod for me because of the contract he’s toting here. Kendrick is making $5.5 million this season whereas Lohse is making $11 million. Lohse also with a higher ERA this season a 6.24.
Left Handed Pitcher: CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
There’s no argument to be had here. Sabathia, for as good as he once was, has broken down consistently over the past three seasons and this is the low point. He owns a 1.40 WHIP and is allowing opponents to hit .299 off of him. That’s bad any way that you try and slice it. Add to that his contract the next 2 years? Yikes.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email or tweet him.