Examining a handful of players who underperformed fantasy investments badly in 2014.
Last week, I identified a quintuplet of players who vastly outperformed their preseason fantasy valuation, making them five of the most valuable fantasy players of the 2014 season. We flip to the infuriating side of the coin: five players who perhaps disappointed more than anyone else in Major League Baseball. It should be noted that I didn’t include guys like Joey Votto, who lost significant value due to time on the disabled list. These are players who unexpectedly sucked in 2014, but they did so for an extended period of time. There was no respite. These guys started 30-plus games or logged 500-plus plate appearances, and they were likely in your starting lineup all year. Those are the true value killers.
Let’s commiserate together.
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Brandon Wood is in the midst of yet another disappointing season at age 27. What other players have bottomed out when they were supposed to be peaking?
You couldn’t ask for a better place to hit than Colorado Springs. Last year, the hometown Sky Sox batted .305/.366/.489 as a team and allowed a 6.49 ERA as a team. It’s the craziest place to hit in the craziest league to hit, and it’s where Brandon Wood is hitting .253/.289/.418, with 19 strikeouts and three walks. It’s his age-27 season.
It’s wrong to say that age-27 is the magical year when everybody sets new personal bests. Some hitters peak in their 30s and some in their early 20s and some when they’re 25 and some when they’re 29. Twenty-seven is just a number, and when it starts a sentence, a hyphenated word. It’s only as significant as you make it.
Christian Friedrich, LHP, Colorado Rockies (24)
With Brian Matusz off the board, Colorado grabbed arguably the second-best college left-hander in the 2008 draft when it snapped up Friedrich with the 25thpick. He signed quickly and was able to make 11 starts in the Northwest and South Atlantic Leagues, striking out 65 batters over 48 innings.
Ease up there, Hemingway, we're talking about pitchers, and whether we're missing a few from the last couple of decades.
When we see the level of offense go up or down in baseball-and it has been down dramatically this season-we tend to attribute it to everything other than the players themselves. In any given downturn, it's the bats, or the baseballs, or the ballparks, or the drugs that the players are injecting themselves with. Or all of those things. But what if it isn't all about context? What if, when offense is up, it literally does mean that there aren't very many good pitchers?