The All-Star Break is upon us, and until game action starts up again on Friday, we're going to do a brief season in review of the 2012 MLB season thusfar. Our staff has voted on a variety of awards, and we're going to roll them out over the next four days.
While there have been our share of impressive teams this year, there have been a few teams that looked like they had great things ahead of them this year that have fallen flat on their face so far this season. Some of these teams have more hope than others at turning it around in the second half, but all will start the dog days of the season in a worse position than any of us imagined.
Most Disappointing Teams
Phillies (five votes)
Tigers (one vote)
Rockies (one vote)
Marlins (one vote)
The Phillies signed Juan Pierre to a minor league deal this offseason, and he was their starting left fielder hitting second yesterday. That about sums up the Phillies season. The expected platoon from John Mayberry and Laynce Nix in left hasn't worked out due to injuries to Nix and Mayberry realizing that…he's John Mayberry. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley just came back, and the team has won one game with Utley, and is winless with Howard. Placido Polanco looks cooked at third base. Shane Victorino is struggling offensively, and after an outburst in the clubhouse on Sunday, looks to not be long for Philadelphia. Freddy Galvis broke a bone in his back, and then was suspended for PED use. Jim Thome was extremely uneffective as a first baseman/pinch hitter for the team, and after interleague play ended, Thome was dealt to the Orioles. Cliff Lee got his first win of the year on the Fourth of July. Roy Halladay strained his lat and hasn't pitched since the end of May. Kyle Kendrick has made 13 starts. The bullpen has been an abject disaster outside of Jonathan Papelbon, who has saved nearly half of the Phillies games, but hasn't been used in key non-save situations. This Phillies team is 13 games under .500 and 14 games out of first place. It's going to take a miracle for the Phillies to make the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
The Detroit Tigers are in nowhere near as bad of a position as the Phillies, sitting two games above .500 and just 3.5 games out in the AL Central. But this was a Tigers team that has the dominant Miguel Cabrera in their lineup, and the beast-like Justin Verlander in the rotation. They also just added Prince Fielder, the marquee free agent on the market this winter. There were higher expectations for this team than them floating around .500 at the break. Austin Jackson has been a monster on both offense and defense for the Tigers this year, and Cabrera and Fielder have been roughly what the team expected, but the rest of the offense has struggled. Catcher Alex Avila has taken a massive step back this season, and the team has gotten less than nothing from Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch. Calling the team's defense, which many projected to be bad, "awful" might be an understatement. Aside from the amazing Verlander, the pitching staff has underperformed their peripherals…likely due to that terrible defense. But yet, despite all that, the Tigers are still right there in the AL Central. Unreal.
The Colorado Rockies have a good offense, but it had the potential to be great. Dexter Fowler has been great, and Carlos Gonzalez once again remains awesome. Catching prospect Wilin Rosario has shown unreal power (and little else), while franchise shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has missed half of the season. Colorado's pitching staff though….oh my. Their best pitcher has been middle reliever Matt Belisle. Jeremy Guthrie, the team's big offseason pitching acquisition, has been an unmitigated disaster. Jamie Moyer's ten start tenure with the team was beyond embarrassing. Jhoulys Chacin forgot how to pitch, and was demoted to the minors. Do I need to continue? No matter how good the Rockies offense may be, they're not going anywhere higher than the basement with a pitching staff this wretched.
Finally, we have the Miami Marlins, who spent a mint in free agency this winter. Florida's rotation has actually been very good, with all five starters throwing at least 100 innings and not missing a start all year. Ricky Nolasco has the highest ERA of the bunch at 4.35. The bullpen, which the Marlins spent so much time attempting to improve after the 2010 season, has stunk aside from Randy Choate and Steve Cishek. Considering that Choate is a situational arm that has 39 appearances, yet only 22 innings pitched, this isn't a good thing. High-priced closer Heath Bell has a 6.75 ERA and has blown six saves. The offense has also been very, very bad outside of Giancarlo Stanton, who is now on the DL after knee surgery. Jose Reyes has a .714 OPS. Emilio Bonifacio has only played in 36 games. Hanley Ramirez is only OPSing .747 at third base, but there hasn't been much controversy surrounding him…for once. Gaby Sanchez has been so bad at first base that the Marlins traded for the corpse of Carlos Lee. Out of the Marlins three big free agent signings this winter, Mark Buerhle has really been the only one to live up to the expectations set for the Fish, who are now nine games out in the NL East.