Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 28, 2006
BASEBALL: Going Down, Down, Down, Down Part III

Part III of my look at young or still-establishing-themselves players whose stock has fallen dramatically in 2006 and/or 2005 - the AL West.

Jeremy Reed: The guy who inspired this list, a very high-average hitter in the minors for the White Sox who hit .397 in a 58 at bat cup of coffee in 2004, Reed struggled in 2005 (.254) and has struggled even worse this season (.217) after returning early from a wrist injury.

Robinson Tejeda: 85.2 IP, 72 K, 67 hits at age 23 in 2005 - Tejeda has always been wild, but he showed promise last year. This season has been a bath of cold water, a 9.78 ERA in 5 starts, and 42 baserunners in 19.1 IP.

Kameron Loe: 3.42 ERA at age 23 in 2005 now looks like a fluke.

Laynce Nix: The 25-year-old outfielder had holes in his game in 2003 and 2004; the past two years, it's been all holes, as he's surfaced just for a 3-for-32 slump this season.

Jeff Mathis: Never a top prospect, opportunity knocked this season when Ben Molina's departure left the Angels without a regular catcher, but the 23-year-old Mathis wasn't home. He went 4-for-37 in April and has batted just twice since, while Mike Napoli has seized the catching job. He's at best now on a train for Backup Catcherville.

Dallas McPherson: McPherson's a classic guy whose star has dimmed due to injuries; he's continued to flash decent power when healthy long enough to get into a groove, but he missed April in the minors and has missed July with back spasms, and you can't establish yourself that way.

Casey Kotchman: With Darin Erstad breaking down and offense in short supply in Anaheim, the 23-year-old Kotchman's time to shine was now. But he batted .162 in April and .091 in May before the Angels had to DL him with mononucleosis.

Rich Harden: No questions remain about the 24-year-old Oakland ace's performance, but the questions about his durability only mount a he's thrown just 163 innings in 2005 and 2006 combined.

Dan Johnson: Despite a bad late-season slump that marred a fine rookie campaign, the 26-year-old Johnson entered the season with a hammerlock on the A's first base job but potentially a narrow window of opportunity ahead of super-prospect Daric Barton. The good news, for Johnson: Barton has struggled badly at AAA Sacramento, raising questions about his own prospect status, and the A's had the patience to sit out a terrible early-season slump (Johnson batted .196 with with 2 HR and 8 RBI as the everyday 1B in April and May) to be rewarded with a hot June in which he batted .321/.543/.406. But Johnson tumbled back into a slump in early July and the A's finally sent him down, indicating that Billy Beane's faith in him may be waning.

Joe Blanton: Blanton's another cold-hot-cold story - he won over some early skeptics in 2005 by raising his K rates as he came down the stretch to a 3.53 ERA in 201.1 innings last year, but regressed and struggled with his command in April and May, and has yet to post an ERA below 4.00 in any month. Blanton projects as a fourth starter now.

Bobby Crosby: An assortment of nagging injuries in 2005 and 2006 and a .231/.343/.298 line this season have taken much of the bloom off the 26-year-old Crosby. I still expect good seasons from him, but a long and smoothly successful career seems much less likely than it did a year or two ago.

Mark Ellis: Ellis looked to have hit his stride with the bat last year with a .314 average to go with a great glove after missing all of 2004. At 29, Ellis could have been entering a nice couple of year run, but his .220/.328/.286 line this season means he'll be fighting for jobs again in the near future.

Keith Ginter: Having lost out to Ellis, Ginter - who came to Oakland at age 29 in 2005 with a career .257/.448/.344 line - batted .161 part-time last season and has spent most of 2005 and 2006 at Sacramento, despite a major league contract. His .278/.431/.361 line at AAA this season is solid but not enough to attract the suitors he needs to bring him back to the majors.

UPDATE: Of course, this is probably where I disclose that my AL list here includes three members of my 2006 rotisserie team - Dan Johnson, Brian Anderson, and Josh Towers - five if you count the reserve draft (Willie Harris and Kyle Lohse).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Love the Bruce reference in the title. It was that, wasn't it??? (I'm Goin' Down from Born In The USA)

Posted by: Peter N at July 28, 2006 11:10 AM

Jeremy Reed...yet another former White Sox farm hand.

Plenty of Sox fans were miffed when Ken Williams deal this guy. Yet another young outfielder from the Sox system that never manifested.

Posted by: jake at July 28, 2006 12:13 PM

Proof that minor league prospects are generally worth the price if it brings back proven talent.

Posted by: jim at July 28, 2006 12:46 PM

No question.

Jeremy Reed yielding Freddy Garcia and Aaron Miles (BARF) brought in Juan Uribe.

Posted by: jake at July 28, 2006 2:38 PM

It's so hard to tell. How many times have young quick proto-stars actually panned out? I can think of Stan Musial. There are a lot more Shane Spensers than there are Stans.

Want the question answered? Milledge still has all the potential in the world. Name five people who wouldn't pul the trigger on a Willis Milledge trade.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at July 28, 2006 2:46 PM

Thanks Jim, I feel validated for the first time since 1988.

Posted by: Lou Gorman at July 28, 2006 5:26 PM

Nine out of ten times the veteran player in the trade was more valuable than the prospects, but the most lopsided trades are usually the Pierzynski-for-Nathan-and-Liriano type trades where contenders trade two future stars for a guy who didn't even help them that much in their playoff run.

Posted by: Hei Lun Chan at July 28, 2006 10:36 PM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg