Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 17, 2009
BASEBALL: Taking A Dive

Regular reader/commenter Jim Anderson has an excellent Part I of II piece in the Hardball Times on hitters having spectacular second-half collapses.

Carney Lansford's appearance on the list is no surprise; George Brett's is more surprising given his usual pattern as a hot-weather hitter, but 1983 was an unusual year for him. Several of these are memorable collapses or dropoffs from memorable first halves.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:14 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

A few names I'll be looking for in the top ten:

Jose Reyes, 2007
Butch Hobson, 1978 (although his more famous liabilities in the second half were with the glove)
Reggie Jackson, 1969

Posted by: Jerry at August 17, 2009 4:44 PM

Interesting to see Doug Decinces on that list. My memory of hi is of a slow starter who turned it on sometime in June every year.

Posted by: DD at August 17, 2009 4:56 PM

How about Jeffrey Leonard 1989. I had him in a league that year. He was great for the first half among the league leaders in RBIs and made the all-star team. I remember being disappointed in the second half....

Posted by: Paul at August 17, 2009 10:16 PM

Nagging injuries can add up. Fans seem to forget that players often try to play through all kinds of pain.

Posted by: stan at August 18, 2009 7:18 AM

Thanks for the post.

I decided I could not include any individual BoSox player from 1978. That was a 25 man effort in every way shape and form. Evans suffered a cataclysmic offensive decline, Luis Tiant and Bill Lee went from good to terrible and then there was Don Zimmer. No, I just couldn't go with poor Butch Hobson or any other single member of that ill-fated team.

Leonard's demise was pretty pedestrian at

.271/.319/.449 15 HRs, 58 RBIs to
.234/.279/.385 9 HRs, 35 RBIs

A downturn for sure but not anything to wild.

You might be a little to close to the Jose Reyes thing. From a statistical point of view he was certainly less good in the 2nd half

.307/.387/.439 4 HRs, 35 RBIs, 46 SBs
.251/.316/.402 8 HRs, 22 RBIs, 32 SBs

Actually the 2000 version of Derek Bell who played for the Mets nearly made the Top 20 (it was sort of either him or Brian Roberts who I felt bad including). Bell was a nightmare in the second half. Bell was a brutal drop of

.318/.398/.498 12 HRs, 53 RBIs to
.187/.272/.315 5 HRs, 16 RBIs

However, two things worked against me putting him on there. One, the Mets made the playoffs and ultimately went to the World Series (apparently Mr. Bell's services were no longer required as he was left off the playoff roster I believe). Two, he was Derek Bell.

Posted by: jim at August 18, 2009 12:17 PM

There were a few boppers who I had in my raw data that I had to think about whether to include. Two really stood out. One was 1969 Reggie who was a nearly inhuman

.287/.414/.716 37 HRs (HR every 8.76 ABs!), 79 RBIs to

.258/.406/.453 10 HRs (HR every 22.5 ABs), 39 RBIs

the other was 1970 Rico Carty who went

.365/.454/.666 23 HRs (HR every 13 ABs), 74 RBIs to

.369/.452/.447 2 HRs (HR evers 89.5 ABs), 27 RBIs

In both cases (especially Carty) they kept hitting and getting on base, they just stopped hitting it out as much. Clearly there was no way anyone was going to keep up the HR rate Reggie was (he would have hit 63 HRs that year) and Carty was not a power guy (not including 1970 he only hit more than 23 HRs in a season once).

I was hesitant to ding them on power drop offs alone but I could see a case being made for Reggie's 1969 second half. Clearly, the list is subjective and there were lots of guys I came up with who had pretty interesting stories.

Posted by: jim at August 18, 2009 12:45 PM

I am surprised that Leonard's drop off was not worse. I remember being so thrilled to get all those RBIs from a throwaway guy, and then for weeks his RBI total barely moved, or so it seemed. But, I agree with you that drop off was not that bad, especially considering that he was not that good to begin with, other than the RBI total.

Derek Bell did play in the first round of the playoffs for the Mets in 2000 and promptly suffered a high ankle strain in the first game which knocked him out for the rest of it. Considering how badly he did in the second half and how brutal he was the next year, that may have been for the best as far as the Mets were concerned.

Posted by: Paul at August 18, 2009 8:10 PM
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