Scout sorts out disappointments; Tigers' bonus baby
Posted: Monday August 28, 2006 12:27PM; Updated: Tuesday August 29, 2006 12:17AM
Injuries have derailed Bobby Crosby's season, but his slump hasn't kept the A's from taking control of the AL West.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
If someone erected busts for all of baseball's Biggest Busts of 2006, the vast collection could encircle a baseball stadium.
There are so many busts, in fact, that I am breaking them up by league. Today it's the American League, tomorrow the National League. Even in AL, the supposed "good" league, there are plenty of dropoffs and dropouts, downfalls and disappointments.
It's hard to know what happened to all these guys, so I've consulted a longtime big league scout to help ferret out the problem or problems. With some it may be a little about age; with others it's surely injuries. With a few, the problem may be more chemical in nature. Another possibility, of course, is that many of these guys have simply stunk, that their bad years can be filed under the heading, "Hey, it happens.''
Here are the AL's Biggest Busts of 2006 (I'm grading on a curve, against expectations):
25. Adam Kennedy, 2B, Angels. He once hit three home runs in a playoff game but has hit only two this year. "Weird uppercut swing,'' the scout said.
24. Carl Everett, ex-Mariner. This obvious bust (.658 OPS) wanted to bust up manager Mike Hargrove's office after being informed that he might have to take a seat. If anything, he should have been grateful to Grover, who gave Everett more at-bats than he deserved.
23. Aaron Boone, 3B, Indians. The famed Red Sox killer has posted a meager .372 slugging percentage. "I never thought he was the player he was given credit for,'' our scout said. "He's always been pull happy, and everyone's known for years to pitch him away.''
22. Bobby Crosby, SS, A's. Offensively, he's been a complete washout (.338 slugging percentage). "It's got to be his back,'' the scout surmised. "It's hard to do anything with a bad back.''
21. Carl Pavano, P, Yankees. Samuel Beckett has a sequel: Waiting for Pavano.
20. Josh Towers, P, Blue Jays. Take away his 1-9 mark and 9.11 ERA and the Blue Jays are where they expected to be.
19. Joey Gathright, OF, Royals. Numbers tell the story: zero home runs, 17 stolen bases, .221 batting average, .582 OPS.
18. Julian Tavarez, P, Red Sox. Duck when he enters. Batters are hitting .298 against him.
17. Chris Shelton, 1B, Tigers. What a rags-to-riches-to-rags story this is. A cover boy in April and a minor leaguer by August. The scout said, "I still think he can hit.'' Shelton certainly could early. Had nine home runs through 13 games, and only seven in 89 since.
16. Jonny Gomes, DH, Devil Rays. His season mirrors Shelton's except he got to stay in the majors (if you consider the D-Rays the majors). "He's playing hurt,'' the scout said. "His shoulder has to be killing him.''
15. Felix Hernandez, P, Mariners. The scout is still predicting big things for the power pitcher who has suffered a severe sophomore jinx. "He might have thought that all he had to do was throw his glove out there,'' the scout said. "I still see him as a top-of-the-rotation guy. It's just a matter of maturing. He sure has enough weapons.''