As you may know, this blog is a member of the United Cardinals Bloggers network, and a couple of times a year, the UCB has a roundtable where each day, a member blog asks a question to the other bloggers in the network and gets answers and/or opinions. November 20 was the day I was assigned to ask my question. So here it was:
The problem with being one of the last folks in the roundtable discussion is so many good questions have already been asked! Don’t worry, however, I do have a question. 🙂
The ladies at Aaron Miles’ Fastball asked earlier in the rotation which Cardinals player surprised you the most in the 2012 season. I’m going to take the opposite position – which player disappointed you the most in the 2012 season? My answer would be David Freese. I expected him to be as clutch as he was in the 2011 World Series in 2012 and it didn’t happen.
Your thoughts, everyone? Looking forward to your responses!
Daniel Solzman (Redbird Rants)-
Wes Keene (Keene on MLB)-
Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Kyle Lohse, and Jason Motte. Why can’t those guys be troubled to contribute once in a while? Seriously, though, I’d have to say David Freese, as well. I saw Daniel said Berkman. I would echo that except that Lance was already older, it isn’t nearly as surprising to me. Freese, on the other hand, was such a firecracker in 2011. It didn’t carry over to 2012 for the most part, and that’s a real mystery to me.
Bill Ivie (I70 Baseball) –
Now this is a tough room…
The guy with the most votes to this point put up career highs in: Games Played, At Bats, Runs, Hits, Doubles, Home Runs, Runs Batted In, Walks, On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage and OPS. He was a guy that everyone was worried about staying healthy and did so all season long. Oh, and he’s 29 years old. If that’s disappointing, I hope we can clone him into a shortstop and second baseman as well.
Geez….guy grabs some post-season magic in 2011 and is now a disappointment in 2012 because he didn’t replicate his miracle heroics?
I’m going with Scrabble on this one. He was the cog to the Rasmus deal, a player with some team control left, a lefty in the pen that was also hard on right handers and a guy that may end up as a starter in his career. By mid-season the Cards were looking for a LOOGY they could have some faith in.
That’s disappointing to me.
Daniel Shoptaw (C70 at the Bat)-
Hopefully everyone has given this a lot of thought, since it is on your Cardinal Blogger Award ballot! 🙂
I think Berkman would be my choice as well. Not that I expected 2011 all over again, but I did think he could contribute. I figured nagging injuries, not catastrophic ones. So while, like Lando says in Empire, “It’s not my fault!”, I’d give it to Berkman.
Though Scrabble rates right up there. A guy that was sold to us as starter material had trouble enough being a LOOGY.
I’m writing this as Bill’s answer comes in, so I’ll second a lot of what he said, especially the Freese part. 20 HR along with regular production and health? For me, he’d be way down on the disappointing list.
Dathan Brooks (Cards Tied for First) –
It happens at least once every time we do a roundtable, and today is it again…I agree with Bill. Talk about a guy whose 2012 wasn’t as good as his 2011, 34 is the left-handed poster-child. Mo said yesterday or the day before that a bat off the bench and LHP in the pen are two things they NEED to come up with before next year. Pretty big disappointment for ’12, I’d say.
Tara Wellman (Aaron Miles’ Fastball) –
The trouble with a magical run like the 2011 postseason became is that it sets unrealistic expectations for the season that follows.
Of course I would have loved for David Freese to be THE guy, every single at bat, every single “clutch” moment, all season long. But in my mind, I never actually expected that. I think what we saw from Freese is exactly what we thought he could do … only, perhaps, a little more streaky than we would have liked. The guy contributed on a regular basis for an entire season — the first time he’s ever played that many games (or even come close). Yeah, he had his slumps. And they could look pretty ugly. But overall, I can’t say I expected more. Hoped for, maybe, but not expected.
I have a hard time calling out Berkman as a disappointment. I guess his lack of playing time was a disappointment, but like Daniel mentioned, that wasn’t really his fault.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have to go with Scrabble, too. I winced every time he threw a pitch, it seemed, because he simply lost all confidence. Not good a good thing to lose when you’re supposed to be the lefty solution to all problems.
Um … am I allowed to throw Tyler Greene in for this award? (Someone had to do it, right? Figured I’d get that in, just for you, Matt!)
Tom Knuppel (Cardinals GM)-
Furcal- he had a hot start but cooled quickly and never got it going again.
Mark Tomasik (Retrosimba) –
Jaime Garcia. I expected a breakout year from him, an 18-win season. Injury aside, he remained inconsistent and fragile. The potential is there, but something seems to be stopping him from fully utilizing that talent.
Matt Whitener (Cheap.Seats.Please) –
First off all, thank you Tara. Your ability to work in a few more Tyler Greene jabs brings me real joy, even in November.
As for biggest disappointment? It’s tough, because this club somehow simultaneously managed to be so much more and so much less than it was supposed to be so often. It’s tough to pull just one guy out. Freese fought an uphill battle every second of the season, due to the mountain top it ended on. In the end, he was a first time All-Star and a .290 hitter. I’ll take that every season.
It’s always hard for me to be disappointed in injuries, so Berkman and Garcia are off the hook with me too. Furcal ended up being what he was supposed to be, average hitter & a better glove.
Can’t find gripe with Yadi, Beltran, Motte or Waino obviously, so who’s left?
I’m going to go in a bit of a different direction and say Matt Holliday. This is relative disappointment, because obviously the club doesn’t get where it does without him, just like every season. But also, just like every season here thus far, it’s also had to get out of his way by the end of it because he’s caved in the playoffs.
This is the best hitter on the team, the one paid like a franchise hitter. He’s got to be there when nobody else is. But instead, for the second year in a row, he gave it all up during the first 162, and then mailed it in later. And unfortunately, there were no once in a lifetime heroics from Freese, nor another threat like Albert Pujols or Berkman to bail his absence out.
It’s a tough load to not be able to count on the guy that you’ve learned to count on in the moments of the season where that developed chemistry is needed most.
Tara Wellman –
I aim to please, Matt. My work here is done. 🙂
Nick (Pitchers Hit Eighth) –
I was hoping for Daniel Descalso to build on his 2011 and really stake a claim to the second base position, yet here we are in another off-season where the club is searching for middle infield help.
I’d say Tyler Greene but when you have no expectations, it’s hard to be disappointed.
As Bill pointed out pretty concisely, it certainly wasn’t David Freese.
Chris Coleman (Aaron Miles’ Fastball) –
Sorry for the late response!
My choice is Lance Berkman. Granted, injuries are out of any player’s control, but his 2012 was still so disappointing after the good health and success he had in 2011.
Marc Rzepczynski definitely gets second place, for all the reasons everyone else has already said so I don’t need to repeat them!
Dennis Lawson (Pitchers Hit Eighth)-
I have to admit that the most disappointing part of the season was Tyler Greene showing up. Then again, that’s about the most disappointing thing about the past few seasons.
Matt Philip (Fungoes.net)-
It’s hard to call David Freese’s .372 OBP and .467 SLG over 144 games — all career highs, as others have noted — anything but excellent!
I was disappointed that Big Puma didn’t play more, but after he kept his body intact for 145 games in 2011, I wasn’t surprised that he was disabled for so long (I was more disappointed for my fantasy-league team!). As for Rzepczynski, he was certainly frustrating, but given that ZiPS projected him to have a 3.62 ERA and he finished with an xFIP of 3.65, I’m not too disappointed there.
Despite playing more games than expected, Rafael Furcal disappointed me the most. That was partly due to his less-than-projected offense — .he hit 325 OBP/.346 SLG, while ZiPS forecasted him at .331/.389 — but more to his worsening play defensively.
Thanks to everyone for their contributions! To see links to all the questions/answers blog posts from the previous days, click on the link here: United Cardinals Bloggers. Thanks for reading and have a happy Thanksgiving!