Fantasy Baseball Busts of 2006

The end of June is about the time of year when there is little doubt if a Major League Baseball player has become a disappointment to a fantasy baseball owner. You are what you are this far into the season about 95% of the time, and fantasy baseball owners are now stuck with you, as a trade is nearly impossible. Maybe impossible isn’t the right word; the Mets were able to unload Jorge Julio AND Kaz Matsui, but fantasy baseball owners are much more astute than baseball general managers. If I called up a fantasy baseball owner and tried to trade them Rondell White for someone on their roster, it would be two weeks before the laughter would stop ringing in my ears.

Poor Rondell White. He is the poster child for fantasy baseball ineptitude. There has never been more of an oxymoron than calling White a designated hitter. He has been an albatross around the neck to any fantasy baseball owner that made the mistake of choosing him. In 181 at bats, White has exactly six extra base hits, all doubles. He has no homers, is hitting only .181, and has knocked in all of 15 runs while sitting in the middle of the Twins’ lineup. Rondell’s surgically repaired shoulder, which was sewn up a little tighter by his doctor to keep it from popping out, could be the culprit behind his ridiculously puny numbers; his fantasy baseball owners have already sewn up the award for worst draft choice the day they called his name back in March.

Frank Thomas, the “Big Hurt” has put a hurtin’ on anyone who might have felt that he was going to revive his career with the A’s. Thomas, who could have gotten his nickname because he is always hurt, does have 16 homers, but he is also hitting under .240 and, surprise, he is hurt. A right quadriceps tear landed him on the disabled list for the umpteenth time in his career, making him virtually impossible for any fantasy baseball owner to even try to send him packing to perhaps the one owner in the league that might not be the sharpest spike on the cleats.

The Rangers’ Mark Teixeira, counted on by fantasy baseball owners for some huge power numbers, has been experiencing a brown-out so far in 2006. In his first three years in the American League, Teixeira had fantasy baseball owners salivating over his homer and RBI totals, as he accumulated 26, 38, and then 43 home runs and drove in 84, 112, and then 144 men last year. But in 2006, Mark simply has fantasy baseball owners drooling down the front of their shirts in a stupor, as they look at his total of 7 homers and 41 RBI. Teixeira, who failed to get a hit in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA in March, must be waiting for the weather to warm up in Texas; it’s only been 95 degrees there everyday.

When the Tigers’ Chris Shelton hit eleven round trippers in the month of April, fantasy baseball owners were tripping over each other to add him to their rosters. But the red- headed Shelton has hit only three since then in two months, and two of those came in one game against the rotten Cubbies. Now Shelton is about as popular with his fantasy baseball owners as a man with a camera is with Brittany Spears. At least Spears was not a flash in the pan as a singer.

On the hill in the American League, ask any fantasy baseball owner with Boston’s Matt Clement in his possession how he feels about the Red Sox hurler, and he might just hurl. Clement, whose stuff was described by Boston GM Theo Epstein as “electric” when he came over from the Cubs, couldn’t provide enough juice to power a flashlight right now. He is 5-5 with an ERA of 6.61, and fantasy owners couldn’t give him away now that he has landed on the disabled list with “arm trouble”. At least fantasy baseball owners that are stuck with Clement got something out of him; if you took the Yankees’ Carl Pavano on draft day, you are still waiting to see him on the hill. All you need to know about Carl is that he was dating Alyssa Milano but chose to break up with her. There’s a fantasy that most fantasy baseball owners dream about, and this guy walked away from it. Pavano has been on the DL most of his Yankee career, and is there for the long run again with, among other ailments, a sore buttock. Fantasy baseball owners with him on their rosters know the feeling.

Over in the National League, Oliver Perez was supposed to provide fantasy baseball owners with an up and coming young starter, but instead they have found themselves with a down and out 2-10 pitcher. Perez, who showed so much promise in 2004 when he went 12-10 with a sub 3.00 ERA, has rewarded those fantasy baseball owners unfortunate enough to select him with an earned run average of 6.63 and 51 walks to his 61 strikeouts. He is not much better than any of the other Pirates’ pitchers that may be clogging up fantasy baseball owners’ lists, as Zach Duke at 5-7, Paul Maholm at 2-6, and Victor Santos at 4-7 have been equally inept.

The Astros’ Andy Pettite has seen better days, as his 6-8 record doesn’t come close to telling the story of how bad he has been, something fantasy baseball owners already know. Andy has allowed the most hits in all of baseball, 129 in 101 innings, and has seen 18 homers fly out of the park as he craned his neck to see where they would land. The thought of someone wanting Pettite in a trade from their team puts the fantasy in fantasy baseball for whoever is depending on Andy.

Those fantasy baseball owners that stock up their teams with players from their favorite club are doing well if they are Mets fans, unless you got stuck with Cliff Floyd. Coming off his first healthy year in quite awhile, Cliff figured to improve on his 90 plus RBI season of a year ago, but that hasn’t been the case. He has just recently gotten off the interstate and over the .200 mark for batting average, but he has only 6 homers and 19 runs batted in for a team that is winning its division by more than 10 games. Mention Floyd’s name to any fantasy baseball owner that he plays for and they might jump off a Cliff.

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