Since it is Valentine’s Day today, it seemed logical to go into the Hotpage's return to weekly status by looking at some players who probably broke our teams, if not our hearts last season.
Now, in choosing the players below, one of the things that drew me to writing about them is the serious loss of stature, for most of them were picks usually selected within five or so rounds at one point in their respective careers. However, in 2010, all suffered--several from injuries--down and disappointing numbers, and as a result, all have dropped in my 2011 mock drafts. In fact, several have not been taken at all in the handful of mocks I have done so far.
All, though, are worth looking at for 2011, at likely reduced prices.
Boston's Josh Beckett was hurt, and ineffective with a 6-6, 5.78 ERA-year over just 127.2 innings. Bad, but last time Beckett had a down year in 2006, he rebounded and won 20 games. Like his injured mates, Beckett kept pushing, although it was more like flailing. Becket was selected as the fourth pick of the 10th round of my FSTA draft. He is better than that, but I would be happy to nab the hurler that low.
Not sure if exactly the same can be said of the Yankees A.J. Burnett, who started 2010 with six wins and was unhittable, then fell into the horror of 10-15, 5.26 ERA-totals, losing his spot in the starting rotation. Burnett is pretty good, and like Beckett, there is no reason to think Burnett has suddenly gotten that bad. True, his whiffs dropped to 145 over 187 innings, but Burnett was not even selected among the first 18 FSTA rounds. You cannot have a better gamble at the end of your draft than a guy like AJ.
As long as we are looking at AL East disappointments, John Lackey's debut season at Fenway was simply bad. At 14-11, 4.40, this was Lackey's worst in the majors, but, his 156 strikeouts, despite the down year, were the most of the hurler's career. I took Lackey as the 11th pick of the 16th round at the FSTA. Quite a deal, I believe.
The Giants won their World Title without one of their most vaunted free agent signings, Mark DeRosa, who lasted for only 93 at-bats before a bad wrist felled the infielder/outfielder. This is more a case of adding DeRosa to your reserve roster in an NL-only format, for he did bang 23 homers and 87 RBI in 2008, and 21 taters with 78 knocks in 2009, and that alone is worth remembering. DeRosa has not been nominated in any of the mocks I have done, meaning he is the forgotten man. So, remember him at the end in a deep league. You can always dump him.
Now a Yankee, the Dodgers wore backstop Russell Martin out, although other catchers seem to be able to take the toil (whither ghost though, Johnny Bench?), and Martin struggled with his worst pro year (.248-5-26) in 2010, after finally being plagued with hip issues. Martin is only 28, and I think his conversion to pinstripes will bring him back enough to make the backstop a viable selection in most formats. Martin was the ninth pick of the 18th round at FSTA.
Oakland's Coco Crisp was hurt so much in 2010 it hurt me. Give him a full season in Oakland last year and his totals become .280-16-76, with 64 swipes. And, Crisp is due for a full complement of games. I plucked the outfielder as the third pick of the 15th round.
Former MVP Jimmy Rollins was dogged by a calf injury for most of 2010, and the result was a drop in just about every kind of total with .243-8-41 over 350 at-bats. Rollins is now 33, but his most recent season is an easy one to rebound from. Even as a gamble, Rollins was selected in the third round of the FSTA, though that is still low.
Maybe no player seems to have fallen from grace like Chone Figgins did last year, with a 41-point drop in batting average from 2009, and 52 fewer runs scored that the previous season. Still, he stole the same number of bags at 42 each year, and he is simply better than his off-year totals. Figgins was the 13th pick of the ninth round at the FSTA.
Ervin Santana does not seem to get any respect in any format. True, he does have kind of an up-one-year, down-the-next resume, but at some point that cycle should break. And his most recent 17-9, 3.92 year, with 169 whiffs over 222.2 innings suggests Santana should be better than the 11th pick of the 18th round, which is where I got him at the FSTA.