Let’s remember some guys

Have you ever been reminded of a former player and wonder “Man, what happened to him?” We do. Let’s remember some guys together.

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Marcus Giles – Giles is my “Remember him?” poster-boy. The younger brother of Pirates legend Brian Giles, Marcus burst onto the scene at age-25 with Atlanta when he hit .316 with 21 homers and made the All-Star team. He only played 4 more seasons, hitting .273 with a .348 on-base percentage and 38 home runs. He signed contracts with Colorado and Philadelphia but was released before either season started. He plead guilty in 2010 to a misdemeanor battery charge.

Freddy Sanchez – Sanchez won the 2006 batting title with a killer .344 batting average and led the league with 53 doubles. Always a great contact hitter, Sanchez made 3 All-Star teams and last appeared in the Majors in 2011 with the San Francisco Giants when he hit a respectable .289 in a platoon. He officially retired in 2015.

Wily Mo Pena – Beloved by baseball fans around the world, Wily Mo Pena is one of the most fun players to ever play the game. A true believer in swinging for the fences, Pena looked like he was going to be a star after hitting 26 home runs for the Reds at age-22. However, his power numbers and playing time dropped every season due to an enormous strikeout rate and he soon found himself playing in Japan. Pena made his return to Major League Baseball in 2011. Fans lobbied for him to participate in the Home Run Derby that season when he hit 7 home runs in only 39 games with Arizona and Seattle. He returned to Japan where he hit 32 home runs in 2014.

Domonic Brown – Brown was once “the next great thing”. He rapidly ascended through the Phillies’ organization, only to struggle at the plate for his first 3 years. In 2013, Brown made the NL All-Star team and set career highs in every meaningful offensive statistic. 2014 saw Brown’s numbers drop back pedestrian levels and he soon lost his starting job. He’s now serving as OF depth for the Blue Jays’ AAA team.

Brandon Wood – Tony Reagins promised me that Brandon Wood was the savior. Tony Reagins lied to me. Wood hit a whopping 43 dingers in 2005 for the Angels’ A+ team and found himself atop many top prospect boards. All of his numbers dropped steadily as he progressed through the Angels’ farm system and he proved for 3 years that he couldn’t handle Major League pitching. However, Reagins somehow thought Wood was the Angels’ best option at 3rd and he let fan-favorite and (my personal hero) Chone Figgins walk in free agency. Brandon only played 173 career games with the Angels and hit an embarrassing .168.

Brad Hawpe – Brad Hawpe is one of baseball’s great mysteries. From 2006 to 2009, Hawpe hit .288 with a great .384 OBP and launched 99 home runs. He was a 2009 All-Star and received MVP votes in 2 seasons. 2010 saw Hawpe hit a pedestrian .245 with 9 home runs and was even released by the Rockies mid-season. Keep in mind this was only 1 year after hitting 23 homers and driving in 86 guys. He last played for the Angels in 2013.

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Garrett Atkins – Atkins is a lot like Hawpe. Another Colorado star, Atkins hit 29 homers with 120 RBI in 2006, 25 with 111 in ’07, and 21 and 99 in ’08. His average dropped about 20 points each of those seasons. He hit only 9 home runs in 2009 and sported a .226 batting average. Atkins last appeared with the Orioles in 2010.

Fausto Carmona – R.I.P. to one of the greatest names the game has ever seen. Fausto became a household name in 2007 when he won 19 games and finished 4th in AL Cy Young voting. He never produced another season of that caliber, however, he did make the All-Star team in 2010. The last you’ve probably heard of him was in 2011 when it was revealed that his name is actually Roberto Hernandez and was suspended by Major League Baseball for identity fraud. He’s now serving as pitching depth at AAA for the Blue Jays.

Nate McLouth – An All-Star in 2008, McClouth was a 20-20 guy who led the league with 46 doubles and brought some much needed life to the city of Pittsburgh. He was traded to the Braves the next season and failed to produce another All-Star quality season. He bounced around the Mid-Atlantic until his career ended in 2014.

Thanks for remembering some guys with us. Who are some guys you remember? Let us know!

Overrated: End of Story

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Let me preface this by saying Trevor Story is a very good shortstop. I thought trading All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki last year was a great move on Colorado’s part because Story was Major League ready. However, they took in washed up shortstop Jose Reyes and his almost expired contract and gave him the starting position for the remainder of the 2015 season. However, Story won the starting job this year in part to two things, 1) his strong spring 2) Reyes was indefinitely suspended before Opening Day for throwing his wife into a glass door.

Earlier this year I named Story one of the future stars in baseball and it’s looking like he’ll hold up on that promise. But a lot of people are proclaiming him the best shortstop in baseball and those people really need to cool their jets.

Story made Major League history earlier this season by hitting a record 7 home runs in the first 6 games of the season and his 10 total home runs surpassed Albert Pujols‘ National League record for most home runs in April by a rookie (was 9) and tied Jose Abreu‘s Major League record for the same stat. Impressive. Most impressive. But when you really dive in you find that it’s just a fluke.

Since his torrid start, Story has cooled off drastically. In his last 70 at-bats he has only 15 hits, good for a .214 average, 3 home runs, and lowered his on-base percentage to a poor .308. He has displayed terrible plate discipline, walking 9 times while striking out in 21 of 23 games, 39 times total, which is good for the league lead.

Expect to see more play like this the rest of the season. In 537 minor league games, Story found a way to strikeout 630 times while drawing only 242 walks. He hit 20 home runs in the minors last year, 10 in AA and 10 in AAA, and he should hit close to that number due to his torrid start and Colorado’s hitter-friendly park. If it weren’t for his 7 home runs in 6 games, Trevor would likely only hit 10-12 dingers in a full-season and I fully expect to see a sharp drop in homers next season. Expect his batting average to finish around .245 and his on-base to fall to .290, well below league average.

Despite the drop in production, his historic month will likely make him the starting shortstop for the NL All-Star team and will effectively end Jose Reyes’ brief stay in Colorado. The Rockies have a future star on their team in Trevor Story, it’s just going to take a few years until he becomes the player people seem to think he is.