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