Why must Cubs players always underperform? From Nomar Garciaparra to Corey Patterson to Todd Hundley, Cubs prospects and acquisitions have consistently disappointed fans on the North Side over the years. Of course when they subsequently land on another team's roster, they seem to suddenly find their way: Ryan Theriot is batting .300 with the Cardinals this year; Aaron Miles batted .185 with the Cubs in 2009 but .281 with the Cardinals the following year.
The three most disappointing Cubs of 2011 (so far)
2011 has been no exception, as the Cubs have more than their fair share of disappointments. Here are my top three:
3. Ryan Dempster
I think numbers will suffice to show why Dempster has been such a disappointment thus far:
ERA WHIP HR Wins
2008 2.96 1.21 14 17
2009 3.65 1.31 22 11
2010 3.85 1.32 25 15
2011 pace: 5.31 1.49 28 10
2. Aramis Ramirez
It's slightly more difficult to classify Ramirez as a "disappointment" because he already did this to us last year. Somehow, in the blink of an eye between 2009 and 2010, Mr. Clutch became Mr. Not So Much. He had an unfathomable .241 average but partially redeemed himself with a scorching second half. In fact, he finished with 25 home runs and 83 RBI, and you couldn't help but assume the real Ramirez would return in 2011.
While his .291 average and .337 OBP aren't awful, he has just nine home runs and 38 RBI. A sampling of the players with more home runs that Ramirez would include: Alex Avila, Chris Iannetta, Nick Swisher, Andrew McCutchen ... the list goes on. Ramirez has also struck out twice as often as he's walked, another trend that began last year.
1. Geovany Soto
Back in 2008, when Soto took home Rookie of the Year honors, it looked like the Cubs were going to be set for years with a young backstop who would serve as an offensive force in the lineup. And while some people may have been down on him after last season given that 17 home runs and 53 RBI aren't exactly eye-popping statistics, Soto's power numbers were limited by his injuries. I was more than satisfied with his .393 OBP and .890 OPS, as they seemingly portended positive things if Soto could remain healthy in 2011.
Unfortunately, Soto found himself on the DL again this year and is experiencing an even steeper decline in his power numbers. Even more distressing is his .316 OBP and his OPS which has dropped over 200 points from last season. Now when people talk of up-and-coming young catchers, they speak of guys like Brian McCann, Miguel Montero and J.P. Arencibia--and that's incredibly disappointing.
Randy Wells. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt by leaving him off the list for now. He's only made seven starts thus far, but I was expecting more of a rebound season from him after he struggled in his sophomore campaign.
Tyler Colvin. He's still only 25, but he has looked completely lost at the plate in 2011. He could have been the heir to Fukudome's position in right in 2012, but that's far from a certainty at this point.