We’re over two months into the MLB season, and things are really starting to take shape across the league. While we’ve been delighted by the performances of numerous star players, there are also some big names that have, for whatever reason, simply failed to launch in 2019 and have actually turned out to be detrimental to their teams.
Which key players aren’t doing enough this season? Here are eight who have disappointed so far.
8. Manny Machado, 3B, Padres
What Machado has meant to the Padres in terms of legitimacy makes up for a lot of on-field struggles, but he hasn’t really delivered at the plate so far for San Diego. The power has been there — he’s into double-digit homers — but his sub-.250 average would be the worst of his career to date. He’s adjusting to a new league and a ballpark that isn’t exactly hitter-friendly, so a bit of a learning curve was to be expected, but this is not what the Padres paid for.
7. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
Long the picture of consistency, Votto has seen his numbers slip this year. He still walks a lot, but his batting average has fallen below .260 and he’s striking out over 22 percent of the time, easily a career-worst mark. It was as recently as last season that Votto was still hitting .285 and posting an OBP above .400, as he has done in 10 of the last 11 seasons. It’s going to take a real tear in the latter half of the season for him to do it again.
6. Aaron Nola, P, Phillies
Nola’s 2018, in which he posted an ERA of 2.37, looked like the start of a long period of ace-level pitching. He simply hasn’t been able to follow it up in 2019. His ERA has ballooned above 4.50, almost doubling from where it was at the end of 2018. His strikeouts are up, but worryingly, so are his walks. After hitting just .195 against him last season, opponents are now batting just shy of .270. Even if some of it is bad luck, he has not at all been anywhere near what he was in 2018.
5. Yasiel Puig, OF, Reds
Some hoped that a move to hitter-friendly Cincinnati and away from the bright lights and scrutiny of Los Angeles would do wonders for Puig’s career.