Monday, January 23, 2012

James Loney Makes Top Five List...Of Most Frustrating Players

Geez, this was really not where I wanted to find FJL. However I have to say that at least from the Dodgers' perspective, the enigma that is Loney is indeed a point of frustration:

As a Mariners fan in the 1980s, one player absolutely wrecked me above all others: Jim Presley. He was a third baseman with good power, a quick bat and a strong arm. In 1985, his first full season, he hit .275/.324/.484 with 28 home runs and 33 doubles. He looked like he'd be a star.

But while he made the All-Star team in 1986, his strikeouts increased from 100 to 172. The problem was obvious: The dude couldn't lay off the slider low and away. Time after time, he would flail helplessly at the pitch. It got comical; pitchers learned they didn't even have to throw the pitch close to the plate and Presley would chase. With two strikes, you knew it was coming; Presley knew it was coming. Swing and a miss. By 1991, not yet 30 years old, he was out of the majors.

All fans have their most frustrating players. Here are five current major leaguers who pop into my mind. [...]

James Loney, Dodgers: In 2007, Loney hit .331 with 15 home runs in 344 at-bats as a 23-year-old rookie. He looked like a future stud, a first baseman who would hit for a good average and 25 to 30 home runs per season. But he's never matched the power potential, settling in with numbing consistency, hitting between 10 and 13 home runs each season. Since he's not a .300 hitter nor does he draw many walks, Loney's numbers remain subpar for a first baseman. The improvement just hasn't happened, yet Dodgers management continues to stick with him. He's now making $6.375 million; that's a lot to pay for a first baseman who's hit .281/.341/.411 over the past four seasons.

Now, I'm frustrated by Juan Uribe and Andre Ethier a little bit too, but I have to say that Loney probably inches out both of them (if it's even possible to inch out Uribe to anything at all).

And though there are no other NL West teams on the list, every team's got these players: Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand come to mind (not to mention that Posey guy who couldn't even play a full season last year!). Do the Dodgers, and their on-field frustrations, necessarily have it worse than anyone else?


Fred's Brim said...

Ted Lilly is the player that makes me the most angry but Billingsley is the one who frustrates me the most, because I expect more out of him

MR.F said...

Yeah. I expect nothing from Loney these days.

Fernie V said...

My frustration level is so high that last spring training I refused to buy my twins a cool 7 dodger hat.

Franklin Stubbs said...

Lilly, really?

I think I give a certain amount of leeway to pitchers, since the difference between complete success and abject failure is almost infinitesimal.

Unless they're hiding an injury or they run their mouth like Schilling, I'm understanding. I'm more likely to blame management for running a guy out there when he doesn't have it.

Fred's Brim said...

too many meatballs