Becoming a player in Major League Baseball is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Consider that all 30 of the MLB teams split between the American League and National League have 40-man rosters for most of the season. That makes up a total of 1,200 positions for the 162-game season that goes from late spring to early fall.
In addition to those MLB roster spots, there are several thousand more players trying to stand out as potential prospects in various minor league affiliates. Those in Triple-A are considered the most likely to receive a call-up request to their big league affiliate. But there are just as many hungry youngsters trying to make an impression at Double-A and Single-A level baseball.
Don’t forget that there are more playing collegiate and high school baseball who are also being considered for the annual MLB Amateur Draft. It can be difficult to maintain a position on one of those 30 MLB rosters. It’s also not a guarantee that everyone is going to be considered a success at any given season.
From youngsters trying to find their niche at the MLB level to veterans who are struggling to maintain the consistency they had throughout a long career, the following are the worst players from each of the current MLB rosters – from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Washington Nationals.
30 Arizona Diamondbacks – Shelby Miller, SP
Pitching has not been one of the strongest parts of this season’s Arizona Diamondbacks. Even the recent free agent signing of Zack Grienke had his shares of struggles with an ERA of 4.37. But Shelby Miller had one of the worst seasons of any starting pitcher in MLB. In 20 starts this season, he finished with a record of 3-12 with an ERA of 6.15 and a WHIP of 1.673.
29 Atlanta Braves – Aaron Blair, SP
Similar to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Atlanta Braves had a lot of pitching struggles. This would explain why they also lost more than 90 games for the 2016 season. While it might be somewhat mean to pick on a rookie pitcher as a big part of the blame, Aaron Blair certainly wasn’t able to help his case. His first 14 starts at the major league level were extremely rough as he finished 1-7 with an 8.02 ERA.
28 Baltimore Orioles – Nolan Reimold, LF
The Baltimore Orioles had their share of offense from plenty of dependable sources like Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo. But there have been a few disappointing players who were not able to take advantage of the opportunities they were given at the plate. Nolan Reimold played in 103 games this season and was only able to come up with a batting average of .222. Reimold hasn’t been a big known as a big name hitting, but he’s usually good for mid-200s.
27 Boston Red Sox – Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Fans of the Boston Red Sox had a lot of reasons to be happy in 2016. They were able to go from worst to first in the American League East Division as part of the swan song for veteran David Ortiz. But one slugger who had one of his roughest seasons in baseball was Pablo Sandoval. He’s only appeared in three games all season and struck out four times in his six at-bats.
26 Chicago Cubs – Jason Heyward, RF
The Chicago Cubs have had one of their best seasons in team history. It has been their first 100-win season since 1935 and a lot of happy fans in Wrigleyville. With a lot of great players like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, one of the more disappointing players in the 2016 Cubs roster is easily Jason Heyward.
25 Chicago White Sox – James Shields, SP
Long gone are the days when starting pitcher James Shields found himself third in the voting for the AL Cy Young Award. That was back when he was an ace-quality pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 when the team was a playoff contender. But he started the 2016 season originally with the San Diego Padres and went 2-7 with an ERA of 4.28.
24 Cincinnati Reds – Alfredo Simon, SP
Remember when Alfredo Simon was an All-Star pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds? He’s had his share of ups and downs in his nine seasons in MLB, but he had a good year in 2014 with a 15-10 season and a 3.44 ERA. But his numbers would begin to take a fall after that with a 5.05 ERA in 2015 with the Detroit Tigers.
23 Cleveland Indians – Yan Gomes, C
The Cleveland Indians have a lot of players on their roster that led to them winning the American League Central this season. But not everything went exactly as expected within the clubhouse. Veteran catcher Yan Gomes was someone who was likely expected to have a decent season based upon the 2014 seasons when he had 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 135 games. His 2015 season wasn’t necessarily terrible, but he was dealing with some injuries.
22 Colorado Rockies – Cristhian Adames, SS
Playing at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado is usually considered a good place where you can truly boost your hitting numbers. But for shortstop Cristhian Adames, his first three seasons making an appearance in the major leagues have been pretty disappointing. The 2016 season provided him plenty of opportunities as he appeared in nearly 120 games with 256 plate appearances. Having only two home runs and 17 RBI seems depressing.
21 Detroit Tigers – Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Yan Gomes wasn’t the only catcher within the American League Central who was a bit of a disappointment for the lack of offensive production. Veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn’t do well for the Detroit Tigers with a batting average that fell to .171. It was one of his worst seasons in MLB in a 10-year career.
20 Houston Astros – Dallas Keuchel, SP
It can be pretty difficult to have a season that replicates a Cy Young Award. The 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel had a lot of expectations to help the Houston Astros build upon their first playoff appearance since losing in the 2005 World Series. But Keuchel began to struggle in the month of May with poor outings that included eight runs on 10 hits in an 11-1 loss to Boston on May 12.
19 Kansas City Royals – Edinson Volquez, SP
Having played in back-to-back World Series can set the bar pretty high for the 2016 Kansas City Royals. But this was a down year as the team barely finished with more than 80 wins after winning the championship in 2015. Starting pitching was a big thorn that plagued the Royals throughout the season and Edinson Volquez was a huge disappointment in the mound for Kansas City.
18 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Jered Weaver, SP
The 2016 season was one that Jered Weaver would like to forget ever happened. Usually, Weaver has been a consistent starting pitcher that earned the right to be the ace for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since he was a rookie star in 2006 and also earned a spot in the top five of Cy Young Award voting for three seasons. But his numbers have taken a huge hit starting with the 2015 season – a 7-12 record with a 4.64 ERA. The 2016 season was much worse that puts his future effectiveness into question.
17 Los Angeles Dodgers – Enrique Hernandez, OF
The Los Angeles Dodgers are having a memorable year with another reign as the National League West Champions. It’s looking like a potential year destined to provide a perfect sendoff for long-time broadcaster Vin Scully. But not everything has been perfect along the lineup. One player who had a big drop in production is outfielder Enrique Hernandez.
16 Miami Marlins – Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
The 2016 season has not been too kind to the Miami Marlins organization. From the tragic death of ace pitcher Jose Fernandez to slugger Giancarlo Stanton losing a step in his production, the Marlins are going to have some work to do preparing for the 2017 season. The team might want to consider looking for a new shortstop after a tough season with Adeiny Hechavarria having struggles at the plate and on the field.
15 Milwaukee Brewers - Ramón Flores, OF
While the Milwaukee Brewers were able to improve from their 94-loss season in 2015, they were still unable to compete in the extremely tough National League Central Division. While many players on the team had put up some good numbers, players like Ramón Flores were unable to perform at a respectable level. In 104 games with the Brewers this year, the young outfielder struggled to hit above a .200 batting average.
14 Minnesota Twins – Byung Ho Park, DH/1B
With more than 100 losses accumulated through the 2016 season, there are plenty of options to choose from on the Minnesota Twins roster. One of the more disappointing players was rookie Byung Ho Park. He had built up quite an impressive resume playing for the Korea Baseball Organization that included at least 50 home runs in 2014 and 2015. The hope was that he would translate into a decent slugger in the U.S.
13 New York Mets – Wilmer Flores, IF
As the New York Mets were looking to make another deep run in the postseason, there were a few players who saw a big decline in their overall production. Wilmer Flores was usually a dependable defender in the 2015 season as the team made a run to the World Series. Last season, Flores had a fielding percentage of .965 playing shortstop and a 1.000 percentage at second base.
12 New York Yankees – Mark Teixeira, 1B
The honor of the worst player in the New York Yankees organization this season could have been veteran slugger Alex Rodriguez. While his performance has continued to fall over recent years after a lengthy suspension, he retired in the middle of the season as he was unable to perform at a level that resembled what his career numbers dictated. But Mark Teixeira is more than deserving of the title this season.
11 Oakland Athletics – Daniel Mengden, SP
For the second consecutive season, the Oakland Athletics lost more than 90 games in a season. The 2016 campaign was filled with a lot of terrible moments, including their usual ace Sonny Gray having a terrible year with a 5-11 record with a 5.69 ERA. Gray wasn’t the worst starting pitcher who entered the A’s rotation this year. That distinction belongs to Daniel Mengden.
10 Philadelphia Phillies – Ryan Howard, 1B
Believe it or not, there was once a time when Ryan Howard looked like he could have slugged his way into Cooperstown early in his career. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2005. Howard also had six consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs, including a career high 58 home runs and 149 RBI in the 2006 campaign. But Howard has slowed down.
9 Pittsburgh Pirates – Jeff Locke, SP
After three consecutive playoff seasons, the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates were frustrated to see their team hold a record below .500 for a good portion of the 2016 season. Fingers were pointed around the pitching rotation that was once a big strength for the Pirates. But struggling pitchers like Francisco Liriano and Jon Niese were traded away to other clubs in MLB to gain young developmental players.
8 San Diego Padres – Derek Norris, C
The San Diego Padres roster is a group of frustrating players. One of the worst offenders that fans are likely tired of seeing play is catcher Derek Norris. The veteran had put up decent numbers when playing for the Oakland Athletics with a .270 batting average in 2014 during his one and only All-Star nomination. But his numbers started to fall last season with only 14 home runs and a .250 average.
7 San Francisco Giants – Matt Cain, SP
The San Francisco Giants are known for having some dominating pitchers that have helped them win three World Series championships since 2010. However, this season might not be one of their strongest rotations. Aside from Madison Baumgarner’s 15-9 record and Johnny Cueto’s 18-5 record, the Giants have struggled to find consistency to round out the starting pitching rotation.
6 Seattle Mariners – Pat Venditte, RP
Some credit should be given to someone like Pat Venditte. It’s hard to make it to the MLB level of baseball being either a left or right-handed pitcher. But to be able to throw well enough with both hands to play professionally is still worth some sort of consolation. But that sort of merit doesn’t really help his case with such a high career ERA. His time with the Mariners was brief in 2016 after being traded from Toronto.
5 St. Louis Cardinals – Trevor Rosenthal, RP
Trevor Rosenthal had established himself as one of the more dominating closing pitchers in the 2014 and 2015 season with the St. Louis Cardinals. Between those two seasons, he had a total of 93 saves. That earned him quite the raise from a little more than half a million to $5.6 million. But he was unable to keep the job as a closer after allowing bases loaded walks for losses May 12 against the Angels and again on June 3 against the Giants.
4 Tampa Bay Rays – Brad Miller, IF
There’s a reason why the Seattle Mariners were more than willing to trade away Brad Miller to the Tampa Bay Rays. While Miller did have some respectable numbers offensively with 30 home runs and 81 RBI, his batting average was only .243. But that’s obviously not why he is considered the worst player for the Rays in the 2016 season. His defense made him the worst on the team.
3 Texas Rangers – A.J. Griffin, SP
The Texas Rangers certainly have one of the more talented pitching rotations with powerful arms like Cole Hamels, Colby Lewis and Yu Darvish. But A.J. Griffin also had a decent start to the beginning of the 2016 season; winning three of his first four starts. It was looking like the beginning of a great comeback story after not being in the MLB for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
2 Toronto Blue Jays – Justin Smoak, 1B
Justin Smoak is an interesting case. He was often criticized for his inconsistent offensive numbers during his five seasons with the Seattle Mariners. While he showed signs of brilliance, many fans were wanting him gone. But he would end up in Toronto in 2015 and have some moderate success with 18 home runs last season.
1 Washington Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
The Washington Nationals definitely had one of their better runs within the 2016 season. They could have been the best team in the National League if it weren’t for the Chicago Cubs. But the Nationals didn’t have a lot of terrible players. What they did have were some big names that had some disappointing performances for the 2016 season.
Ryan Zimmerman was someone who had a few Silver Slugger Awards during his 12-year career with big numbers. But the 2016 season was one of the worst of his career with a batting average barely above .200 and a big dip in production with 15 home runs and less than 50 RBI. His lack of offense didn’t impact the Nationals too much when players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy were picking up the slack.
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