Becoming a professional baseball player is incredibly challenging. Batters are expected to be able to hit a ball being thrown at them at speeds that sometimes reach 100mph and be able to know if it is a strike or not. Not only that, but they are expected to hit it upwards of 100ft to even get a base hit, or over 400ft to hit a home run. Pitchers are expected to be able to throw ideally two or three pitches 60ft, while having great command of the strike zone. It is also much harder when you consider that baseball has arguably the most gruelling schedule of any professional sport. Every team plays a 162-game regular season in six months (April to October), not including at least a month of playoff games if they are fortunate enough to make it to the World Series.
Teams that make the playoffs seemingly have a quality player at every position on the field. They have deep lineups, solid rotations, and a talented bullpen. However, even the best teams in the league have players that are just not performing up to the standards expected of them. Whether teams have players that are struggling because they are young and have not adjusted to the pace of MLB, or they are veteran players whose best years are behind them, it is unfortunate that every team has players who are costing their team valuable wins.
Continue reading to find out who the worst player on each MLB team’s current roster is!
30 Arizona Diamondbacks: Zack Godley
The Arizona Diamondbacks have cooled off since finding themselves in first place at the end of April. They are still in the contention for winning the division and making the playoffs, but they will likely need some help in the starting rotation to do that. Zack Godley is still a relatively young starter, but he has struggled to help keep the Diamondbacks in many of the games that he has started. With a bloated ERA, Godley finds himself giving up way too many runs each game.
29 Atlanta Braves: Brandon McCarthy
The Atlanta Braves are enjoying an unexpectedly strong year where they find themselves atop the National League East and appear poised to make the playoffs. The Braves roster have been doing a lot of things right and playing well, but veteran starter Brandon McCarthy has not done much to help the cause. While McCarthy’s best days are most likely behind him, it should be a little disconcerting for the contending Braves to have McCarthy’s approximately 5.00 ERA in the starting rotation still.
28 Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis
It would be easy to call pretty much the entire Baltimore Orioles starting rotation the worst, but it’s tough to single out one pitcher in particular. Instead, we will turn to the highest paid member on the Orioles roster – first baseman Chris Davis.
He managed to convince the Orioles to overpay greatly for his power, and he has been a massive disappointment for them ever since.
Davis has recently seen his playing time diminish, and only his onerous contract prevents them from releasing him right now.
27 Boston Red Sox: Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Boston Red Sox are another team who are an offensive juggernaut because of their dynamic offense. A lot of the Red Sox’ offensive success has to do with two-thirds of their outfield: Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi who have been nothing short of amazing this year. The third starting outfielder, Jackie Bradley Jr., is another story unfortunately. Bradley Jr. had a very strong season a couple of years ago and looked poised to be a big part of the team’s success, but he has not come anywhere close to that replicating that success.
26 Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana
The Chicago Cubs have turned around the organization’s fortunes in a big way, making the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. A lot of that has to do with making smart business moves and building around a talented young core of players. The Cubs have made a few big trades to improve their roster, including acquiring starter Jose Quintana at last year’s trade deadline. Unfortunately, Quintana has struggled most of this season. Although he has shown some signs of reversing the trend, his ERA is still very high and he frequently displays some control issues with his pitches.
25 Chicago White Sox: James Shields
James Shields happens to be the ace of the Chicago White Sox, but that really isn’t saying much given the state of their rotation.
Either way, he has been pretty awful since their ill-fated trade for him a couple of seasons ago.
He has not finished with an ERA below 5.00 since 2015, and 2018 does not look like it will be any different. Surely the White Sox were expecting at least a little bit better than that from the veteran pitcher.
24 Cincinnati Reds: Luis Castillo
The Cincinnati Reds were expected to be bad, but not many had expected them to be as bad as they have been so far. There are many reasons for their poor record, with a lot having to do with poor hitting with even worse pitching. The Reds were hopeful their young righty starter Luis Castillo would take a step forward and become the staff ace. That has not happened as expected, and he actually has ended up being the worst player on their roster right now. With an ERA north of 5.00, Castillo has even struggled to keep his team in most of the games he starts.
23 Cleveland Indians: Edwin Encarnacion
There are a couple of notable players struggling with the Cleveland Indians, but we will have to go with Edwin Encarnacion for this one. Encarnacion was signed in the 2017 offseason to provide another big power bat in the middle of the Indians lineup. So far this season, Encarnacion has certainly provided some home run power as he is on pace for around 30 home runs. Unfortunately, that’s about all he has been doing. When he isn’t hitting homers, Encarnacion is striking out at a very alarming rate. His batting average has also nosedived, suggesting Encarnacion has become an extreme all-or-nothing type of hitter.
22 Colorado Rockies: Ian Desmond
Only a couple of seasons ago, Ian Desmond was considered one of the biggest rising stars in baseball.
Ever since signing his contract with the Colorado Rockies in the 2017 offseason, Desmond has been the Rockies’ worst player.
He was hurt most of last season, but his statistics continue decline at an alarming rate. The Rockies must have known they would be paying for Desmond’s declining years, but it’s doubtful they expected it to happen this quickly and for Desmond to play this poorly.
21 Detroit Tigers: Buck Farmer
The Detroit Tigers started the season knowing that it was going to be a rebuilding year and that there was a good chance that they would be pretty bad. Still, it’s hard to tell why the Tigers continue to let Buck Farmer pitch out of the bullpen for them. He has shown that he struggles to locate his pitches, that lead to many walks, and that opposing batters are not fooled by him. With an ERA north of 5.00, the young righty should probably be demoted to Triple-A to figure things out in an environment with less pressure.
20 Houston Astros: Jake Marisnick
The Houston Astros look prepared to defend their World Series Championship, as they are currently one of the top teams in the American League. One area the Astros could use improvement is their outfield depth, as Jake Marisnick continues to struggle considerably. Marisnick has appeared in over 50 games for the Astros already, but is still hitting well below the Mendoza Line. Despite not being a starter, Marisnick already leads the team in strikeouts. These are not good signs that Marisnick is contributing meaningfully to the Astros’ season so far.
19 Kansas City Royals: Justin Grimm
Justin Grimm’s 2018 season got off to a bit of a rocky start when he surrendered 2 home runs in just 7 innings. The good news is that he hasn’t allowed a home run since. The bad news for Grimm and the Kansas City Royals is that the relief pitcher has allowed plenty of other runs to score since then.
He has appeared in nearly 20 games now, and has given up at least a run an inning for an ERA that is north of 10.00!
While this is admittedly still a small sample size, there is no doubt that Grimm has been the worst player currently on the Royals’ roster.
18 Los Angeles Angels: Kole Calhoun
Kole Calhoun is the starting right fielder for the Los Angeles Angels, who have fallen back down in the standings after getting off to a great start this season. A large part of the team’s struggles is because of a lack of timely and consistent hitting from most of their lineup. Calhoun exemplifies this offensive struggle, hitting well below .200. Unfortunately, Calhoun will remain the starter unless a trade is made because the backup outfielder isn’t faring any better at the plate.
17 Los Angeles Dodgers: Rich Hill
In fairness to Rich Hill, he has been injured which may explain why he has been struggling in the first half of the season. On the other hand, many of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers have been hurt and not all of them are struggling to the extent that Hill has been. Hill has been plagued by the home run as well as an inability to command the strike zone as evidenced by his increasing ERA. The Dodgers have to be hoping Hill will be more effective in the second half!
16 Miami Marlins: Lewis Brinson
To be fair, the Miami Marlins are intent on being bad in 2018 to get a top draft pick. While the Miami Marlins have been marginally better than expected, they have done so without many contributions from their center fielder Lewis Brinson.
He has struggled to adjust to major league pitching thus far, and should probably be a candidate to be sent to the minor leagues.
For whatever reason, the Marlins are content to let him try to figure out his issues in the big leagues. At least Brinson is still young and will have plenty of time and opportunity to turn things around.
15 Milwaukee Brewers: Eric Sogard
There are a couple of players who have been really underperforming for the Milwaukee Brewers this season. One of the players who has really underperformed all season is shortstop Eric Sogard, who has somehow managed to appear in nearly all of the Brewers’ games so far. It is a surprise that he is still getting such frequent playing time given that he is hitting well below the Mendoza Line, and was even batting below .150 for much of the season.
14 Minnesota Twins: Logan Morrison
It really is a shame that Logan Morrison is the worst player currently on the Minnesota Twins roster. He was a popular and well-liked member of the Tampa Bay Rays last season, where he had his breakout season. The Twins signed Morrison, hoping he could come close to replicating that success. It appears Morrison has done the exact opposite, struggling to find any sort of consistency at the plate and has not shown any semblance of the power he displayed last season.
13 New York Mets: Jose Reyes
The New York Mets have been pretty bad so far this season. It really is a wonder why the Mets continue to have Jose Reyes on their roster.
Perhaps it is because of sentimental reasons they are holding onto Reyes, who was a star for the Mets earlier on in his career.
It really isn’t because of his offense or defense, because he has struggled on both sides in 2018. After all, it says a lot that the former batting champion only has 15 hits this season and we are at the halfway mark of the season.
12 New York Yankees: Greg Bird
The New York Yankees have been one of the top teams in all of MLB this season. A lot of it has to do with their terrific offense and deep lineup, highlighted by sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. However, there has been one black large black hole in their lineup and it is from first baseman Greg Bird. He was expected to have a big season for them and solidify his place as their future first baseman, but that is in doubt given his immense struggles this season.
11 Oakland Athletics: Kendall Graveman
Kendall Graveman might have been considered the best player on the Oakland Athletics roster as recently as 2016. He appeared to be on the precipice of breaking out and becoming a talented young pitcher at the top of the A’s rotation. Unfortunately, 2018 has seen Graveman take a massive step backwards. He has an ERA that currently sits north of 7.00, making it obvious that he does not belong in the major leagues at the moment. Hopefully this stint on the Disabled List will help to rectify part of the problem with his pitching.
10 Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris
The Philadelphia Phillies are starting to look like a team that is on the rise. They boast some very talented young players who are starting to succeed at the major league level.
As with any team, the Phillies have a number of players who have been underperforming.
Relief pitcher Hector Neris is one such player who severely underperformed, and his numbers so far this season are much worse than they were last season. Neris should likely be sent down to Triple-A to work on his pitching since he has cost the Phillies a couple of wins this season.
9 Pittsburgh Pirates: Sean Rodriguez
Sean Rodriguez is considered a super utility player, meaning he can play at pretty much any position on the diamond. These types are players are considered valuable because it provides teams with added roster flexibility. However, these players are only useful if they can hit as well. Unfortunately, Rodriguez has not been doing much of that in 2018 so far. His batting average continues to sit well below the Mendoza Line and striking out far more often than both he and the Pirates would like.
8 San Diego Padres: Bryan Mitchell
Bryan Mitchell was acquired by the San Diego Padres along with Chase Headley in the off-season, in a trade that has gone terribly for the Padres. Headley would have been the worst player, but he was released by the team. This leaves Mitchell as the worst player currently on the Padres roster, as his struggles have followed him from the American League into the National League. Mitchell is walking far too many batters to be effective, which inevitably results in him also surrendering a lot of earned runs.
7 San Francisco Giants: Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija spent most of the first half of the season as the San Francisco Giants’ de facto ace, following injuries to Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto.
Even though Samardzija is truly a mid-rotation starter, his stats this season have been very alarming.
His home runs allowed statistic has spiked significantly, and he is not fooling any of the opposition batters at this point – as can be seen from his ERA that sits just below 7.00 right now. The Giants cannot be happy with the ways things have been going for ‘Shark’.
6 Seattle Mariners: Mike Zunino
The Seattle Mariners have a pretty good lineup that features Nelson Cruz, Dee Gordon, Jean Segura, and Kyle Seager. When Robinson Cano returns from his suspension, he is another impact bat. However, the Mariners offense have had to work around getting virtually zero offensive production from their starting catcher, Mike Zunino. He was counted on to be the starting catcher and provide some solid contributions offensively and defensively, but he has struggled to do either with any sort of consistency.
5 St. Louis Cardinals: Dexter Fowler
The St. Louis Cardinals don’t generally make big splashes in free agency, but the few that they do have often turned out well.
In the past few offseasons, the Cardinals have made two big mistakes in handing out sizeable contracts to Dexter Fowler and Greg Holland.
While both have struggled considerably since signing with the Cardinals, we will have to give the edge to Dexter Fowler as being the worst player on the roster. He has not hit well all season long and his defense has also started to slip, meaning the Cardinals will likely not be getting the star outfielder they were hoping they signed.
4 Tampa Bay Rays: Sergio Romo
A couple of years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays were lauded for always seeming to get the best out of their pitchers. Their offense may have been weak, but they could generally rely on solid pitching from their starters and relievers. Things have changed, and their bullpen has been a huge letdown for the Rays. Perhaps none more than veteran reliever Sergio Romo, whose sky-high ERA tells the whole story. He has appeared in 34 games, and has already given up 17 earned runs and is clearly not the pitcher he once was during his prime years.
3 Texas Rangers: Rougned Odor
Not a whole lot has gone right for the Texas Rangers this season, who had hoped to be able to keep the bulk of their roster intact for another playoff contending season.
A lot of their core players have underperformed for them, but perhaps none more than second baseman Rougned Odor.
He signed a big contract with the Rangers, who planned on him being a big part of the team’s future. While that might still the case, his significant offensive struggles so far in 2018 will give the team some cause for concern.
2 Toronto Blue Jays: Russell Martin
It must be pretty bad when you are being considerably outhit by a backup catcher, Luke Maile. That is the current state of things for Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who is getting paid $20 million and can barely keep his batting average above the Mendoza Line. Many teams can handle a light hitting catcher as long as their defense is solid, but the normally reliable Martin has also struggled with pitch framing and has had a very hard time throwing out base stealers.
1 Washington Nationals: Brandon Kintzler
The Washington Nationals find themselves trying to chase down the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, a position they didn’t expect to find themselves in this year. The Nationals are having a hard time with a large number of players really underperforming in the first half of the season. While there are a couple of players who could merit appearing on this list, we will have to go with relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler. He was acquired last year to help solidify the back-end of the bullpen and provide shut down innings. Kintzler has not been very effective at that, surrendering a run in at least half of his appearances. That is not a good sign from a late-inning reliever!
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