The 2015 MLB season featured some incredible moments on and off the field. An army of talented rookies made their debuts, Bryce Harper finally turned into the superstar we knew he would become, and Pete Rose became the good guy thanks to his quirky moments on FOX's broadcast during the playoffs.
We saw a light explosion of power with nine players hitting 40 home runs following a 2014 campaign when only one guy reached the mark. Pitchers like Zack Greinke and Jake Arrieta had years on the mound where at times they looked impossible to hit. Two no-hitters from Max Scherzer, 301 strikeouts from Clayton Kershaw, and the Kansas City Royals redeeming themselves after a heartbreaking World Series loss in 2014 to win it all this year were huge in making this season a success.
Unfortunately things weren't great for everyone. Not all players were so successful as some either put together incredibly disappointing seasons while others simply made general managers question why they ever called them up from Triple-A in the first place.
To set a standard for a list of the MLB players who had the worst 2015 seasons, players must have reached a certain amount of at-bats or innings pitched. Position players must have received at least 100 at-bats to qualify for this list. Starting pitchers must have reached 50 innings and relief pitchers need to have logged 20. So for Craig Gentry and his .120 batting average in 50 at-bats or Akeel Morris and his 67.50 ERA in 0.2 innings; they will have to wait for another all-inclusive list for their moment of glory.
Another note, not included will be players who greatly underperformed yet were quality enough players. As horrible as Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were this season for the Boston Red Sox, there were plenty of guys that were worse.
These are 15 of the worst MLB players from the 2015 season and why it was a year each of them would like to forget.
15 Omar Infante
Let's get technical for a moment and remain positive, if only briefly. Plenty of negativity is about to follow, so before that, I would like to declare Kansas City Royals' second baseman Omar Infante the best worst player of 2015. Infante was so bad he was the only player on the Royals who never had a significant time leading the All-Star balloting when all of his teammates were receiving an unheard of amount of votes daily. He also lost his job when Ben Zobrist joined the team and Alex Gordon was back from an injury thus ultimately leaving him off of the postseason roster in favor of guys like Raul Mondesi Jr., who had never even played a big league game.
The numbers Infante put up included slashing .220/.234/.318 in 440 at-bats. He walked only 9 times all year for a staggeringly small margin between his batting average and OBP. It was a very bad year from a guy whose shortcomings were masked by a strong offense around him. Sadly, the Royals still have him under contract for another two seasons and no desire to use him.
14 Casey McGehee
If they're allowed to take away Comeback Player of the Year Awards then surely Casey McGehee is going to attempt to hide his as it might be snatched up any day now. The veteran third baseman played so poorly for the San Francisco Giants in 2015 that the team decided to release him before the year was through.
McGehee's season didn't end there though as the Miami Marlins took a chance on the guy who gave them a lot more in 2014. McGehee was even worse in his return to Miami as he continued to struggle at the plate. Combined between both teams, McGehee slashed .198/.264/.274 and had only 14 extra base hits in 237 at-bats. Leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth, the 2014 leader in double plays grounded into another 18 this past season in far fewer plate appearances. It's hard to find anything nice to say about the 2015 season McGehee had. Perhaps it's best not to say anything at all, as the numbers do enough of the talking.
13 Mike Zunino
I was very tempted to partner Mike Zunino here with backup catcher Jesus Sucre. However, upon further review, Zunino was much worse given the expectation as the starter. I'm not sure what the issue is with the Seattle Mariners finding a credible catcher and Zunino has been the latest to make it a near automatic out.
Although Zunino did display some power, his 11 home runs didn't make up for the 132 strikeouts he also delivered. He finished the year slashing .174/.230/.300 in 350 at-bats in a year he was supposed to be much better. Tallying everything up, he only had 22 extra bases. The 2015 season was so bad for Zunino it actually makes us wish Jesus Montero could still play behind the plate. There’s a good chance the 3rd pick in the 2012 draft, Zunino, is on a couple of baseball’s biggest draft bust lists in the near future. One more bad season and it’s safe to add him in.
12 David Buchanan
Playing for the Philadelphia Phillies is not nearly as lucrative as it was only a few years ago. Pitcher David Buchanan was one of the casualties of the 2015 season, as the worst team in baseball allowed him to start 15 games for them. Few were very good as he received a nice kick in the pants from opposing offenses all year long.
Buchanan finished the year 2-9 with a 6.99 ERA for the 99-loss team. One of the bigger shortcomings for Buchanan was his 1.52 strikeout/walk ratio. His 1.848 WHIP also made for a miserable sophomore campaign coming off a 2014 season where he actually had decent numbers. Amazingly, Buchanan's season could have been even worse. After an early September start he had a 9.11 ERA. His final four starts of the season helped lower it to something a little more respectable, even if it was bad enough to land him into the dirty dozen of the worst players from 2015.
11 Taylor Featherston
An injury to third baseman David Freese gave Taylor Featherston a chance to make his MLB debut in 2015. While fellow third basemen freshmen like Kris Bryant and Miguel Sano had great years, Featherston falls into the category of having one of the worst. Featherston slashed .162/.212/.247 for the Angels in 154 at-bats. In the field, particularly when playing shortstop, Featherston was not very good either. He committed four errors in only 94 innings for a .932 fielding percentage.
Now at 26-years-old with one very bad season to show for his MLB career, Featherston will be lucky to get another year to prove he belongs. The Angels are seeking third base help in the offseason and if they get their way, Featherston will be back in Triple-A and nowhere near Mike Trout's name in the starting lineup.
10 Bud Norris
Bud Norris pitched incredibly well for the Baltimore Orioles in 2014. Something must have happened in the offseason as the veteran made a complete 180 degree spin for the 2015 season. While with the Orioles, Norris was 2-9 with a 7.06 ERA. Baltimore was so disappointed with him that they moved him to the bullpen where he continued to struggle. An early August release for Norris was how his career with the Orioles ended before the San Diego Padres decided to recruit him. Norris didn't pitch much better there, going 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 20 relief appearances.
Norris' bad 2015 season looked even worse considering his career year in 2014. His 15 wins and 3.65 ERA were both new bests. Meanwhile, his 6.72 ERA in 2015 was a career worst for the mid-rotation pitcher who now looks like a mop-up reliever.
9 Dan Uggla
Are we surprised to see Dan Uggla on any worst lists these days? The fallen second baseman has stopped hitting baseballs and instead is hitting hard times. The Washington Nationals gave him a chance to play for them in 2015, but he didn't come through. In 120 at-bats for Washington, Uggla slashed .183/.298/.300. The hope was he could provide them with decent enough power off the bench, however only two home runs was far below expectations.
Considering the Atlanta Braves still had to pay him over $12 million last year to play horribly for the Nationals, I'm torn between calling this a bust for Washington or a spy for Atlanta. Either way, Uggla's highlight reel of bad moments was extended following the 2015 season and includes more than muffing a routine ground ball in the All-Star Game a decade ago.
8 Ross Detwiler
Pitcher Ross Detwiler was not saved by a change of scenery in 2015. Starting the season with the Texas Rangers after an offseason trade that brought him to the Lone Star State, Detwiler would eventually finish the year as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Before that though, as a member of the Rangers working both as a starter and reliever, Detwiler was 0-5 with a 7.12 ERA. He had a 1.90 WHIP hurt mostly by the 13 hits per 9 he allowed while with the team. They did release him before too much damage was done, but not before he spread his poor pitching skills into Atlanta.
While with the Braves, Detwiler was 1-0 with a 7.63 ERA. Atlanta was smart enough to only allow Detwiler to pitch out of the bullpen although by that point they had no opportunity to earn a playoff spot and just needed innings. Detwiler ultimately finished the year with a 7.25 ERA and an incredibly poor 2.02 WHIP. Watch out Independent Leagues! Detwiler is coming your way in 2016.
7 John Mayberry Jr.
The Texas Rangers probably regret taking John Mayberry Jr. with their first pick in the 2005 draft. More upset by his big league career though could be the New York Mets, who willingly gave him 110 at-bats in 2015 for some unknown reason.
Another bad year for the veteran second-generation outfielder included a .164/.227/.318 slash line complete with 33 strikeouts. Only because the Mets were in dire need of some corner outfield help for much of the season was he able to remain with the big league club long enough to struggle so often that he was a qualifier for this list. Mayberry Jr. was released by the Mets around the time they traded for Yoenis Cespedes as his services were no longer needed. Shortly thereafter he signed with the Chicago White Sox only to again receive his walking papers less than three weeks later.
6 Rene Rivera
You shouldn't expect much out of a career .211 hitter especially when he has mostly been added to the depth chart as the backup catcher. However, after Rene Rivera had a solid season with the San Diego Padres in 2014 while playing in over 100 games for the first time in his career, the Tampa Bay Rays thought he was capable of becoming their number one man behind the plate.
Rivera proved the 2014 season was an anomaly when he slashed .178/.213/.275 in 298 at-bats for the Rays in 2015. He also struck out 86 times for a rate far too high coming from a guy who only hit 5 home runs. Before you think Rivera gave the Rays good defense, think again. He committed 11 errors behind the plate and had only a .987 fielding percentage. The league average in 2015 was .994. The only plus might be that he was able to gun down 37% of attempted base stealers. This far from makes up for the other lackluster moments he had throughout the season at the plate and behind the dish.
5 Matt Boyd
As one of the players the Toronto Blue Jays traded to the Detroit Tigers for David Price, there is some pressure on Matt Boyd to perform well. So far, with both teams, it hasn't gone so well. Combined as a member of the Blue Jays and Tigers in 2015, Boyd went 1-6 with a 7.53 ERA. He also allowed 2.7 home runs per 9 in a rookie year he would soon like to forget.
An interesting note from Boyd's debut season is that he had his worst and best starts in back-to-back outings. His last start with the Blue Jays saw him give up 7 runs in the first inning without recording an out. He was lifted before getting the chance as the Boston Red Sox tagged him for 2 home runs already. However in his next start, his first with the Tigers, Boyd managed to throw 7 innings of one-run ball against the Kansas City Royals. It was Boyd's lone win on the year and set a standard he wouldn't be able to match again.
4 Buck Farmer
The Detroit Tigers were not short on bad pitchers in 2015. Among them, Buck Farmer was the worst. So far in two short seasons with the Tigers, he remains winless. Somehow, even with a 7.36 ERA in 2015, his career numbers did slightly improve. The Tigers gave him five starts and nine more appearances out of the bullpen to try putting things together. Unfortunately he never did and each time he took the mound, daily fantasy baseball players knew to stack against him.
More horrible statistics: Farmer had a 3.8 walks per 9 ratio and only 5.4 strikeouts per 9. He also surrendered 2.2 home runs per 9, making it nearly impossible for the Tigers to allow him to stay deep into games. Farmer will play in 2016 as a 25-year-old looking to finally live up to his 5th round draft status. At the very least, he has a unique name.
3 Matt Joyce
Finding a credible left fielder was tough for the Los Angeles Angels in 2015. Josh Hamilton's drug relapse in the offseason opened up the chance for the recently acquired Matt Joyce to step in and have a great inaugural season for his new team. The result was far different. In 247 at-bats with the Angels, Joyce slashed .174/.272/.291 with only 5 home runs. For a guy who should hit 15-20 a year, this was incredibly disappointing.
Unlike many players on this list, Joyce's struggles go beyond personal numbers. His inability to give the Angels a consistent bat in the lineup forced them to seek help elsewhere at the trade deadline by adding David DeJesus, David Murphy, and Shane Victorino. Had he been able to even reach the Mendoza Line or provide them with a power bat, the Angels could have potentially been a playoff team. Instead they had to scramble at the end before calling it quits in the last week of the season.
2 Nick Franklin
Can we officially call Nick Franklin a bust? He was drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners and in 2015 put up statistics for the Tampa Bay Rays that even the most loving father couldn't appreciate. Just barely qualifying for this list with 101 at-bats, Franklin slashed .158/.213/.307 while also delivering below average defense. At shortstop, one of the positions he played at frequently, he had only a .909 fielding percentage.
Perhaps because they knew he had no value anywhere else, the Rays also allowed Franklin to pitch an inning. As you might expect, it didn't go so well. Franklin did regret three outs, but not before allowing two runs to cross the plate. A two-run home run from Washington Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos was the big blow in the inning which gave Franklin yet another position he stunk at this season.
1 Drew Stubbs
If all you saw of outfielder Drew Stubbs was his 2015 performance, you would wonder why he is allowed to play professional baseball. At one time a classic power hitter, minus the power and mostly just the slew of strikeouts, Stubbs hit a new low this past season. While with the Colorado Rockies, Stubbs slashed just .216/.286/.431 in 114 plate appearances. The worst part of it was that he struck out 50 times.
Stubbs was eventually released by the Rockies in late August only for the Texas Rangers to regretfully pick him up. Down the stretch, Stubbs went just 2 for 21 for the Rangers with 10 strikeouts. It gave him an overall slash line for the year of .195/.283/.382 and 60 strikeouts in only 123 at-bats for a dreadful strikeout per at-bat ratio. If there’s any question as to why Stubbs is at the top of this list, a strikeout in just about every second at-bat is hard to top.
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