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View Full Version : What player underachieved the most?



Cedric
03-20-2012, 09:05 PM
I read an article about J.D Drew being forced to retired because he can't get a job. It got me thinking about players that were "HOF bound" that just didn't deliver. And I'm not including players with drug or major injury history.

Drew had a solid career don't get me wrong. I'm just wondering who surprised you by failing?

The two biggest from the past decade that I can remember are Sean Burroughs and Ben Grieve.

edabbs44
03-20-2012, 09:08 PM
Was Burroughs struggles related to drugs, or was that after?

Ben McDonald was a big one.

dougdirt
03-20-2012, 10:41 PM
Dwight Gooden. Josh Hamilton. Eric Davis. Mark Prior. Kerry Wood.

These guys had, without a doubt, Hall of Fame caliber talent and even threw together HOF caliber seasons. But none of them will wind up in the Hall (I guess there is an outside shot for Hamilton, but it will be tough to rack up the counting stats) for various different reasons. Guys like Burroughs, Greive and McDonald were just super prospects who never worked out (or were perceived to be) to the extent they were expected to. I count guys with injuries and drug issues, because fair or not, they happened and led to disappointment.

Scrap Irony
03-20-2012, 10:43 PM
Reds-related:

Kal Daniels
Greatest swing in baseball. Sure, injuries hurt. But the work ethic-- or lack thereof-- hurt worse.

Non-Reds related:

Jim Ray Hart
Really good 3B early in his career. As in HOF-bound numbers. Never realized his potential, though. No injuries that I know of.

VR
03-20-2012, 11:42 PM
Reds-related:

Kal Daniels
Greatest swing in baseball. Sure, injuries hurt. But the work ethic-- or lack thereof-- hurt worse.



Kal Daniels is the name that instantly popped into my head.
Dude had a crazy stick.

George Anderson
03-21-2012, 12:38 AM
Kirk Gibson....was compared to Mantle alot early on.
Greg Jefferies....the New York media hyped him early.

cincinnati chili
03-21-2012, 01:11 AM
I read an article about J.D Drew being forced to retired because he can't get a job. It got me thinking about players that were "HOF bound" that just didn't deliver. And I'm not including players with drug or major injury history.

Drew had a solid career don't get me wrong. I'm just wondering who surprised you by failing?

The two biggest from the past decade that I can remember are Sean Burroughs and Ben Grieve.

Grieve is a great call. It almost looked like he was disinterested after a while.

I know you're not saying Drew had a disappointing career but a lot of people think that. I think he was vastly underrated as a pro because he wasn't an RBI guy and a lot of his OBP came from walks.

Saw him in the 95 college world series (live) and thought he'd be a hall-of-famer. If he had kept up his 9-year pace in the NL (900+ OPS) during his five years in Fenway, then he'd deserve it. Nonetheless, he was valuable.

It's hard to believe he only made one all-star team. I mean, Carl Crawford has made four and Crawford's best years are about equivalent to some of Drew's worst.

westofyou
03-21-2012, 01:14 AM
Kirk Gibson....was compared to Mantle alot early on.
Greg Jefferies....the New York media hyped him early.

Steve Kemp, Jason Thompson, Chris Brown, Willie Greene, the list is immense

Frank Pastore is the first pitcher that comes to mind, the Dodgers had a mess of them, Brock, Marshall are two that leap out

Johnny Footstool
03-21-2012, 01:39 AM
Rich Harden. When he came up to the bigs, most of the quotes about him included comments like, "With that easy, effortless pitching motion, he's going to be a workhorse."

George Anderson
03-21-2012, 01:40 AM
Brock, Marshall are two that leap out

Oh yes, those 2 put up monster numbers in Albuquerque. It seems like the hitting numbers from players that played there in that era were always over inflated.

Add Bobby Murcer, Ben McDonald and Clint Hurdle to the list.

edabbs44
03-21-2012, 08:03 AM
Van Poppel. Jeffries was a great call. Wily Mo. Bam Bam Meulens.

cumberlandreds
03-21-2012, 08:42 AM
Kirk Gibson....was compared to Mantle alot early on.
Greg Jefferies....the New York media hyped him early.

Seeing Jefferies name reminded me of another 1st round pick of the Mets that never made it big. Shawn Abner. Mets traded him to the Padres and he never lived up to his 1st pick status. I saw him play in Rookie ball in Kingsport Ten. One game he hit a HR to tie the game in the 8th. Then one in the 10th to win it. Looked like a great one but never panned out.

Bernie Carbo was another. Drugs got him.

Dave Revering was a stud in the minors that never did much in the majors.

RedLegsToday
03-21-2012, 08:52 AM
"King Kong" Keller - from 1939-1947, .289/.413/.531, 157 OPS+ in just over 4000 plate appearances. Hurt his back in 1947 and that was that (only about 600 pa total in his last 5 seasons).

Big Klu - 171 hr, 140K(!) from 53-56, hurt his back and then only hit 34 more home runs over the last 5 years of his career.

LoganBuck
03-21-2012, 09:15 AM
Jeff Francoeur was billed as the next great player. I remember Keith Olberman slobbering all over him on ESPN radio. Gotta learn the strike zone.

klw
03-21-2012, 09:28 AM
Paul Householder. I think that kid's wing at Cooperstown was set up before he ever made it to Cincinnati.

WildcatFan
03-21-2012, 10:07 AM
Grady Sizemore still has a chance to come back I guess, but it's looking less and less that way. He looked like the next Carlos Beltran at one point. Also, come to think of it, maybe Carlos Beltran belongs here.

chicoruiz
03-21-2012, 11:35 AM
The entire Ranger outfield of Pete Incaviglia, Oddibe McDowell and Ruben Sierra...

dfs
03-21-2012, 11:58 AM
Big Klu - 171 hr, 140K(!) from 53-56, hurt his back and then only hit 34 more home runs over the last 5 years of his career.

I grew up hearing about Klu from my dad and of course as the batting coach for the BRM. I never heard that. Thanks.

Certainly the most anticipated player who turned into worse than nothing was Willie Greene. I don't know that anybody expected a HOF career, but we certainly expected an everyday player. When he got away from the protection this teams front office was giving him, he was out of the majors in two years at the age of 28.

Kal Daniels delivered more, but oh, what he could have been.

Character may not put you over the top, but it at least gets you in the game.

bucksfan2
03-21-2012, 12:07 PM
JD Drew had a nice career, was paid like a top tier player, but never really delievered on that promise.

Eric Davis is someone who pops into my head when I think of "what could have been."

Strawberry and Doc Gooden along with many others who drank or drugged themselves out of the league.

I think you can make the argument that Josh Hamilton has lived up to his potential.

RedLegsToday
03-21-2012, 12:32 PM
Originally Posted by RedLegsToday
Big Klu - 171 hr, 140K(!) from 53-56, hurt his back and then only hit 34 more home runs over the last 5 years of his career.

I grew up hearing about Klu from my dad and of course as the batting coach for the BRM. I never heard that. Thanks.

Klu is the last player to hit 40 homeruns with fewer than 40 strikeouts in a season. and he did that 3 years in a row! I believe he hurt his back in '56 and ended up with 35 hr and only 31k that year. And that was basically it. He hit 6,4,4,5, and 15 in 200-300 pa per year over the next 5 years and retired at 36. He's not really an underachiever as much as a "what could have been", like Eric Davis. Same with Charlie Keller. He was a monster for the Yankees, missed almost 2 years to WWII, came back had a big year in '46, then hurt his back during the '47 season and was basically done. I think you can put Don Mattingly in this category also.

GoReds
03-21-2012, 01:35 PM
Don Gullett and Gary Nolan, both due to injuries.

Loved Eric Davis, but the guy was built like a greyhound and just couldn't withstand the punishment.

Austin Kearns was a mega disappointment. I lump him in with Kal Daniels when it comes to work ethic.

medford
03-21-2012, 02:07 PM
He didn't have the scoutting love, but he definently got some run with the fans for a brief while: Motorboat Jones.

Austin Kearns is the 1st name that jumped to my head. He was never the same once Ray King sat on him at home plate.

Kevin Mitchell certainly had a solid MLB career, but his swing was so sweet that he could have been a hall of famer if he had any work ethic.

Rick Ankiel was heading down that path until his first postseason.

RedsBaron
03-21-2012, 08:58 PM
The 1969 Reds had a couple of young outfielders that I would add to this list: 26 year old Alex Johnson and 23 year old Bobby Tolan.
Johnson was a terrific hitter and won a batting title with the Angels in 1970, but his career then fell apart, partially because of his attitude. He was one of the most unlikeable players to ever wear a Reds uniform.
Tolan looked great in '69, hitting .305 with 21 HRs, and even better in 1970, hitting .316 with 16 HRs and stealing a NL leading 57 bases. He got hurt that off season, missed the 1971 season, played at a lesser level in 1972, and then was basically done, while also copping an attitude.
Fred Lynn, whom I really liked, also probably could make this list. He had a few seasons, such as 1975 and 1979, where he not only looked like a sure future Hall of Famer; Lynn looked like an "inner circle, no-doubter Hall of Famer." In part because of injuries, he could not sustain his greatness.
Pete Reiser may deserve mention too. His inability to stop running into outfield walls helped derail his career.

dougdirt
03-21-2012, 09:05 PM
I think you can make the argument that Josh Hamilton has lived up to his potential.

Josh Hamilton should have multiple MVP awards and 250 home runs by now.

_Sir_Charles_
03-21-2012, 09:17 PM
Bob Horner pops to mind for me. He simply BURST onto the scene and within a short time was an afterthought. I know injuries played a major role, but IIRC he even left the states for a season to play ball in Japan.

Another one that seemed a sure-fire HOF'er was Fernando Valenzuela.

I'm not sure I'd say either "underachieved" as I would say that they failed to live up to the early promise. They both started at such a high level, the expectations became to unrealistic to meet.

TheNext44
03-21-2012, 09:39 PM
Albert Belle, Andruw Jones, and Jose Canseco, were all HOF bound at one point.

Ghosts of 1990
03-21-2012, 09:51 PM
Dwight Gooden. Josh Hamilton. Eric Davis. Mark Prior. Kerry Wood.

These guys had, without a doubt, Hall of Fame caliber talent and even threw together HOF caliber seasons. But none of them will wind up in the Hall (I guess there is an outside shot for Hamilton, but it will be tough to rack up the counting stats) for various different reasons. Guys like Burroughs, Greive and McDonald were just super prospects who never worked out (or were perceived to be) to the extent they were expected to. I count guys with injuries and drug issues, because fair or not, they happened and led to disappointment.

And Darryl Strawberry.

mth123
03-21-2012, 10:22 PM
Sean Casey. He was sold to the fanbase as being what Joey Votto actually is.

Sea Ray
03-21-2012, 10:27 PM
Greg Jefferies....the New York media hyped him early.

You beat me to it. He was the name I was thinking of. To me underachievers can only be healthy players. Guys like Eric Davis, Josh Hamilton and JD Drew can't be called underachievers because injuries broke down their careers. Not everyone can be Hank Aaron and Pete Rose health wise

dougdirt
03-21-2012, 10:47 PM
You beat me to it. He was the name I was thinking of. To me underachievers can only be healthy players. Guys like Eric Davis, Josh Hamilton and JD Drew can't be called underachievers because injuries broke down their careers. Not everyone can be Hank Aaron and Pete Rose health wise

Injuries did not break down the career of Josh Hamilton. Drug and alcohol abuse did.

REDblooded
03-21-2012, 10:47 PM
Van Poppel. Jeffries was a great call. Wily Mo. Bam Bam Meulens.

Was gonna mention Jeffries... I remember being a young kid collecting Topps baseball cards. Jeffries and Sheffield were the two hottest rookies that year IIRC... Not sure though

Tom Servo
03-21-2012, 10:57 PM
Albert Belle, Andruw Jones, and Jose Canseco, were all HOF bound at one point.
I'm still rather amazed at how quickly Andruw Jones regressed, and just after he turned 30.

edabbs44
03-21-2012, 11:26 PM
Was gonna mention Jeffries... I remember being a young kid collecting Topps baseball cards. Jeffries and Sheffield were the two hottest rookies that year IIRC... Not sure though

Sandy Alomar Jr that year as well.

George Anderson
03-21-2012, 11:41 PM
Joe Charboneau took MLB by storm in 1980 but fell hard and fast. Cleveland was the garbage bin of MLB at the time and Charboneau gave them something to cheer about, for a year anyway.

RedsManRick
03-22-2012, 12:14 AM
I seem to remember Jeffery Hammonds being really well regarded as a prospect. A few other guys that came to mind of recent vintage: Travis Lee, Richard Hidalgo, Ben Grieve, Ruben Mateo, AJ Burnett, Sean Burroughs, Brandon Claussen, Austin Kearns, Brandon Wood...

Cooper
03-22-2012, 08:50 AM
Is it possible Andruw Jones is older than we think? When you look at his career trajectory it kinda looks like a birth certificate issue.

Seems to me he was a phenom at a very early age and then regressed at a young age. I'm guessing.

As for being a failure and not living up to hype -Andruw has a 60 WAR -that's hall of fame territory- or very close. A CFer with incredible range and he hits 400 home runs --that's HOF stuff as far as i'm concerned

cumberlandreds
03-22-2012, 08:58 AM
Joe Charboneau took MLB by storm in 1980 but fell hard and fast. Cleveland was the garbage bin of MLB at the time and Charboneau gave them something to cheer about, for a year anyway.

Almost forgot about him. He was one of those one year wonders who fadees away fast.
Mark Fydrich was another one year wonder. Injuries did him in. But his personality left everlasting effects in Detroit and baseball.

Roy Tucker
03-22-2012, 08:59 AM
Not that there are hard and fast rules about these terms, but I have a hard time calling a player who didn't produce as expected because of injuries an "underachiever".

dougdirt
03-22-2012, 10:35 AM
Is it possible Andruw Jones is older than we think? When you look at his career trajectory it kinda looks like a birth certificate issue.

Seems to me he was a phenom at a very early age and then regressed at a young age. I'm guessing.

As for being a failure and not living up to hype -Andruw has a 60 WAR -that's hall of fame territory- or very close. A CFer with incredible range and he hits 400 home runs --that's HOF stuff as far as i'm concerned
I wouldn't dismiss that idea out of hand, but I wonder how much his issues had to do with his ability to stay in shape. It just seems that he got out of shape around the same time he started his decline. Maybe that was the age thing you talked about, but maybe he just didn't put in the work in the offseason anymore either.

Sea Ray
03-22-2012, 10:40 AM
Injuries did not break down the career of Josh Hamilton. Drug and alcohol abuse did.

I hear what you're saying and I consider that an injury of sorts which separates him from Gregg Jefferies. Of course the same "injury" screwed up the careers of Strawberry and Gooden as well

klw
03-22-2012, 10:43 AM
Not that there are hard and fast rules about these terms, but I have a hard time calling a player who didn't produce as expected because of injuries an "underachiever".

I do as well. If we did accept injuries, the injury to Tony Conigliaro and his subsequent decline would be up here on the list.

dougdirt
03-22-2012, 10:48 AM
I hear what you're saying and I consider that an injury of sorts which separates him from Gregg Jefferies. Of course the same "injury" screwed up the careers of Strawberry and Gooden as well

Getting kicked out of baseball isn't an injury.

Interesting thing about Jeffries though, and it isn't something you often see from guys who actually go on to solid careers in the Majors, but he had his highest home run total in a season as a pro, in the minor leagues as a teenager when he his 20 home runs in a season. He played 10 full seasons and then some partial seasons in the Majors and never topped 16.

Tony Cloninger
03-22-2012, 11:28 AM
Klu is the last player to hit 40 homeruns with fewer than 40 strikeouts in a season. and he did that 3 years in a row! I believe he hurt his back in '56 and ended up with 35 hr and only 31k that year. And that was basically it. He hit 6,4,4,5, and 15 in 200-300 pa per year over the next 5 years and retired at 36. He's not really an underachiever as much as a "what could have been", like Eric Davis. Same with Charlie Keller. He was a monster for the Yankees, missed almost 2 years to WWII, came back had a big year in '46, then hurt his back during the '47 season and was basically done. I think you can put Don Mattingly in this category also.


Wait a minute? Don Mattiungly was a disappointment? How is that? He was exactly what he was and had to work on that just to be what he was. He was a self made hitter....who had a very good career and only retired early beacuse of a back problem but after 10+ years of great hitting.

Drew is the most overrated ...underrated player i hear about..... beacuse of an OPS driven mostly by walking. Would not mind him on your team hitting 5th..... but you could not count on him to be there every day or even sometimes every other day.....or to be much of a catalyst, more like a cog.

Sea Ray
03-22-2012, 11:36 AM
Getting kicked out of baseball isn't an injury.



I get it and I agree with you that it's a decision, not a disease that makes you sniff white powder but it's awfully hard to put up numbers when you're kicked out. I see that differently than a guy like Gregg Jeffries.

Has anyone brought up Will Clark? He had a decent career but I still think he underachieved.

GoReds
03-22-2012, 01:35 PM
Has anyone brought up Will Clark? He had a decent career but I still think he underachieved.

No Reds fan would nominate Will Clark. If he just played against the Reds, Cooperstown would be renamed Will Clark-sville.

dabvu2498
03-22-2012, 01:45 PM
Jeremy Sowers comes to mind.

savafan
03-22-2012, 03:03 PM
Albert Belle, Andruw Jones, and Jose Canseco, were all HOF bound at one point.

As were Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaughn, and Ron Gant.