February 22, 2012 by Matt Musico
I read a great article written by Jon Paul Morosi on MSN.com in which he listed the twelve players that he thinks are going to be watched very closely in 2012. There are plenty of players that will be judged in the court of public opinion this year; Morosi did a great job with his list and defending all of his picks, but I don’t agree with some of the players that made his list. The top twelve players that need to watch their P’s and Q’s in 2012 according to Jon Paul Morosi are:
- Josh Hamilton- Texas Rangers
- Carl Crawford- Boston Red Sox
- Jayson Werth- Washington Nationals
- Vernon Wells- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Andre Ethier- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Johan Santana- New York Mets
- Adam Dunn- Chicago White Sox
- Alex Rodriguez- New York Yankees
- Clay Buchholtz- Boston Red Sox
- Ichiro Suzuki- Seattle Mariners
- Buster Posey- San Francisco Giants
- Jason Heyward- Atlanta Braves
So, let me start with the players that I feel shouldn’t really be on this list. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that Josh Hamilton is at the top; the sole reason that he is ranked #1 is because of his relapse a few weeks ago. I’m not trying to downplay his mistake one bit, but I think people are going to forget about this quickly, just as quickly as his last relapse. That occurrence could have an effect on his contract extension, but when he comes out and tears up the league, Texas will have no choice but to show him the money and the years. Andre Ethier and Johan Santana shouldn’t be on this list either; the Dodgers outfielder is in his contract year, looking to play well enough for a long-term deal, but even if he has a fantastic year, he’s a complimentary player at best. Los Angeles made that clear with the Matt Kemp extension this past winter. In regards to Santana, the Mets are expecting him to play and earn his $20 million salary this year, but at the end of the day, if he has a mediocre year, I don’t think he will be under much scrutiny purely because of the state of the Mets these days.
Moving onto the second half of the list, Alex Rodriguez has no need to be on there because he’s been under a microscope since he signed that $252 million deal with the Rangers. Any player that is making $30 million in their late 30s is already under plenty of pressure. Plus, what if A-Rod has a bad year? It’s not like the Yankees are going to cut him or try to trade him; no one will take on that contract, so regardless of his performance, New York is stuck with him…they just hope he plays well. Lastly, I think it’s unfair to put Clay Buchholtz on this list because Morosi pretty much blamed his injury for part of the Sox collapse, when it was really the poor play and lack of dedication from the rest of the team.
That leaves seven more players on this list of twelve; I’m going to rank them from top to bottom, with spot #1 being the most pressure and #7 being the least:
Crawford and Dunn head my list because they’re both entering the second year of their big free agent contract and still need to show their respective fan bases that they are worth the investment that the front office made in them. Crawford needs to bounce back quickly after he returns from his wrist surgery and Dunn needs to erase his sub-.200 batting average ASAP.
Jason Heyward was a problem child in his sophomore season, taking both physical and mental steps back in his progress. He’s a big part of that Atlanta line-up, and he needs to be right for that offense to go on all cylinders. Jason Werth is another player in the second year of his huge contract following an underwhelming performance in 2011. He needs to remember the type of player he is and play to his strengths instead of trying to do too much.
Buster Posey is ranked fifth on my list because there is a good amount of pressure on him to return to his 2010 World Championship form with San Francisco after the gruesome injury he suffered last May. Once he was out for the year, the offense struggled mightily, and they’re counting on him to be the player that he was. Spring training will be crucial for him not only to get his timing back at the plate, but get his legs underneath him behind the plate as well.
I don’t think Vernon Wells has a whole lot of pressure with not performing up to his contract because it doesn’t seem like many people talk about it! Plus, the addition of Pujols into the Angel line-up will add some more protection and take some of the focus off of Wells. Ichiro is at the bottom of my list because he puts more pressure on himself to be perfect more than anyone else. He had one bad year after ten fantastic ones. All great players aren’t done until they say they are, and Ichiro isn’t done yet.
Let the debates begin…who are your most scrutinized players for 2012?
Category Sports | Tags: Adam Dunn, Alex Rodriguez, Andre Ethier, Buster Posey, Carl Crawford, Clay Buchholtz, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Heyward, Jason Werth, Johan Santana, John Paul Morosi, Josh Hamilton, MLB, MLB players under scrutiny, Vernon Wells