Fantasy baseball 1st-half busts

A look at the biggest flops from the first half of the fantasy baseball season.

Through the first half of the 2009 baseball season, many perennial all-stars have been downright awful. It’s hard to explain why it has happened to so many this season, but it’s true.

For an indication, take a look at the recent All Star Game in St. Louis. There were 28 first-timers invited to play in the 80th edition of the Midsummer Classic, which is tied for second-most in history.

Casual fans may like the appearance of new faces in the big mid-season show, but for fantasy baseball aficionados it means many big-ticket players haven't lived up to expectations.

Here's a look at the biggest flops of the first half:

Russel Martin (LAD — C): The Canadian's third big-league season has been his worst. He's hit just two home runs with 27 RBIs and a .258 average.

Geovany Soto (CHC — C): Last year, Soto played like a veteran on his way to claiming the NL rookie of the year award and a starting spot on the all-star team. This year, the Cubs catcher is playing more like a rookie. He has tallied just 50 hits, 19 runs scored, 10 doubles and eight homers.

Jimmy Rollins (PHI — SS): The 2007 NL MVP has looked anything but this year, batting an unimpressive .229 and enduring a career-worst 0-for-28 slump in June. Worse, his speed hasn't been much help, as he's scored just 51 runs with a modest 16 stolen bases.

Grady Sizemore (CLE — OF): Last year's fantasy stud has not shown why he's a perennial top-10 pick in most leagues. Sizemore has been average at best, batting a lowly .235 with 14 doubles and an average of one strikeout per game.

Vladimir Guerrero (LAA — OF): Guerrero just can't seem to stay healthy this season. The 2004 MVP is back on the DL for the second time. Though he's hitting a respectable .290, many thought Vlade would be able to regain his home run-hitting form from years past. That doesn't seem to be the case, as he quite shockingly has a measly four home runs, 21 RBIs, eight doubles and seven walks.

Josh Hamilton (TEX — OF): He may have made the AL all-star team, but he's not the same player who put on a spectacular show in last year's home run derby at Yankee Stadium. Hamilton has been mediocre this season with only 37 hits, six homers, 65 total bases and a .243 average.

David Ortiz (BOS — DH): Though he's looked better of late, the big slugger is still having perhaps the worst season of his career. After averaging 38 home runs a season over the past eight, he's hit only 12 so far in 2009. He's also batting an anemic .222 and already has more strikeouts than he did all of last season.

Jose Reyes (NYM — SS): Reyes was selected, on average, fourth in Yahoo! Fantasy Sports leagues. The speedster is now ranked 748th after going on the disabled list in mid-May with calf and groin issues. Reyes had just 41 hits and 15 RBIs before getting injured, and his rehab hasn't been going as well as expected.

(Dis)honourable Mentions:

CC Sabathia (NYY — SP): After signing the most lucrative contract for a pitcher in MLB history with the Yankees over the summer (a seven-year deal worth $161 million US), Sabathia is having an average year. A complete-game machine in 2008, he's just 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA, two complete games and one shutout.

Brandon Webb (ARI — SP): Like Reyes, Webb was a top pick for poolies this year. But it was a wasted choice as the former Cy Young winner pitched just four innings this season before ending up on the long-term DL with a right shoulder injury.

Cole Hamels (PHI — SP): The reigning World Series MVP looks like a pitcher who had a short off-season, posting a 5-5 record with a bloated 4.87 ERA.

Garrett Atkins (COL — 3B/1B): Atkins has averaged 25 home runs per season over the past three, but this year has found his place squarely on the Colorado bench. He's largely played himself out of job, batting .230 with only six long balls and 28 RBIs.

Manny Ramirez (LAD — OF):  He's performed well when in the lineup, but Ramirez missed 50 games after being suspended for testing postiive for a banned substance.