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Five Hitters who have disappointed in 2015: Heyward, Cano, and others

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Ray offers his thoughts on five of the most disappointing hitters in 2015, including Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, Padres outfielder Matt Kemp and others.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Every season, several first round hitters, and pitchers, fail to live up to their draft ranking and expectations, and disappoint their fantasy owners. This year is no different Today I am going to take a look at five hitters who have disappointed owners through the first two months plus of the 2015 season.

I chose to not include hitters who have been injured for a majority of the season, so that will exclude Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, Jonathan Lucroy and others.

So here is a look at the most disappointing hitters for 2015:

Robinson Cano, Mariners

Cano was a first round pick in the 2015 Tout Wars mixed league draft, and has been a disappointment in his second year in Seattle. I wrote about Cano in the June 6th Roto Roundup, and here is an excerpt:

I wasn't high on Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano coming into the season, but he exceeded my expectations last year, so I felt I needed to rank him based on lowered power expectations but with a solid batting average, runs and RBI totals. Well, he has been a big disappointment to date in 2015.

Cano went 0-4 in last night's 1-0 loss to the Rays, and is now hitting just .243-.283-.326 with 2 home runs, 22 runs scored and 18 RBI in 233 plate appearances. His power is down to the worst levels of his career, as his .083 ISO is less than half what it was two years ago, and ranks in the lower 20 in all of baseball right now. His peripheral stats are down this year as well, as he is walking less - 5.2% vs 9.2% last season - and is striking out more - 17.2% vs 10.2% last season.

One positive, though, is that his 35% HARD%, as measured by FanGraphs, is his highest since 2103. But, there is no escaping his wRC+ of 72, indicating that he is 28% worse than league average in weighted runs created this season. His line drive percentage is up to 23.9% vs 22.6% last season, and his .287 BABIP indicates he has been a bit unlucky, but this just may be an example of a player beginning the decline phase of his career.

I just didn't think it would happen this season.

Cano is currently hitting .237-.279-.327 with 2 home runs, 25 runs scored, 19 RBI and a stolen base in 259 plate appearances this season, and is ranked as the 19th best second baseman according to fWAR with a -0.3 fWAR, ahead of only Chris Owings, Omar Infante and Chase Utley. His 73 wRC+ is the 16th worst in the game among all qualified hitters right now.

Yeah, not stats worthy of a first round pick.

Matt Kemp, Padres

You all know how high I was on Kemp in the offseason, ranking him as my 7th ranked outfielder in our preseason consensus rankings, and he has failed to live up to my lofty expectations for him after his strong second half last season. Not only isn't he hitting for average, but he is not hitting for ANY power either. He is currently hitting .249-.289-.340 with 2 home runs, 33 run scored, 33 RBI and 7 stolen bases thus far, so you can see the power is in severe decline this season. I am not sure if it is the move to Petco Park, as Justin Upton, Wil Myers and others seems to be just fine hitting balls out of that park. Maybe it is the hip issue that almost forced the Padres to cancel their trade in the offseason. Or maybe he is just in a prolonged slump.

He is hitting fewer line drives and more ground balls, and his hard hit % is down almost 5% this season. Can he turn things around this season? Well, he was one of the best hitters in the game in the second half of last season, so yes he can. But, to this point, he has been very disappointing to his owners and Padres fans alike. He is playing every day, and his history indicates he is a much better hitter than he has shown to date, so owners have to continue to bite the bullet and hold him in deeper mixed and NL only leagues.

Jason Heyward, Cardinals

After hitting .271-.351-.384 with 11 home runs, 74 runs scored, 58 RBI and 20 stolen bases last season, the Braves decided that they weren't going to sign Jason Heyward to a long term deal. After signing Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons and others to long term extensions, the fact that the Braves weren't going to sign one of their best players long term was very telling. Knowing that they weren't going to sign him long term, they traded him to the Cardinals in a larger deal that brought back young starter Shelby Miller.

Joining the Cardinals was supposed to be a positive for Heyward as he was joining the best organization in the game, and they would certainly cure what ails him at the plate. Well, we are now 58 games and 222 plate appearances into the 2015 season, and Heyward's bat is still in decline, as he is hitting just .257-.302-.388 with 5 home runs, 28 runs scored, 18 RBI and 6 stolen bases. His batting average and on base percentage is down from last season, as he is walking less, striking out more and hitting almost 58% of his batted balls into the ground this season. His hard hit% is up slightly, but that doesn't change the fact that his power is in a three year decline, and the rise in ground balls certainly won't help. Many fantasy owners drafted him in the early rounds of drafts this season with the hope of a bounce back at the plate, but he has disappointed owners once again.

Ian Desmond, Nationals

Coming into the season, Desmond was coming off three consecutive 20 home run, 20 stolen base seasons, and you don't need me to tell you how valuable it is when your fantasy shortstop is putting up numbers like a top 10 outfielder.

Desmond was one of the top three shortstops off most draft boards this season, but he has been a big disappointment this season, hitting just .226-.270-.355 with 5 home runs, 28 runs scored, 17 RBI and ONE stolen base. He is striking out almost 29% of the time, and although he never walked much, he is walking at career low rate right now.

He is hitting fewer fly balls, and even fewer are leaving the ball park this season. In addition,his ground ball rate is up to 53% and his 29.7% hard hit% is sitting at a four year low. Unless you are in a shallow mixed or NL only league, you have to hold onto Desmond for now.  Even still, his sub-par performance in his walk year is taking tens of millions off of the contract he was seeking this offseason.

David Ortiz, Red Sox

The Red Sox are having a disaster of a season, mainly due to their pitching staff and their league worst ERA, but they have a few hitters who are underperforming expectations this season, and one of them is designated hitter David Ortiz. He has started to hit for power recently, but his overall season stats are nothing but disappointing. Through 56 games, Ortiz is hitting .229-313-.414 with 9 home runs, 21 runs scored and 28 RBI.

His plate discipline stats haven't changed much, as he is walking in 11% of his plate appearances and striking out just 15% of the time. That said, his hard contact rate is down almost 11% from 45% last season to 34% this season. In addition, it appears he can't hit lefties this season, as he is hitting just .113-.122-.155 vs southpaws this season, spanning 74 plate appearances.

Age may have caught up to Ortiz, but I could see a nice second half bounce back from him.

I have listed five hitters who have disappointed this year, and I am sure there are many others. Let's discuss who has been a disappointment on your teams this season.