The stuff about Clayton Kershaw earlier — and the reference to Dale Murphy — made me think about baseball players who just inexplicably fall off a cliff. Then, like 20 minutes later, I came across this article at The Hardball Times from Alex Remington about “Baseball Burnouts.” It’s really good.
Now, to be clear, Dale Murphy is not a “burnout.” He shined brightly for a long, long time and was ready to start the wind-down part of his career, after which he’d be a guy who had a Hall of Fame peak and then some nice overall numbers. He just didn’t have the normal wind down. He just . . . stopped.
In contrast, Alex is looking at guys who had a great rookie year and then never did much of anything else. As Alex puts it, the “Joe Charboneaus in baseball history.” He comes up with a handful of them, including Billy Grabarkewitz, Mitchell Page and Rick Ankiel, all of whose careers were . . . weird.
Sometimes these guys were just bad players who had a freak good season out of the gate. Sometimes they’re different cases, like Ankiel. Either way, a fascinating topic.