Milwaukee Brewers: The Two Best Surprises so Far in 2011

Luke KrmpotichContributor IIApril 13, 2011

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 04: Starting pitcher Chris Narveson #38 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers the ball against the Atlanta Braves during the home opener at Miller Park on April 4, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Braves defeated the Brewers 2-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In the first 10 games of 2011, Brewers superstars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder have performed up to everyone's expectations and are knocking the cover off the ball.

Braun is batting .353 with four home runs, while Fielder is batting .400 with 11 RBIs.

Meanwhile, staff ace Yovani Gallardo has a 2.70 ERA through his first three starts and has yet to lose a game.

None of that is surprising.

The surprises this season have been a couple of little-heralded players who have been quietly putting up impressive numbers of their own.

Nyjer Morgan, acquired during spring training from the Nationals, actually leads the Brewers in batting average (.474), triples (two), slugging (.737), OBP (.524) and OPS (1.261). He is one of six Brewers to play in all 10 games of 2011, although he has only 19 at bats due to starting just a few games.

Morgan is a career .286 hitter, but struggled last year with the Nationals. He hit .253 with and OBP of just .319. The Brewers hoped he would be able to improve on those numbers this season and the early results have been nothing but encouraging.

Chris Narveson has been another pleasant surprise for the Brew Crew. He was solid in 2010 with a record of 12-9 in his first season as a starter, but he's been nearly untouchable in his first two starts of 2011.

In 13 innings, Narveson has 14 strikeouts and just nine hits allowed to go with a perfect ERA of 0.00. In doing so, Narveson became only the fifth pitcher in Brewers history not to give up a run in his first two starts of the season.

Obviously, Morgan won't become the first .400 hitter since Ted Williams in 1941 and Narveson will have his struggles, but the two have undoubtedly been the most pleasant surprises for the Brewers so far this season.

The beginning of the season has been more difficult than hoped for the Brewers. With both two-time All-Star Corey Hart and offseason acquisition Zack Greinke on the DL for the time being, Brewers fans can be grateful for the excitement that Morgan and Narveson have brought in helping the team recover from a 0-4 start to the year.

If they can continue to outperform expectations, they could become important factors in helping the Brewers return to the postseason for the first time since 2008.