MLB All-Surprise Team: The Biggest Early Surprise at Every Position

Nick StewartContributor IMay 4, 2011

MLB All-Surprise Team: The Biggest Early Surprise at Every Position

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 21:  Outfielder Sam Fuld #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a foul ball against the Chicago White Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on April 21, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    This season, like every season, has seen its share of surprises.  From the Boston Red Sox starting the year 2-8, to the multitude of injuries plaguing almost every team, MLB has once again, thrown a proverbial curveball at its preseason forecasters.

    If an all-star team were to be made right now, the team would consist of a motley crew of aging superstars, young up-and-comers, and seasoned journeymen, finally having the season they were always capable of.

    The following are the members of the 2011 All-Surprise Team.

SP: Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 20:  Starting pitcher Justin Masterson #63 of the Cleveland Indians warms-up just prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Royals on April 20, 2011 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Boasting a 5-0 record to start the season, the Indians' Justin Masterson has surprised everyone— especially opposing batters.  He is boasting a 2.25 ERA and has recorded 29 strikeouts, while walking only 13 batters this season.

    The 6'6" Masterson has finally hit his stride.  He's even found a mean streak, already hitting four batters in the first month of the season.

    Masterson is in the best shape of his career, as well.  He has thrown at least six innings in every outing this year, with his pitch counts consistently reaching 100+ per game. 

SP: Alexi Ogando, Texas Rangers

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    DETROIT, MI - APRIL 11:  Alexi Ogando #41 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Cliff Who?

    Alexi Ogando has effectively replaced Cliff Lee as the ace on the Rangers' rotation.  He has started the season 3-0 and is boasting a 2.30 ERA.  Ogando's numbers are very similar to Justin Masterson's this season.  Ognado has also gone at least six innings in every outing this season.

    Ogando has allowed only eight base runners per nine innings, this season and is one of the biggest reasons the Rangers are having such a great start to their season.

RP: Drew Storen, Washington Nationals

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02:  Drew Storen #22 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on May 2, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Drew Storen has started the season at a frantic pace, notching a 0.56 ERA in 16 innings thus far.

    It's still early, but rookie Drew Storen has been all but unhittable this season.  He has recorded 12 strike outs and only five walks this season, while notching six saves.

    Look for Storen to be named the Nationals' official closer in the upcoming weeks.

CP: Kyle Farnsworth

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 15:  Pitcher Kyle Farnsworth #43 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates the last out with catcher Kelly Shoppach #10 during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field on April 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Kyle Farnsworth has not historically been good in the AL East.  Ask any Yankees fan.

    Farnsworth has apparently been hanging out with Stella of late and has definitely gotten his groove back.  He has logged five saves and is sporting a 0.90 ERA.  He has been instrumental in guiding the Rays from the gutter of the AL East to within striking distance of the first-place Yankees.

    Granted, there are a few more games to play this season.  However, if Farnsworth keeps up with the production he is having thus far, the Rays may make yet another bid at an AL East championship.

1B: Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 16:  Justin Smoak #17 of the Seattle Mariners connects during the game against the Kansas City Royals on April 16, 2011 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Justin Smoak, 1B for the Mariners, has hit .273 with 17 RBI's thus far this season.  He was traded to the Mariners from the Rangers where he set a team record of five strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

    Needless to say, he has improved since the trade.  He has been one of the most talented young players in MLB this year and is a future all-star.

2B: Jonathan Herrera, Colorado Rockies

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    DENVER, CO - APRIL 20:  Jonathan Herrera #18 of the Colorado Rockies takes an at bat as catcher Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants backs up the plate at Coors Field on April 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Jonathan Herrera has had a breakout year this season.  He is currently batting .300 and has scored a total of 10 runs already.

    Herrera's bat is only a plus to his superb fielding this year.  Between Tulo and Herrera, the Rockies have the most talented middle infield in baseball, right now.

SS: Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 08:  Maicer Izturis #13 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim slides safely across home plate and scores a run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 8, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Bl
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Maicer Izturis, the spellcheck nightmare, is not an everyday shortstop, so save the comments. 

    He is however, a utility infielder and can play shortstop on my team if I want him to do so—and I do want him to play SS for my fake team.  He has hit .333 on the year, has nine doubles, and 30 hits on the year.

    You would want him too, if you were cool enough to have a fake team like mine.

3B: Alberto Callaspo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 01:  Infielder Alberto Callaspo #6 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim takes the throw at third against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on May 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Im
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Alberto Callaspo has had a great start in 2011, hitting .289 with only ten strikeouts in 97 at bats.  The guy is making great contact with the baseball and I fully expect his batting average to climb even higher as the season progresses.

    Callaspo had a great year for the Royals in 2009 and I firmly believe he will have an even better year in 2011.

C: Russell Martin, New York Yankees

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    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 23:  Catcher Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees in action against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Russell Martin has the best job and the worst job in the world, all rolled into one giant New York sub sandwich.

    He is the starting catcher for the most recognizable team in professional sports.

    He is also the starting catcher for the most recognizable team in professional sports.

    His shortcomings and flaws will be nitpicked endlessly, his faults scrutinized by the ever-loving New York Yankees cheering section.  Martin however, has done a fine job this year replacing the beloved Jorge Posada.

    He has done a great job dealing with the all-star cast of pitchers the Yankees have and has managed to hit .291, with six home runs, already.  The kid has done a great job, so far.  Yankees fans don't hate him, so he must be good.

RF: Aaron Rowand, San Francisco Giants

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 24:  Aaron Rowand #33 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park on April 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Aaron Rowand will start in RF on the All-Surprise team. He has hit .290 on the year, with a triple and nine doubles.  He even stole a base, so he didn't have a "zero" column on his stat sheet.

    His play in the outfield has been superb this season.  He is having his best year since 2007, when he was with the Phillies.

LF: Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 01:  Outfielder Sam Fuld #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the game at Tropicana Field on May 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    There is no way this guy wasn't making the team.  Sam Fuld came out of nowhere this year to be the face of the Rays after the hasty departure of Manny Ramirez and Evan Longoria's injury.

    Fuld has made catches in the outfield that seemed to be on the verge of suicidal.  He has been described as a manager's dream and a trainer's nightmare on the field.  He even has become a Twitter sensation and has a Superman cape night in Tampa.  Not bad for a 29-year old no one talked about much before last month.

    By the way, Fuld is hitting .284 and leads the AL in steals. 

CF: Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 01:  Outfielder Peter Bourjos #25 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catches a fly ball against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on May 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Angels have more players on this team than any other.  Why?

    Because the Angels were not supposed to be as good as they are.  They as a team, are surprisingly good this year, and one of the players making this happen is Bourjos.

    Besides being a solid center-fielder in almost every aspect, he is hitting .297 on the year, has four triples and five doubles.  Not too shabby, Pete. You could make the team just on the fact that you got to play this year after hitting .204 last year!

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