MLB's 8 Biggest Surprises So Far This Season
We are now about a month into the season, and there have been a ton of surprises that nobody saw coming.
Two of last season's worst teams are atop their division. Teams who made major acquisitions in the offseason has struggled. Players who have been around the league for what seems forever are still hitting the ball like they are 20 years old.
There have been so many things we all didn't see coming that makes this season so exciting.
Let's now look at the 10 biggest surprises so far of the 2011 season.
Last season, the Cleveland Indians finished the season with a 69-93 record. Missing the playoffs for the third year in a row.
This season, the Cleveland Indians are 16-8. They are in first place in the AL Central and have the most wins in the American League.
Not only do they have the most wins in the American League, the Indians have scored the most runs in the American League. They also have the best home record in the MLB.
The team is being carried by the 33 year old Travis Hafner. Hafner leads the Indians with four homers and posts a .342 batting average. Their shortstop, Asdrubal Cabrera leads the team in RBI's with 15.
The Indians' pitching staff has been very successful. Justin Masterson and Fausto Carmona have been key in the Cleveland pitching staff. Closer Chris Perez has recorded six saves, the second most saves in the majors.
When the St. Louis Cardinals signed Lance Berkman, many fans did not understand the signing.
Why would St. Louis sign a slow, 35 year old outfielder? Why would they pick up someone who couldn't even hit over .275 the past two seasons?
Berkman immediately silenced the critics.
In 22 games with the Cardinals, Berkman is batting .410 with eight home runs and 22 RBI's. He has the most hits on the team and has been solid in the outfield. Berkman has only made one error this season and has a .977 fielding percentage.
The Cardinals are without their ace Adam Wainwright and when Matt Holliday got injured early in the season, Lance Berkman put the team on his back and is the reason the Cardinals are leading the NL Central.
Boston Red Sox
In the offseason, the Red Sox brought in two of the best free agents on the market. They brought in a powerful lefty in Adrian Gonzalez and the speedy Carl Crawford.
Adrian Gonzalez was supposed to come in and tear apart Fenway Park. Crawford, a gold glove outfielder, was supposed to come in a help leadoff the batting order.
Before the season started, many fans did not think the Red Sox would even lose a game. Many "experts" picked the Red Sox to win it all.
The surprise has been that Boston lost their first six games of the year and went 2-10 in the first 12 games.
Adrian Gonzalez has only one homer. Carl Crawford is batting .160. Bucholz, Lackey, and Matzuzaka all have ERA's over four.
The bright side is the Jonathan Papelbon is doing fine closing games for Bean Town. He has five saves.
After going on a hot streak and winning nine of their last 12 games, the Boston Red Sox post an 11-13 record and are in fourth place in the AL East.
Jered Weaver is the only pitcher in the league with six wins. He is also undefeated.
Right now, Weaver leads the league in three major pitching categories. He leads the league with six wins, a .99 ERA, and 49 strikeouts. He has a phenomenal .79 WHIP.
Jered Weaver is the early favorite for the AL Cy Young. His next start is Sunday in Tampa Bay.
The Minnesota Twins have won the AL Central two years in a row.
This season they are 9-15 and in last place.
The Twins' have struggled because of a lack of offense. This season, the Twins have scored only 77 runs, the lowest total in the American League.
The Twins have only hit 10 home runs in 24 games. Michael Cuddyer leads the team with a grand total of three. Fan favorite Danny Valencia leads the team in RBI's with only 11.
Superstar Joe Mauer is finishing his stint on the 15-day DL, so when he returns that should help the Twins' offense. However, they must seriously pick it up with they want to contend in the surprising AL Central.
This past offseason, Dan Uggla signed a 5-year, $62 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.
After 100 at bats with his new team, Uggla is hitting .180 and has only driven in eight runs. Uggla has hit five homers, but the problem is that no one is on base when he is hitting. His .234 OBP is the worst in the league.
Dan Uggla has not been worth is $62 million contract so far. The Braves and their fans must be disappointed and highly hope Uggla is able to turn it around.
Prior to this season, Dempster was known as the Cubs' most consistent pitcher.
He is being consistent this year. Consistently bad.
After six starts for the Cubbies, Dempster is 1-3 with a 9.58 ERA. In 31 innings, he has allowed 16 free passes and 33 earned runs. He has given up seven earned runs in each of his last two starts.
Chicago's opening day starter has performed the complete opposite from how an ace should pitch.
Manager Mike Quade and Cubs fans all over did not expect this from Dempster. This is definitely a surprise and he better get back to last season's form if the Cubs want to contend.
No one expected Manny Ramirez to retire.
After signing a one-year, $2 million contract with Tampa Bay, people thought the Rays would be serious contenders in the AL East.
Manny went 1-17 in five games with the Rays.
On April 8, out of no where Manny Ramirez retired from the game of baseball.
His spring training drug test returned positive. When Ramirez found out, he immediately told Major League Baseball that he would retire.
Manny wasn't even man enough to inform his own team. The Rays claimed the found out about the drug test from the Commissioner's Office.
Manny would have face a 100 game suspension. Which will take place if he ever returns.
Manny, being Manny, does many unpredictable things. But I do not see Manny ever coming back to this great game.