MLB's 8 Biggest Surprises So Far This Season

Charlie WeinmanContributor IIIApril 29, 2011

MLB's 8 Biggest Surprises So Far This Season

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 24: Jack Hannahan #9 and Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate what was thought to be a three-run home run by Brantley against the Cleveland Indians during the third inning of their game on April 24, 2011 at Targe
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    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.

Cleveland Indians

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 23: Grady Sizemore #24 and Jack Hannahan #9 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate a two-run home run by Sizemore against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of their game on April 23, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    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. 

    With the Twins, Tigers, and White Sox struggling, the Indians are taking the American League by storm and have shown no signs of looking back.

Lance Berkman

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    LOS ANGELES - APRIL 15: Lance Berkman #12 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits his second home run of the game in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty I
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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

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    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 26:  Left fielder Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox one hops a single by Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Baltimore Orioles during the fifth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 26, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    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

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 10:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 10, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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.

Minnesota Twins

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 28: Manager Ron Gardenhire #35 walks out to the mound to reliever pitcher Jose Mijares #50 of the Minnesota Twins while catcher Steve Holm #27 looks on during in the seventh inning of their game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    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.

Dan Uggla

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 24:  Dan Uggla #26 of the Atlanta Braves in action against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on April 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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.

Ryan Dempster

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 28:  Starting pitcher Ryan Dempster #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts on the mound during the first inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on April 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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.

Manny Ramirez

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    FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Manny Ramirez #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day on February 22, 2011 at the Charlotte Sports Complex in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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.