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Top 10 Surprises in this year's mlb year

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  • Top 10 Surprises in this year's mlb year

    Baseball's biggest surprises of 2005
    Kevin Hench / FOXSports.com
    Posted: 1 hour ago

    There have been so many surprises in baseball this season — both good and bad — it's hard to keep up. Consistent players have become inconsistent and inconsistent players have become awesome.

    This list is about surprises, so if you could see something coming, it might not be on here. These 10 guys have defied their projections, either by exceeding them or falling way short. Christian Guzman has been awful, but one look at his career stats and you couldn't call it unpredictable.

    But someone like Edgar Renteria, who is smack dab in the prime of his career, has been a major surprise by being a serious disappointment. Coming off a season in which he made 11 errors all year, there was no way to anticipate that the two-time Gold Glover would shatter his career high with 28 E-6s with two weeks left to play.

    So too has Andruw Jones been an unforeseen revelation, threatening to double his home runs projections for 2005.

    Here are the top 10 surprises of the 2005 season: five bad, five good.


    10. Edgar Renteria, Red Sox

    Much to the chagrin of Red Sox fans, GM Theo Epstein is not perfect.

    Renteria has made a major league-high 28 errors and has a .332 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage, both below league averages. In fact, his .710 OPS ranks eighth among American League shortstops, putting him in the bottom half of the league offensively.

    The other two shortstops involved in the three-team free agent swap — Orlando Cabrera of the Angels (5) and David Eckstein (13) of the Cardinals — have made 10 fewer errors combined than Renteria who has three years remaining on his four-year, $40 million contract.


    9. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals

    Great things have been expected of the 6-foot-6 righty ever since he was drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 1993 draft. Last year he looked to be finally putting it all together with a 15-5 season and a 3.46 ERA when he had to shut it down with a bicep injury and missed the postseason.

    Most St. Louis fans would have been satisfied if Carpenter could have repeated last year's numbers, but instead he has simply blown away all of his career highs. He is 21-4 with a 2.31 ERA and 201 strikeouts as he cruises to what is sure to be his first Cy Young Award.

    When he shut it down last year, he was basically Matt Morris. When he came back this season, he was Bob Gibson.


    8. Randy Johnson, Yankees

    The five-time Cy Young winner arrived in New York with much fanfare but has been terribly inconsistent this season, allowing 30 home runs and ranking only 22nd in the league in ERA (4.01).

    Yes, the Unit has been better than fellow new arrival Carl Pavano (4-6, 4.77, on the DL), but unlike Pavano, he did not enter 2005 with a losing record.


    7. Andruw Jones, Braves

    When the then 19-year-old Jones homered in his first two World Series at-bats in 1996, people thought the next Willie Mays had arrived.

    For nine years, he lived up to the billing on defense but never broke out offensively quite the way he was expected to. In 2000, he hit .303 with 36 home runs, but dropped back to .251 the following year. Hey, nothing wrong with a guy hitting .270 with 30-plus home runs every year while playing the best center field of his generation. But nobody expected him to finally break out in his ninth full season.

    Then boom. And boom. And boom. Jones has hit 50 home runs this season and may well clear his career high (36) by 20 homers on his way to his first MVP.


    6. Mike Lowell, Marlins

    The Marlins are trying to hang on in the National League wild-card race and Lowell is a big part of the reason they're lingering off the pace.

    In 500 plate appearances, he has six home runs. Six. This is after averaging 28 the previous three seasons. Lowell's other numbers are ugly too: a .233 average, .289 OBP and .347 slugging percentage.

    Had he had his typical season, the Fish wouldn't be sinking out of contention.


    5. Derrek Lee, Cubs

    Lee's inspired run at the Triple Crown must be bittersweet for Cubs fans as the team falls short for the 97th consecutive year. Lee was part of the Marlins team that broke Cubs fans hearts in 2003 and was in the middle of the soul-crushing rally in Game 6.

    Still, imagine where'd they'd be without him. I know, I know, when you're behind the Brewers, how much further can you fall? Lee has already set career highs in homers (44) and RBIs (102) and his .341 batting average is 65 points above his career average.


    4. Steve Finley, Los Angeles Angels

    Sometimes ageless wonders get old overnight.

    Finley arrived in Anaheim fresh off setting a career high in home runs with 36 at the age of 39. Turning 40 has been unkind.

    Finley has hit .216 with a .265 OBP and 10 home runs and lost his job as the Angels center fielder. A left-handed batter, he is hitting only .197 against righties, and he has had two separate months, April and August, in which he has hit below .150. Yikes.


    3. Todd Jones, Marlins

    Raise your hand if you had Todd Jones pegged to convert 27 consecutive saves this season. If you'd asked me in 2003 —when Jones had a 5.52 ERA for the Red Sox —I would have been surprised if he got 27 outs in 2005, much less 37 saves.

    Though he got knocked around Saturday, Jones' ERA is still a Mariano Rivera-esque 1.64 (after bottoming out at an absurd 1.07 on Aug. 27). Chris Carpenter, Roger Clemens and Dontrelle Willis have been spectacular, but no pitcher has been more surprising than Todd Jones. The 37-year-old entered the season with a career strikeout-to-walk ratio below 2-to-1 and has posted a 4.5 K-to-BB ratio. Nuts.


    2. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets

    Beltran has followed up the greatest salary drive in sports history — eight home runs and a .435 average in 46 playoff at bats for Houston — with an absolute dud of a season in Queens. It is truly baffling.

    After four straight 100-plus RBI seasons, he probably won't reach 80. After missing the 40-40 club by two home runs in 2004, he will have to get hot to join the ho-hum 20-20 club. He is five homers and three steals shy of 20. After stealing 28 bases without being caught in 90 games for the Astros, he has 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts in 137 games for the Mets.

    If one of the Mets' marquee free-agent signings was going to fizzle, everyone assumed it would be Pedro Martinez and his fragile shoulder. But it's Beltran — and the six years remaining on his $119 million contract — that has New York fans scratching their heads and worrying about the future.

    And the biggest surprise of 2005 ...


    1. Tony Clark, Arizona Diamondbacks

    I thought his career was over.

    Clark played one season in Boston, the contentious 2002, where he spent long hours on his cell phone as the team's player rep. Everyone agreed he was a great guy, just like everyone agreed he had one of the worst seasons in major-league history. It may, in fact, be the worst season by a first baseman in the steroid era. He hit .207 with a .265 on-base percentage, a .291 slugging percentage and a comical .556 OPS.

    Last year with the Yankees, he hit .221 with a .297 OBP and a more respectable .458 slugging percentage.

    But nothing could have prepared us for this: In 2005, Tony Clark is hitting .315 with a .370 on-base percentage and a .669 slugging percentage for the Diamondbacks. To put this in perspective, Albert Pujols is slugging .622. In 318 at-bats, Clark has hit 29 home runs.

    Sox and Yankee fans — accustomed to Clark's long, looping, empty swing — may not believe it, but the numbers don't lie.


    Kevin Hench is the head writer for the Too Late with Adam Carolla show on Comedy Central.
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

  • #2
    On the good surprise side, I'd add Griffey Jr (good year, stayed healthy enough to get over 500 plate appearances), Brian Roberts, Morgan Ensberg, Chris Capuano, and John Garland as contenders.
    “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

    Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

    Comment


    • #3
      No love for Huston Street, eh???

      He's only a 21 year old rookie who was forced into the closer role in Oakland after Dotel was lost to a season-ending injury, and has recorded 21 saves and a miniscule 1.54 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 0.190 opponent BA in 74 IP...

      Lock for AL Rookie of the Year...
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      • #4
        QUOTE(Blues Fan in SF @ Sep 20 2005, 02:50 PM) Quoted post

        No love for Huston Street, eh???

        He's only a 21 year old rookie who was forced into the closer role in Oakland after Dotel was lost to a season-ending injury, and has recorded 21 saves and a miniscule 1.54 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 0.190 opponent BA in 74 IP...

        Lock for AL Rookie of the Year...
        [/b][/quote]

        I remember hearing a lot about the Hafner kid from Cleveland. Did he cool off significantly?
        Of course you do.

        Comment


        • #5
          QUOTE(ShortHop @ Sep 20 2005, 04:04 PM) Quoted post

          QUOTE(Blues Fan in SF @ Sep 20 2005, 02:50 PM) Quoted post

          No love for Huston Street, eh???

          He's only a 21 year old rookie who was forced into the closer role in Oakland after Dotel was lost to a season-ending injury, and has recorded 21 saves and a miniscule 1.54 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 0.190 opponent BA in 74 IP...

          Lock for AL Rookie of the Year...
          [/b][/quote]

          I remember hearing a lot about the Hafner kid from Cleveland. Did he cool off significantly?
          [/b][/quote]
          You had too much beer this weekend: he's not a rookie...

          "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
          Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
          -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

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          • #6
            good, bad and ugly: white sox

            Comment


            • #7
              I hope we get to add: "The monumental come-from-ahead choke job of the Chicago White Sox" to this list before all is said and done.
              "It would have been difficult for us to discuss it with his dick in my mouth, so evidently I don't know him that well."

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(*007* @ Sep 20 2005, 03:08 PM) Quoted post

                QUOTE(ShortHop @ Sep 20 2005, 04:04 PM) Quoted post

                QUOTE(Blues Fan in SF @ Sep 20 2005, 02:50 PM) Quoted post

                No love for Huston Street, eh???

                He's only a 21 year old rookie who was forced into the closer role in Oakland after Dotel was lost to a season-ending injury, and has recorded 21 saves and a miniscule 1.54 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 0.190 opponent BA in 74 IP...

                Lock for AL Rookie of the Year...
                [/b][/quote]

                I remember hearing a lot about the Hafner kid from Cleveland. Did he cool off significantly?
                [/b][/quote]
                You had too much beer this weekend: he's not a rookie...
                [/b][/quote]

                Sunuva....

                That would be a more likely reason for him to not win Rookie of the year, I suppose.
                Of course you do.

                Comment


                • #9
                  QUOTE(Gracie @ Sep 20 2005, 04:14 PM) Quoted post

                  I hope we get to add: "The monumental come-from-ahead choke job of the Chicago White Sox" to this list before all is said and done.
                  [/b][/quote]
                  Is that really a surprise though? [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif[/img]
                  The noise was good, but I thought they phoned in a lot of the funk.

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