Biggest Surprises of 2006
Every baseball season presents it surprises - both positive and negative. Teams and individual players. Booms and busts. It's the nature of the beast. And the reason why they play the games. If games were won or lost on paper, the Boston Red Sox would be preparing for the post-season rather than the winter meetings.
Which teams and players were this year's biggest surprises? This exercise is meant to be participatory. My job is to make suggestions. Yours is to provide the final word in the comments section below.
Here we go. . .
AL: Which team is the biggest surprise of the 2006 season? Detroit or Minnesota heading into the final weekend tied for first in the Central with 95-64 records? Or Cleveland (75-84, .472) finishing in fourth place in the AL Central, 20 games back of first?
NL: Which team is the biggest
surprise bust of the 2006 season? The Chicago Cubs (65-94) or the Atlanta Braves (77-82)? Or are the Florida Marlins (77-82) an even bigger surprise - albeit to the upside than the Cubs or Braves?
AL: Joe Mauer (.350), Robinson Cano (.343), or Justin Morneau (.323)? Eric Chavez (.240), Jhonny Peralta (.250), or Mark Teixeira (.278)?
NL: Freddy Sanchez (.346), Garrett Atkins (.325), or Adrian Gonzalez (.301)? Or the Bee Gees (as in Brothers Giles) - Marcus (.266) or Brian (.267)?
ON BASE PERCENTAGE
AL: Jim Thome (.419) or Frank Thomas (.382)? Or Jason Michaels (.326)?
NL: Ryan Howard (.422) or Jamey Carroll (.376)? Clint Barmes (.266) or Craig Biggio (.302)?
AL: Jermaine Dye (.619), Justin Morneau (.566), or Robinson Cano (.530)? Jhonny Peralta (.380), Melvin Mora (.395), or Hank Blalock (.403)?
NL: Adam LaRoche (.567), Alfonso Soriano (.564), Bill Hall (.546), or Ray Durham (.539)? Felipe Lopez (.384), Randy Winn (.393), or Brian Giles (.397)?
AL: Jermaine Dye (43), Nick Swisher (34), or Juan Rivera (23)? Or how about Mike Napoli (15) in the 200-300 AB division?
NL: Ryan Howard (58), Alfonso Soriano (46), or Bill Hall (33)? Or David Ross (21) or Chris Duncan (21) in the 200-300 AB division?
AL: C.C. Sabathia (3.22) or Kenny Rogers (3.63)? Or in the "I was supposed to be the ace" division - Josh Beckett (5.01), Randy Johnson (5.00), Mark Buehrle (4.99), or Felix Hernandez (4.65)? And let's not forget the "Are they really paying me for this?" - Joel Pineiro (6.43) or Carlos Silva (6.07)?
NL: Bronson Arroyo (3.27) or Chris Young (3.46)? Or in the "I can't believe I'm a free agent this year" - Jason Marquis (6.02)?
AL: Chien-Ming Wang (19) or Randy Johnson (17 with a 5.00 ERA)?
NL: In the "Wow, I could lead the league in wins" division - Brad Penny (16) or Steve Trachsel (15)?
AL: Gil Meche (156) or J.J. Putz (99 in 76.1 IP)?
NL: Ian Snell (169) or Takashi Saito (103 in 76.1 IP)?
AL: Jonathan Papelbon (35) or Akinori Otsuka (32)?
NL: Joe Borowski (36) or Takashi Saito (22)?
Who were your biggest surprises? Have at it.