Current Season Surprises & Disappointments

We're just about at the one third mark of the 2011 season, and already there have been some major surprises and disappointments throughout the league. At one point, the AL Central standings looked as if someone had turned them completely upside down. Here are some of our choices for biggest surprises and disappointments of the season thus far.

Surprise Team AL - Cleveland Indians
Surprise Team NL - Arizona Diamondbacks
Honorable Mention - Pittsburgh Pirates

A surprise to everyone, no one expected Cleveland to be leading the division, by 4.5 games no less. Asdrubel Cabrera has looked Ruthian at times and the pitching has been stellar. Arizona started out horribly and have clawed their way to within half a game of the Giants. Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson each have 6 wins and Putz is back to his normal form. We'll see if they can keep it up. The Pirates are in 4th and have yet to completely implode. A step in the right direction for Pittsburgh.

Disappointing Team AL - Minnesota Twins
Disappointing Team NL - Chicago Cubs
Honorable Mention - Los Angeles Dodgers

Minnesota has had lots of injuries, but even with that, to be in the basement is a major disappointment. Not having Nathan back to form is a problem as well. The Cubs still have major bats in that lineup that just aren't producing. Add to that slumping averages and little power production are killing the Cubbies. The Dodgers have had major distractions from the beating of the fan to the McCourts' troubles. Kemp and Kershaw are having strong seasons, but everyone else is just 'eh'.

Surprise Hitter AL - Jose Bautista
Surprise Hitter NL - Lance Berkman
Honorable Mention - Matt Kemp

I'm firmly in the camp that thought Bautista was a fluke. He's combining amazing power with consistent average. Most thought Berkman was washed up when he did NOTHING for the Yankees last year. He trimmed down and is also killing the ball and maintaining average. Kemp quietly is hitting .304 with 13 HR and 14 SB. He's becoming the preeminent 30/30 guy in the NL

Disappointment Hitter AL - Carl Crawford
Disappointment Hitter NL - Hanley Ramirez
Honorable Mention - Jayson Werth

After tearing up the league in Tampa, Crawford has struggled mightily with Boston. His May numbers have picked up, but he's struggling to even steal bases. The consenus #2 fantasy pick, Hanley Ramirez, is showing none of his usual form. Average is .210, OB is .306, and he's getting caught stealing at record pace too. Werth has struggled after signing his monster deal. With a healthy Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, his fortunes may change.

Surprise Pitcher AL - Josh Tomlin
Surprise Pitcher NL - Kevin Correia
Honorable Mention - Kyle Lohse

I had not heard of Josh Tomlin until a few weeks ago. He's quietly got 7 wins already on CLEVELAND. Correia is a similar story. On a Buccos team that is below .500, somehow he has 8 wins. When the Pirates do hit, he seems to be on the mound. With the injury to Adam Wainwright, and the down year from Chris Carpenter, the Red Birds needed someone to step up. Lohse has provided that spark with 7 wins and a 2.13 ERA.

Disappointment Pitcher AL - Joakim Soria
Disappointment Pitcher NL - Ubaldo Jimenez
Honorable Mention - Francisco Liriano

It's definitely a fall when a dominant closer loses the faith of his ball club. Is it coincidence that his drop off came after he asked people to stop calling him The Mexicutioner (hands down best nickname in baseball)? After having a Bob Gibson-esque run during the first half last year, Ubaldo Jimenez has fallen off the map. He just picked up his first win a few days ago, and the ERA is right about 5. In Minnesota with all their injuries, the last thing they needed was their ace to struggle. Liriano has been a disappointment going 3-5 with an ERA approaching 6. Carl Pavano with his 70s 'stache hasn't helped either, having similar numbers.

Rookie of Year Candidate AL - Michael Pineda
Rookie of Year Candidate NL - Craig Kimbrel

Pineda has been overshadowing his Cy Young winning teammate Felix Hernandez this year going 6-2 with ERA of 2.30 and whiffing one per inning. Kimbrel has saved 16 games in Atlanta, good for 2nd best in the NL. He's helping the Braves stay in the race.

***Note*** My colleague OCP would like it noted that he predicted Pineda and Kimbrel as pre-season ROY winners. So there you have it, who else is tearing up your fantasy leagues or has caught your eye this season?

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