At this point in the season most teams have played somewhere around 70 games meaning that we are inching ever closer to the halfway point of the 2013 season. With that in mind, I thought now would be as good a time as any to quiz the staff on their biggest surprise and biggest disappointment of the season thus far for this week’s Wroundtable question. Here is what they had to say.
Evan Vogel: The biggest surprise in baseball has to be Chris Davis continuing on his late 2012 surge to become one of the top players in baseball. With his productivity and the emergence of Adam Jones as a star over the last several years and Manny Machado becoming a star before our eyes, the Baltimore Orioles appear to be positioning themselves as one of the forces of MLB over the next decade. If they were able to get a bit more consistency out of their rotation, they’d probably be in first place in the AL East, but with Chen and Bundy working their way back from injuries, they could have an even more impressive second half run in 2013.
The biggest disappointment would have to be the battle of Los Angeles, the twin disasters that we call the Angels and the Dodgers. All of that money and big-name talent and the teams are nearly a combined 20 games under .500 as I write this. Big names with big injuries have hurt the Dodgers, while the Angels put all of their money into aging stars, Pujols and Hamilton, and haven’t lived up to expectations. Not to mention that the Halos had one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball with very little “ready” help in the minors, and you can see that their struggling offense and miserable pitching was poor planning at its finest.
Steve Kinsella: Biggest surprise for me this season has been the Tampa Bay Rays ability to score runs while the pitching staff has fallen apart. Meanwhile, the biggest disappointment in MLB this year is in Los Angeles where both the Dodgers and Angels have fared much worse than anyone could have anticipated over the winter.
Merritt Rohlfing: On the good side of things, I suppose there’s a pair, and one gets to include the Indians! First, Chris Davis of the Orioles has been a marvel to behold. Granted, he’s a gigantic first baseman that crushes baseballs and that’s just an eventuality in baseball, but even with his output last year this is incredible. The guy is a force of nature, and makes it look easy, almost like Sunday morning. Plus he makes Miguel Cabrera look less superhuman. I think the Indians should trade for him. Couldn’t be that hard. As for the other good thing, it has to be the Indians pitching. Of all the things I was excited about with this team, the starting rotation was not one of them. They were supposed to be the “what if” factor, and for the last month or so it’s seemed that with Kluber, McAllister before the DL, Masterson of course, Jimenez not being horrible and now Carrasco, I actually feel good about it.
As for the bad, it has to be Josh Hamilton. I’m not shy about my love of the guy – when he’s on it’s dazzling, and he’s everything I’d hope for in a baseball player. Shoot, I accidentally made my player in MLB The Show career mode into essentially Josh Hamilton. I even play for the Astros. He’s just been so bad though, him and Albert Pujols, and it’s depressing. I hate when great players fade like that. Indians-wise (because I need balance) it’d have to be the bullpen. Yes, it’s been fine, but with Perez’s struggles, Pestano being hurt than not too great and the collection of “who?” coming out there, from Rich Hill and Matt Albers to whoever, the one thing I’ve had to lean on with this team the last few years is suddenly the worst part of the team. Also, Asdrubal Cabrera, but he’s been hurt. It is what it is. They can still win.
Biggest surprise is the starting rotation. Watching Ubaldo pitch like anything besides an epic plane crash, seeing McAlllister come into his own, and witnessing Kluber’s sudden dominance in his past couple of starts has been more than I ever thought I’d see. With a promising performance from Carrasco recently, the starter situation is beginning to look pretty good. Also Yan Gomes‘ rise to titanic glory.
Biggest disappointment has been the bullpen. Never expected Chris Perez or Vinnie Pestano to ever become a constant letdown, let alone both of them for long periods of time in the same prt of the season. Grateful for Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw right now, but I really hope our back end gets their act together soon.
Brian Heise: For the sake of not repeating the same answer as everyone else above, my biggest surprise has to be the Pirates. While it’s not surprising that they would have a decent team and probably have a somewhat decent season, but as it stands right now it looks as if their streak of consecutive losing seasons might finally come to an end. Even better, they look poised to actually make the playoffs and one of the two wild card teams in the NL. As of today, they’re tied for the wild card lead with the Reds. As for individual performances, I’d say Chris Davis. I mean, how could you not be surprised what the guy is doing. He’s a god amongst men when it comes to hitting right now.
As for disappointments, I have to partially agree with everyone else and say the Angels. I didn’t think the Dodgers were worthy of all their hype, but the Angels lack of success is almost unexplainable. Josh Hamilton has been especially terrible. He looks like he’s never even tried to hit a baseball before in his life. The Blue Jays could also qualify as a disappointment, but they look like they’re starting to turn things around.
Biggest surprise: Lewie Pollis, Baseball Analytics Intern
Biggest disappointment: Brian Heise, Replacement Editor
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