Essentially Sort-of True Sports News
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What’s most surprising about the 2009 season is who some of the best players have been.
The only surprises at catcher has been the complete disappearance of Russell Martin and Geovany Soto.
Russell Branyan - Kicked around the league as a part-timer forever and then suddenly he’s a star in Seattle.
Todd Helton - Not dead after all…
Aaron Hill - Who else? Finally as good as he was always rumored to be. Actually… better.
Ben Zobrist - Who? He’s been bouncing up and down since 2006, but he put it together in a big way in 2009.
Jason Bartlett - Really a continuation of last year, but did anyone actually expect that to continue?
Marco Scutaro - Suddenly added both power and phenomenal plate discipline at the age of 33
Mark Reynolds - walks away with the best 3B of the first half, and the biggest surprise.
Pablo Sandoval - The Giants offense has been all Kung-Fu Panda …and that’s been almost all they’ve needed.
Another position where there aren’t really any good surprises. On the other hand however: Lastings Milledge played himself out of the Majors and Grady Sizemore added some momentum to Cleveland’s death spiral.
Raul Ibanez - Good enough to get the PED rumor mill running again…
Adam Lind - American League pitchers were certainly surprised
Shin-Soo Choo - He’s actually put up about the same numbers every year since coming to Cleveland in 2006 - why is he only finally an everyday player now at 27?
Nelson Cruz - In 854 career AB since 2005 Cruz has 44 homers; 22 of them were in the first half of this season.
Zach Grienke - He was always supposed to be great, but no one saw this coming
Edwin Jackson - Suddenly lopped over 2.00 off his ERA and dropped his WHIP by a third.
Tim Wakefield - Already passed last years win total at the age of 87, Wakefield is tied for the AL lead with 11.
Ryan Franklin - Completely mediocre in every way before a break-out first half at the age of 36.
David Aardsma - A truly lousy relief pitcher who’d been bouncing around the league for years… until this year.
Heath Bell - Perhaps not a true surprise since he was a great set-up man before, but in the first half of 2009 he’s been about the best closer in the game.
Ricky Romero - People who knew the Jays farm system may have known who he was, but he took the rest of the world by complete surprise.
Andrew Bailey - Dominating as a reliever in his first year in the majors - not bad for a guy who was 1-8 with a 6+ ERA lat year in Double-A