First half surprises of 2009

Saturday, June 6th, 2009   (7 years, 10 months ago)

What’s most surprising about the 2009 season is who some of the best players have been.

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C
The only surprises at catcher has been the complete disappearance of Russell Martin and Geovany Soto.

1B
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…

2B
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.

SS
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

3B
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.

CF
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.

LF
Raul Ibanez - Good enough to get the PED rumor mill running again…

Adam Lind - American League pitchers were certainly surprised

RF
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.

SP
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.

RP
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.

Rookies
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

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