THAT JUST HAPPENED: MLB 2008
“Does that blow your mind? That–just–happened!”- Ricky Bobby, Talledega Nights.
Here are this year’s MLB players that blew your mind or at least surprised you. If you saw any of this coming you are a prophet–because no else did. In no particular order:
1. Cliff Lee- The news in March was that Lee might not even make the rotation. He ended up starting the All-Star Game. He’s already won 20 games for a sub-par team and might lower his ERA from a year ago by 4 runs.
2. Carlos Quentin- The acquisition of the year and the AL MVP until his injury. If he doesn’t make it back he ends up with 36 100 .288/.394/.571.
3. Josh Hamilton- I’m wondering when the movie comes out. He’s slowed a bit since the break, but the numbers are still insane: 31 124.304/.370/.540. And who will ever forget his Home Run Derby heroics.
4. Ryan Dempster- I was entirely skeptical of Dempster heading back to the rotation. I thought he threw too many pitches and didn’t have good enough command to be effective. He’s actually better than he was in 2000 & 2001. He locates and does not give up big bombs, yet still strikes out almost one an inning. He’s an exceptional story and possibly the Cubs MVP.
5. Aubrey Huff- People have been waiting for Huff to do this since he came up. He has 31 homers and needs just 2 more doubles to have 50 for the season. He’s busting out his career year at age 31. He’s 4th in the AL in OPS and 8th in all of baseball.
6. Ryan Ludwick- Another late bloomer, Ludwick exploded this year at age 30. He showed some signs of putting it together last year, but no one could have guessed he would hit over 30 doubles and homers with an OPS over .900. Without his stick the Cards would have never been in the race.
7. Chipper Jones- Chipper flirted with .400 for a while and showed no signs of slowing down at all. He hit .337 last year and may win the batting title this year. He’s hitting .365 and is 2nd in all of MLB in OPS. A remarkable feat for a player that turned 36 just after opening day. When we take into account all the PED players, it just makes you want to celebrate the career of Chipper Jones that much more.
8. Ricky Nolasco- Had to get an ex-Cub on this list. Nolasco has been one of the better starters in all of baseball this year. He’ll go from appearing in only 5 games last year to eclipsing 200 innings this year. He’s got 14 wins, an ERA of 3.56 and an insane K/BB ratio of 167-39. He won’t be 26 until December. He was a part of one of the worst deals made by Jim Hendry. He was traded with Reynel Pinto and Serge Mitre for Juan Pierre. Gulp.
9. Dustin Pedroia- I knew he would be good, but not this good. Pedroia has score over 100 runs, has 50 doubles and might get to 20 homers before the season is done. He’s also hitting .327 and has made just 6 errors all year.
10. Mark DeRosa- A part-timer until 2006, DeRosa is one of the most-liked Cubs, and many fans’ choice for Cubs MVP. I can’t believe he has 20 homers, and it looks as if he will set career-highs in both OBP and SLG. He certainly is the glue of the Cubs offense, and even more valuable due to the Fukudome Fade.
Any additions? Speak.