Which baseball players disappointing, surprising?

May 12, 2011

Berkman on a tear

Kevin Baxter

Los Angeles Times

The Angels' Vernon Wells hasn't done much to earn his franchise-record $23 million salary, hitting .183 and playing spotty defense before going on the disabled list Monday. Not much better than the White Sox's Adam Dunn, who's batting.184 with 39 strikeouts. But at least he stuck around. Manny Ramirez did not, "retiring" after six games with a .059 batting average.

As for the surprises — let's call them revelations — how about the Indians, who lost 190 games the last two seasons but now have the best record in baseball? Or 22-year-old Mariners rookie Michael Pineda, who went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in April?

Neither figures to maintain that pace — indeed, Pineda is winless in May. So we'll take Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman, who — after a career-worst season in 2010 — is batting .367 and leading the majors with 32 RBIs.

kbaxter@tribune.com

Yanks' Hughes, Garcia

Nick Fierro

Morning Call

The Yankees break even with one of each here: starting pitchers Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.

Once a rising star in the Yankees' system, Hughes is 0-1 with a 13.94 ERA and a dead arm that could land him on the 60-day disabled list. He's only 24, so he still has time, but not if his arm is really shot.

Garcia, on the other hand, is 35, overweight and was washed up four years ago, when he won just one of 11 starts before the Phillies mercifully shut him down for the season. Then he became the only player in the history of the majors to take a parting shot at manager Charlie Manuel.

Anyway, Garcia this year is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA, lowest among the Yankee starters. Unreal.

nfierro@tribune.com

Crawford a bust

Steve Gould

Baltimore Sun

Carl Crawford is the most disappointing player in baseball so far this season.

Five months after signing a seven-year, $142 million contract, the Red Sox left fielder still isn't hitting his weight (.210 average), is reaching base in less than one-fourth of his plate appearances (.248 on-base percentage) and isn't making up for it with power production (.297 slugging percentage). On top of that, he's less valuable in the outfield in Boston than he was in Tampa Bay. A marquee free-agent acquisition who was supposed to make an already fearsome lineup downright terrifying, Crawford isn't scaring anyone.

Meanwhile, Lance Berkman is enjoying an eye-opening resurgence in St. Louis. The right fielder has 10 homers this season — he hit 14 in a disappointing 2010 — and is batting .367 with a 1.179 OPS. He's the most pleasant surprise of the season.

sgould@tribune.com

Mauer a wreck

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

Under most circumstances, injured players are due breaks. That would include Joe Mauer. But the Twins' great-hitting catcher isn't sidelined with an injury that came out of nowhere. He had knee surgery last winter and coasted through spring training, with the idea being to be ready to turn it up in April. The Twins counted on Mauer, but it turns out the man's a complete physical wreck.

His absence is hardly the only reason that a Minnesota team built to win won't win, but it's the biggest.

Make the Rays' Sam Fuld the biggest surprise. The Cubs certainly didn't see this coming when they essentially gave him away as a supposedly insignificant piece in the Matt Garza trade.

progers@tribune.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.