Surprise performances (cont.)
And here are 25 more surprises, this time of the opposite kind.
2. Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees SP. Wang's ERA is the highest in history after five starts. "It appears he's lost his sink," one scout said. Overall, Wang's 0-4 with a 14.34 ERA.
3. Garrett Atkins, Rockies 3B. As trade bait, he's a total bust.
4. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins SP. Who'd have thought he'd be among the pitchers sent to the minors this year? Certainly not me (I put him on my spring up-and-comers list -- big mistake). His 2-6 record and 8.17 ERA are only good by Wang standards.
5. Howie Kendrick, Angels 2B. What happened to that batting title he was supposed to win? At .236, he had better hustle.
6. Ollie Perez, Mets SP. Turns out he was hurt. There had to be some explanation for that 9.97 ERA.
7. Chris Young, Diamondbacks OF. Young's emblematic of the offensive fade crushing the entire team.
8. Jeff Francoeur, Braves OF. The former budding superstar has hit just four home runs and managed a paltry .240 batting average.
9. Scott Kazmir, Rays SP. The stud lefty tried to pitch through pain. As his 7.69 ERA proves, it didn't work.
10. Geovany Soto, Cubs C. The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year has been one of the many disappointments in the Cubs' lineup (3, 15, .219)
11. John Lackey, Angels SP. The staff ace has been a mess in his walk year, posting a 6.61 ERA.
12. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies SS. All the Rockies are playing better this week, but Tulowitzki has been average (at best) since signing a long-term deal.
13. B.J. Upton, Rays OF. Upton looked like a future star in the playoffs last year, but he's batting just .216 with three homers.
14. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies SS. Still a great presence on an excellent Phillies team, but his .225 average isn't cutting it.
16. Pat Burrell, Rays DH. Now that he's back off the D.L. he's got to do better than the .315 slugging percentage he'd managed through his first108 at-bats.
17. Vernon Wells, Jays OF. Another blah season for the man with the $126-million contract.
18. Placido Polanco, Tigers 2B. Polanco's one of the better average hitters in baseball, which makes his.249 average even more glaring.
19. Andy Sonnanstine, Rays SP. Perhaps the Rays should have traded Sonnanstine and kept Jackson.
20. Dan Uggla, Marlins 2B. Uggla hasn't been the same since his all-time game in last year's All-Star Game.
21. Chris Davis, Rangers 1B. With 88 strikeouts and a .202 batting average, Davis has done a good job fanning the assembled in a warm environment, if nothing else. At least he's playing a solid first base.
22. Francisco Liriano, Twins SP. A promising career seems derailed. A shame.
23. J.J. Hardy, Brewers SS. Things turned when he started hitting into bad luck. During his current 6-for-47 slump, he's just been bad.
25. Grady Sizemore, Indians OF. Sure, he was hurt. But before going on the D.L., he just hurt the Indians.
Around the Majors
The Phillies, Mets and Cardinals are supposedly among the teams in on the Brad Penny trade talks. But the Phillies are aiming higher, Mets GM Omar Minaya said he feels comfortable wit his rotation (though that was two days before John Maine went to the disabled list with a shoulder issue) and the Cardinals may need to target a third baseman instead of a pitcher. In any case, the Red Sox want to make room for John Smoltz and are allowed to trade Penny after June 15.
Following the trade of popular star Nate McLouth to the Braves, Pirates GM Neal Huntington sent a letter of explanation to fans. But according to scouts, he should really be apologizing for selecting Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez with the fourth pick overall in this week's draft. Sanchez is a solid player and good "catch and throw guy'' but most scouts agree he's not a top five pick. Perhaps the Pirates were traumatized by their soap opera-esque signing of Pedro Alvarez last year.
And by the way, Adam LaRoche, who makes $8 million and is hitting .244, should pipe down. Some of these guys need to find a mirror.
It sounds like Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 overall pick by Seattle and the best college hitter in the draft, will seek "Mark Teixeira money,'' which means $9.5 million. The Mariners had a very nice draft, according to observers.
Jiovanni Mier, the Astros' first pick, publicly revealed a Houston scout told him they were going to get rid of Tejada. Of course, that's true, but it's probably not something a scout should be discussing with Mier. But I like Mier already as a future quote machine.
Scouts say the Yankees' first choice, Texas high school outfielder Slade Heathcott, has a big upside. However, he'll have to overcome a hardscrabble background. His dad's in jail on a drug charge, his mom isn't in the picture and he's missed playing time due to academic failings.
Alex Rodriguez, who's batting .231, is telling friends he still feels like this is the end of spring training for him.
Word is there's some trade talk going on involving Lastings Milledge. So if he goes, he'll have two organizations he can rip.
Ozzie Guillen is right that the White Sox need offense, and Josh Fields wasn't providing them enough of it. Gordon Beckham isn't hitting any better than Fields thus far, but he's an early sensation in terms of fan support.
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MLB Truth & Rumors