|Connelly’s Top Ten: 1812 Overture Rendition of the Top Ten||Management Forced Its Hand With Rick Porcello, Red Sox Nation Pays||Celtics Sign Amir Johnson to 2-Year, $24 Million Deal||Bruins Trade for Jimmy Hayes, Sign Matt Belesky|
With the playoffs around the corner and the trade deadline passed it is about that time to take a look back at the 2009 season as a whole. It has been a season full of injuries to top players (Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy just to name a few). So I decided to take a look at the most surprising stats from the season and also threw in 10 bold predictions for the upcoming 2010 season.
At the age of 35, Jeter has put together his best season since 2006 by batting .331 with 16 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Many people pegged Jeter as a player who was in regression and no longer had any power, but that was before everyone realized what a bandbox the new Yankee Stadium was.
There have been many theories on why Joe Mauer suddenly has 30+ HR power. He finally grew into his big build or it just took him a little longer to develop a power stroke (he is only 26 you know). Whatever the reason, no one saw this coming, especially after he missed the first month of the season due to a back injury.
So Reynolds can do a whole lot more than just strikeout. We all knew about the power, but the speed and batting average are an extra special surprise. Reynolds could finish the season in the 30/30 club and if you add a not so bad .281 batting average you have a top-10 player in fantasy sports.
It looks like the top of the second baseman chain has to make room for another link. After breaking out in 2007 Hill missed most of 2008 due to injury. This season he has come back with a vengeance and has hit 29 homers with more than a month to play. He has proven himself as a top second baseman.
Greinke probably put together one of the best first two months of any season in baseball history. Many knew he was a very good pitcher, but no one expected a start like this. He went 8-1 with a 1.08 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 82 innings. Since June 1, Greinke has been more like himself, which is 3-7 (not his fault) with a 3.65 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 91 1/3 innings.
Jackson has been this year’s version of Cliff Lee; top prospect that has had struggles in the majors and finally puts it all together for a great year. Jackson finally fixed his control problems and has posted a 1.17 WHIP to go along with a 2.86 ERA and .232 BAA. He turns 26 on Sept. 9 so look for this to be the beginning of something good.
Who would have thought that Carpenter, who had only started four games since 2006, would be on pace to finish this season with 27 starts? Not only is he starting games, but he is dominating as well. He had one DL stint, which has become the norm, but other than that instance he has been on of the best pitchers in the Major League’s.
Meet Adam Dunn. He’s a sure lock for exactly 40 home runs and 100+ RBI every season, but it’s not all good. He comes with a .247 career batting average, but that was before this season. Now you can say hello to the Adam Dunn, who not only hits for power, but can also put up a very good batting average to go along with it. Who knows if this is for real, but Dunn owners have been enjoying it all season.
Remember that mediocre middle reliever on the Red Sox last season? Well this year he got the opportunity to close in Seattle and has not disappointed. He has 28 saves with a 2.43 ERA and 10.51 strikeouts per nine. Amazing when you consider where he was just last year.
Word is that manager Jim Leyland is watching the number of innings that Porcello is throwing this season and with him already at 117 2/3, the leash could be short on the rookie pitcher. He has been slipping as of late and the Tigers could force him to skip a couple starts in September to keep him fresh for a potential playoff run in October.
Harang was shut down for the season with an emergency appendectomy, which is really a shame because Harang was starting to turn his season around. Despite posting a 1-5 record in his last seven starts (due to poor run support), Harang has a 3.32 ERA while striking out 45 batters in 62 1/3 innings.
He was the main piece in the Matt Holliday trade and has been hitting the ball well in the minors this season. He has a .293 batting average with 13 home runs and 17 doubles in Triple-A this season. His strikeouts are a little high, but he could be worth a flier in September if the A’s call him up to play.
…for the Slap Bet story, click here.