Fantasy Baseball’s Surprise Party:
1) Ichiro hits under .300
The future Hall of Famer may be labeled somewhat of a one-trick pony, but at least he always had that trick, which was the ability to rack up hits at an unprecedented level. Suzuki boasts a .327 career average and never before has hit for lower than a .303 average through 10 years in the Major Leagues. However, at the moment, Suzuki’s average is under .270. When you consider that Ichiro actually started the season quite well with a .328 average through the first month of the season, you have to wonder if the 37-year-old veteran is finally slowing down. Suzuki will also have his third straight season with fewer than 100 runs scored.
2) Lance Berkman’s Power Stroke
Since blasting a career-high 45 home runs in 2006, Lance Berkman’s annual home run total has declined in four straight seasons. That streak has come to an end this season, as the 35-year-old veteran has nearly doubled last year’s total already with 27 home runs. After hitting just one dinger in 106 at bats last season with the Yankees, it looked like Berkman was playing on borrowed time. However, the Cardinals outfielder is instead enjoying an MVP caliber season.
3) Manny’s Retirement
With just one hit through 17 at bats, it looked like the worst was out of the way for Rays recently acquired outfielder Manny Ramirez. However, the legend in Boston who enjoyed a heck of a half-season with the Dodgers would never again stare down another pitch. No, Ramirez, approaching his 38th birthday, was caught using performance-enhancing drugs for the second time in his career and a hasty and quiet retirement soon followed. 555 home runs and a .312 average likely won’t be enough to bring Manny to Cooperstown.
4) Bartolo Colon Back in the Majors
He’s a former Cy Young award winner with 150-plus wins under his belt, but Colon was never expected to play a key role in this season considering we last saw him pitch in 2009 when he finished a season with the White Sox with a 3-6 record. However, after plenty of rest and a controversial arm surgery, Colon is back in a big way for the Yankees. Armed with great command and some serious heat, Colon improved his record to 7-6 this weekend with a fine 3.29 ERA
5) 2011 Free Agent Busts: Werth, Crawford, and Dunn
The big bats on the market this past winter were Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, and Adam Dunn. They all came into the season with stellar career marked with consistency and fairly predictable production.
Jayson Werth, for instance, has belted 20-plus home runs with 10 plus steals, and an average north of .265 in each of the last three seasons. Werth is currently batting just .219 with 11 home runs in what was supposed to be his prime at 32-years old.
Carl Crawford has hit less than .300 just once in the last six seasons entering this season. Well, now he’s batting .254, and his steals are on pace to be his lowest season total since his rookie season.
Finally, Adam Dunn has hit either 38 or 40 home runs in each of the last six seasons. He currently boasts just nine home runs, and his .160 average is 100 points off last season’s batting clip.