’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Surprises From The 2011 Baseball Season’
Man, oh man – what a season it was!!!
Just days removed from the end of the 2011 major league baseball season and just days into the start of the playoffs, I am still very excited by all of the great action and performances we got to witness during the year.
So, here are my ‘Top Ten Surprises From The 2011 Baseball Season’:
Honorable Mention – Derek Jeter’s re-emergence as a star, Cliff Lee’s dominance, Ivan Nova’s success, Ryan Vogelsong’s future, Justin Masterson’s maturity, Eric Hosmer’s power, and Matt Morse’s play.
10 – Lance Berkman’s climb back to dominance and defensive presence after moving back to the outfield after many years as a first baseman.
9 – Roy Halladay’s ability to convert on a sacrifice. In just his second season in the National League, Halladay converted 16 sacrifices, up from 2 in 2010.
8 – Ryan Braun’s chase for the batting title. We all know that he is a superstar, and an all-around offensive weapon. His .332 average is twenty points above his average – and his power numbers did not suffer one bit!!
7 – Matt Kemp’s emergence as a 5-tool player. Kemp was the only real threat for the Triple Crown in 2011. And when mixed with his success on the base paths and in the field, Kemp is building a solid career for himself.
6 – Victor Martinez’s ability to dominate. On a roster full of young and incredible talent, it was V-Mart that rose to the occasion more often than his teammates. With .330/12/103 on stat sheet, Martinez was the fuel to Detroit’s engine.
5 – Ian Kennedy’s 21-4 record. Winning 84% of his starts, Kennedy makes a strong case for the Cy Young Award. His 3.6:1 strikeout to walk ratio is unreal for a 26-year old in just his 2nd full season.
4 – Craig Kimbrel’s 46 saves – a rookie record. Kimbrel was unreal for the Braves – and his 127 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched is the perfect recipe for a great closer.
3 – Dan Uggla’s 33-game hit streak. It’s very rare that a slugger has the patience to put together a hit streak of this kind. And while this was considered a ‘down’ year for Uggla as it relates to total hits and batting average, his 33-game hit streak was the league’s best of 2011.
2 – Curtis Granderson’s ability to compile stats like the big-boys. We’ve all known that Granderson was a highly skilled player – but to do what he did in one season is remarkable. 1st in runs scored, 1st in RBI, 2nd in home runs, and 2nd in triples makes a strong argument for the AL MVP.
1 – James Shield’s 11 complete games. Shields threw more complete games than 26 major league clubs – SERIOUSLY!!! The last time a starting pitcher recorded double-digit complete games in one season? 1999.
And there you have it – my ‘Top Ten Surprises From The 2011 Baseball Season’.
Did I miss anything? Let me hear it!!
And next week, we’ll take a look at my ‘Top Ten Disappointments From The 2011 Baseball Season’.
Thanks for reading!!