Surprises and Busts of 2010: A Cardinal, a Former Cardinal, a Met and Of Course a Cubbie


I’m working on a fun little Labor Day piece that will be up later today…math is involved…not my forte! My laptop caught Angela’s computer disease and froze up last night harder than the ice rink at Scotttrade Center! So until then, thought, just in case you missed the always brilliant “Ladies of Twitter” (I kid…not sure how/why I’m even in this group) piece on the Surprises and Busts of 2010, in The Fantasy Fix earlier this week, I’d give you a taste of both Susan Shan’s take and mine. Susan wrote an excellent piece on Jaime Garcia (she claimed him just seconds before I tried to grab him) along with Met Jason Bay, and I chose former Card Scott Rolen and with the horrified “help” of many of you in my Card twitter family, abandoned the idea of using Matt Holliday as a bust disappointment ( I know…I know…it was directly after a string of games where he kept leaving RISP stranded on the bases. Which has been my only complaint about Mattie. Other than it takes him three months of the season to heat up. Lake Erie heats up faster….But I digress. Thanks to @throatwarbler for the Zambrano suggestion!  On with the show….
Huge thanks to the outstanding website The Fantasy Fix: and @TheFantasyFix and also to the lovely and bright Susan Shan @Susan_Shan and for letting me reprint this part of the article. 

The Ladies of Twitter Anoint MLB’s 2010 Surprises & Busts
Times are changing and Twitter has quickly become a great source of sports information. Everyone from sports stars to professional sports writers to internet-famed sports bloggers are writing daily. So decided it was far by time to do a roundtable with the LADIES of TWITTER!
So here was the question:

As the conclusion of the 2010 Major League Baseball regular season approaches, we would like to identify those players who fell short of expectations (busts) and those who exceeded expectations (surprises).

Name one bust/surprise to this point of the 2010 season (describe their 2010) and state what you expect from them in the 2011 season. (rebound, maintain, regress etc..)
And away we go!…

Biggest Bust Of 2010: Jason Bay | LF | New York Mets

Jason Bay was a highly coveted free agent after the 2009 season. He was a three-time All-Star who had just hit .267 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs. With the exception of a .745 OPS in 2007, Bay had an OPS of near .900 or better every season from 2003-09.

As a result, the New York Mets rewarded him with one of the worst contracts in Major League Baseball – a four-year, $66 million deal that could top $80 million with a vesting option in the fifth year.

Bay will turn 32 in less than a month. His age, history of injuries (shoulder surgery in 2003 and arthroscopic knee surgery in 2006), and subpar defense (lifetime UZR/150 of -7.8 in left field) should have deterred the Mets from offering such a lopsided contract. The Boston Red Sox’s best offer in retaining Bay was a four-year deal between $60 million and $65 million; they refused to include a fifth year.

Thus, with his monstrous contract and even higher expectations for on-field performance, Bay is the biggest bust of 2010. He has not played since suffering a concussion in July nor do the Mets expect him to come back before season’s end.

Not only was his fielding below average (-3.9 UZR/150), he struggled with swinging the bat. Bay was batting .259 with six home runs, 47 RBIs, and an OPS of .749. He’ll most likely miss 40% of the season. The Mets clearly didn’t pay Bay an average of $16.5 million a year for him to play bad defense, hit an offensive wall, and then sit out with an injury.

Biggest Surprise Of 2010: Jaime Garcia | LHP | St. Louis Cardinals

Jaime Garcia was drafted 680th overall in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. After making appearances in ten games in 2008, he underwent Tommy John surgery. He came back in 2009 to pitch 37 2/3 innings in the minors.

No one expected Garcia to make the Cardinals’ 40-man roster. Manager, Tony La Russa, and pitching coach, Dave Duncan, both told Garcia numerous times in spring training that a return to Triple-A Memphis would be more beneficial to his development.

Instead, Garcia was so impressive with a 3.00 ERA and a 4.0 K/BB ratio in 24 IP that he earned the No. five spot in the starting rotation.

This season, he has astounded everyone with his prowess on the mound. He is now the No. three pitcher on staff after aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Of his 25 starts, 17 are quality starts. His ERA of 2.33 is the sixth best in the NL and his GB% of 55.2% ranks third in the NL.

After Garcia got off to a hot start with a 1.04 ERA in April and 1.53 ERA in May, many worried that he had hit a rookie wall. His 4.50 ERA in June was highlighted by a 2.0 IP outing against the Kansas City Royals where he gave up five earned runs, the most allowed by Garcia this year.

However, he has bounced back in the last two months and hasn’t given up an earned run in his last three starts. He even pitched his first ever complete game shutout on August 22nd against the San Francisco Giants in 89 pitches.

Garcia has been a highly reliable arm in the wake of injuries to starters Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse. The lift he has given the Cardinals cannot be understated or overlooked, especially after coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Susan Shan, known as the Asian Sensation, is an independent sports analyst and writer. Check out Susan’s writing, radio appearances, and video clips at Feel free to tweet at her at, as well. She’s all about sports, all the time.

Biggest Surprise of 2010: Scott Rolen | 3B | Cincinnati Reds 

By Jacqueline Conrad
Walt Jocketty traded for Scott Rolen on July 31st of last year, he was looking for veteran leadership, everyday all out effort, consistent hitting, strong RBI production and Gold Glove caliber fielding from the 34 yr old. Jocketty knew exactly what he was getting in Rolen. He was GM of the Cardinals in July 2002 when he traded four players to get Rolen from the Phillies. He also knew he was taking on Rolen’s eight-year, $90 million deal he signed him to in St. Louis. Rolen was a five-time All-Star, a seven- time Gold Glover and the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year with Philadelphia. He helped lead St. Louis to their 2006 World Series win.

While Rolen was still playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at the hot corner, and was having a fine season at the plate, he had seen a dip in his power numbers. He was due $11 million last year and in 2010. That salary and the fact that injuries had limited Scott over the past four seasons, was seen as a major drawback.  He was averaging just 379 at bats per season. This trade was not looked upon as a stellar one by many Cincy fans and some members of the press.

Those that doubted the trade have been pleasantly surprised. He has provided everything that Jocketty was sure he could. From his veteran leadership to his increased power numbers, Rolen has been one of the key catalysts for the Reds turnaround this season.

While appearing in just 106 games due to a hamstring injury, the 35 yr old Rolen is 2nd behind the hot as the face of the sun Joey Votto in most of the Reds major hitting numbers.  Rolen has 19 home runs and has driven in 73 RBI. He has a .366 OBP, .528 SLG, .294 AVG and .893 OPS.  All put him in 2nd place on the Reds roster. He has a .996 FPCT which is 2nd for 3rd basemen in the majors in 2010. He leads all active major league 3rd basemen in assists and Total Zone Runs and is 2nd for all active 3rd basemen in Range Factor per game. He ranks 6th in the NL in slugging and 9th in OPS for this season. He was named to the 2010 NL All Star Team. He also renegotiated his contract to assist the Reds and instead of the $11 million he was due, he deferred his salary and is making ‘only’ $7.6 million.

As of the All Star break, in the year since they acquired Rolen, the Reds were 70 and 42 when he’s in the lineup and 12-26 when he’s not.

He is projected to hit 25 HR’s and drive in 96 RBI, with a .366 OBP, .528 SLG and an .893 OPS in 2010. If he stays healthy, there is no reason to believe his 15th yr in the majors will show much regression.

Irony watch:  St.Louis is on the hook for paying the $4 million bonus due to Rolen in 2010.

Biggest Bust of 2010: Carlos Zambrano | RHP | Chicago Cubs

By Jacqueline Conrad
RHP Carlos Zambrano was reinstated from the restricted list on July 30th of this year. That about sums up his 2010 season.  Zambrano threw a tirade in the dugout on June 25th, after he gave up four runs in the first inning to their cross-town rivals, the White Sox. He then started a fight with teammate
Derrek Lee. The Cubs coaching staff had to separate the two players. Piniella did not let Zambrano back in the game and he was later suspended indefinitely by the Cubs GM. Zambrano had to undergo anger management training during his suspension.

Zambrano started the season as the Cubbies ace. He stumbled badly and gave up 8 runs to the Braves in one and a third innings. The Cubbies lost the game 16-5. His season has been up and down since that day. On April 21st he was sent to the bullpen. On May 30th the Cubbies moved Zambrano back to the rotation. In his four starts before his meltdown he went 2 and 2.

After he returned from suspension he was moved back to the bullpen until Aug 9th. The Cubbies returned Zambrano to the rotation for the second time this season. He hasn’t given up more than two runs and he’s allowed only six runs in 24 innings.

Although Zambrano has had some good results since his return, his velocity is diminished and his command is poor, which has always been his weakness. The $18 million the Cubbies are paying Zambrano has produced a W/L record of 5 wins and 6 losses. He has an ERA of 4.64 and a WHIP of 1.680. His W/L % is .455 with 0 shut outs and 72 strike outs.

Compare that to his career averages of 110 wins and 74 losses, a 3.57 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. His career W/L % is .598 with 4 shut outs and 1396 strike outs. Between 2003 and 2006 he never had less than 13 wins. In 2007 he had 18 wins and 13 losses with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.

He lead the NL in wins in 2006, is a three time All Star, as well as a three time Silver Slugger. From pitching a no hitter and playing in the All Star Game in 2008 to the disaster of this year, Zambrano is certainly a major disappointment.

Here’s the link to the original piece- The Ladies of Twitter Annoint MLB’s 2010 Surprises & Busts – Fantasy Sports Advice, Analysis and Projections | The Fantasy Fix in The Fantasy Fix: (which by the way is a great site) (although I like the pictures I chose better than theirs)

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