While there were plenty of April surprises—good and bad—to fill a dozen pieces such as this one, here's a look at six hitters off to better-than-expected starts.
John Buck, C, Mets
Buck played better than a perceived placeholder traded twice in one winter is supposed to play. Fueled by nine home runs—including a six-homer barrage over his first 40 plate appearances—Buck showed his raw strength in quantity and quality. The quantity may have been unexpected, but the geographical spread of the home runs jived with his past, as only three of the home runs qualified as true pull jobs; the other six landed beyond the left-center or right field walls.
Deals like this week's blockbuster are rare for any team. What are the day-in, day-out moves that Alex Anthopoulus has tended to make, and is likely to continue to make, to finish building a contender?
In last week’s Lineup Card, we identified 13 areas of need facing selected teams this winter. One of those teams—the only team with two entries in the article—was the Toronto Blue Jays. One Toronto entry was about how the starting rotation would need help. (Evidently, Alex Anthopoulos agreed.) The other entry, by Colin Wyers was a bit more broad. What the Blue Jays needed, according to Colin, was “something other than a reliever.”
Look at Toronto’s transaction logs leading up to that Lineup Card, and you’ll see what Colin meant:
Just over a year ago, Jim Riggleman was managing a team on the cusp of greatness. Revisiting his and others' bad decisions.
About 25 years ago a friend’s dad met a man with a business idea. The man was looking for investors. My friend’s dad was interested so the man explained his idea. They went over the whole business plan, finances, everything in detail. At the end the man asked what my friend’s dad thought. My friend’s dad was quiet for a while then said, “I just can’t imagine a world where people go to a store just to buy a cup of coffee.” My friend’s dad didn’t invest with the man, but Starbucks ended up doing just fine anyway.
I love that example because the coffee shop is so ubiquitous now. Just about every town has one and just about every city has one per block. This meeting boiled down to this: could you imagine it? If so you’re a millionaire.
Copy editors are some of the cleverest, coldest, most irreverent people you'll ever meet. So when a terribly naughty headline or ironic photo caption makes it into print, it's always hard to say whether it was an accident or some mischievous lad or lass on the copy desk having a laugh. Like this:
A look at the surprise home run hitters of 2010, relative to their pre-season PECOTA forecasts.
On Tuesday night in Kansas City, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista launched his major league-leading 26th home run, continuing one of the most unexpected power surges in recent memory. Long known as a journeyman with decent patience and a modicum of power, few expected Bautista at this stage of his career to suddenly turn into a long-ball machine. It’s always fun to see players suddenly show a propensity for the long ball—perhaps we identify with players who manage the baseball equivalent of the young Marty McFly balling up his fist and decking Biff with an unexpected haymaker.