Livan Hernandez, RHP, Twins- I and humans everywhere scoffed at the Twins throwing multi million dollars at Livan Hernandez, but so far at least it has worked out. Livan is 3-0, but more importantly he has a 2.57 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. If the Twins play Adam Everett and Matt Tolbert in the middle infield spots it should boost their defense and help out Livan and more importantly the rest of that young staff.
Brian Bannister, RHP, Royals- I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, but I didn't totally believe Bannister's 2007. He had a good year, but only 77 strikeouts. What's surprising is that Bannister doesn't quite put up the stats that should endear him to the sabermetric community, and more so, he understands why. The fact that Bannister is familiar with things like DIPS should only make him be a better pitcher and improve even more.
San Francisco Giants- Yes I realize they're 6-10 only. Yes I realize it's April 16, but if the Giants put up this good of a record over a whole season I'll be very impressed. Honestly, they are horrible. Take a look around their roster once. Bengie Molina hits cleanup? Brian Bocock plays short? Brian Bocock put up a robust .220/.293/.328 in the California League, probably the best offensive league in minor league baseball, which equates out to a -25.9 VORP. And outside of Angel Villalona, who is only 17, there isn't any help coming from any younger kids either, unless Dan Ortmeier tickles your fancy. The only thing keeping them going is the duo of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. And with the way he's pitching and the way the offense is going, Matt Cain is my odds on favorite to lead the NL in ERA and losses, if you can bet on such a thing.
Russ Martin, C, Dodgers- Really I could include the entire Dodgers team here. I picked out Martin mainly because I traded for him in fantasy baseball, but to tell the truth I'm not worried. My main complaint with the Dodgers is that Joe Torre is treating managing a major league baseball team like it's building a space shuttle (or to borrow a phrase from my favorite person on earth "it's not rocket surgery") rather than what it is: put your best 8 (or 9) guys out there and let them go to it. Instead the Dodgers have used the same lineup just twice, and inexplicably have played Juan Pierre, who shouldn't ever be on the field except to pinch run, instead of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier for some games. Really Joe Torre, put him in the 2 hole and let him go to work. The end.
New York Yankees- I said this was the year the Yankees would miss the playoffs. Hopefully I'll be right. Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes have tons of talent, but it takes time to adjust to a major league season, but the Yankees don't have free wins against the Rays and Jays anymore to get back on track. The American League is just too good for a team to have to wait to get things going. Also, why in the world don't the Yanks have Mussina in the pen and Joba in the rotation? Truth be told, I hate the Yankees, and I'm not a huge fan of Joba doing stuff like this, but it's tough to root against a guy when this is going on. Also, the Yankees are relying probably a bit too much on older players such as Damon, Giambi, Posada and Matsui. Obviously they are good players, but how long can they play at their highest level?
On one more note, my preseason World Series pick, the Arizona Diamondbacks (yes I wish I had that on record) are playing very well. Chris Young is coming into his own (although probably should be hitting cleanup) and Justin Upton is one of the better young players in the game. It should be interesting to follow them all season.
Who are your surprises and disappointments?