Garceau: Orioles And American Leagues Biggest 2016 Surprises
Of all the major sports baseball is the most track-record friendly game. If a guy has a .260 six-year career batting average and averages 14 homers and 68 RBI's a year you can pretty much pencil in similar numbers for next year. Injuries can throw this theory off but for the most part hitters and pitchers generally perform to their numbers, a 162 game season delivers a numbers truth serum.
The magic of sports is the unexpected and that's why millions of us watch these silly games. It's the unheralded rookie on fire, the aging veteran who finds the fountain of youth on the mound or at the plate and that run-of-the-mill player who's suddenly performing at an All-Star level.
Here are three Orioles that qualify as 2016 surprises:
Hyun Soo Kim: After a brutal spring many were questioning Kim's spot on the Orioles roster. His work and Buck Showalter's patience have been rewarded. His batting average has hovered around .330 with his on-base percentage well over .400. and his suspect defense has been better than advertised.
Chris Tillman: While the Orioles watch young arms like Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman mature Chris Tillman has been the man! He's tied for the league lead with 14 wins. He's been the ace, the stopper and everything else the Orioles have needed. Baltimore is 19-4 in his 23 starts and Tillman has a shot to become the Orioles first 20 game winner since 1984.
Mark Trumbo: What he's doing isn't a total shock; after all he did hit 34 home runs and drive in 100 a few years ago with the Angels. Trumbo is in the midst of a career year in his first season with the Orioles; Monday night he blasted home run number 31 that's tops in MLB. All that for a backup catcher, nice trade Dan Duquette.
Here are three of the biggest surprises in the American League this summer:
Michael Fulmer: How good is the Tigers rookie pitcher? How about 4 straight starts without giving up a run and holding opponents to 3 hits or less, yes that good! He's 9-2 with a 2.42 ERA and the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award. Fulmer is a big reason Detroit is contending for the Central Division title.
David Ortiz: Big Papi is having the greatest retirement season in the history of the game. His batting average is about 30 points higher than his career average, he has 25 home runs and his 87 RBI's are second most in the A.L. Ortiz is having a Triple Crown caliber year. He'll be 41 in November but his bat doesn't know it.
Aaron Sanchez: In his first year as a fulltime starter the young Toronto pitcher has made it look easy. His 11-1 record is great but that doesn't tell the entire story, Sanchez's 2.71 ERA is tops among American League qualifying starters.
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