Every season, weird stuff happens. And this season is no exception.
Some of these mysteries are easily solved. Barry Zito, for example, was 2008′s biggest train wreck. Now he’s back, with his best FIP in four seasons, and his best K/9 since 2002. How’s he doing it? Turns out, he learned a slider.
Then there’s the formerly soft hitting Ben Zobrist, who is now a prolific slugger. What’s up with him? Turns out he took some lessons from a hitting guru.
Some mysteries are harder to crack. Here are a few of 2009′s unsolved mysteries. Can you solve them?
How is old man Ibanez this good? You don’t go from a .479 slugging to .716 at the age of 37. It simply isn’t done. What’s going on here?
How does Willy Taveras still have a job? He’s fast. I get that. But outside of his injury-shortened 2007, when he was 29 and at his peak, he’s never been as good as a replacement level center fielder. Now he’s 31 and declining and his OBP is .297.
What happened to Orlando Cabrera’s glove? Last year, his Ultimate Zone Rating was 14. So far this season it’s -7.6. That’s a drastic drop off. According to Fangraphs, Cabrera was worth $15.6MM in both 2008 and 2007. So far this season, he’s cost his team $3.3MM. It’s normal for a player’s range to diminish with age, but not this fast.
When did Marco Scutaro learn how to hit? Not only is the Blue Jays SS hitting for more power and better average, but his plate discipline is also much improved. In 2008 he walked 57 times. So far this season, he’s walked 56 times. That kind of patience is usually not learned over the course of an offseason.
Who are these Mets? Seriously, I’ve never heard of any of them. Argenis Reyes? Pat Misch? Where did they come from? You’re making Paul cry.
Has Billy Beane lost “it”? The A’s have been “rebuilding” for three years now and even with the acquisitions of Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi, this team looks to be getting worse.
What happened to Milton Bradley’s power? His isolated power currently stands at .138, which is his lowest mark since 2001 and is a full .1 lower than either of his last two seasons.
How is Brandon Inge doing this? We have no idea. But the Tigers 3B is on pace to hit 39 HRs with a .360 OBP (both would tower over his previous highs) while playing brilliantly on defense.
Why is Emilio Bonifacio still playing? Clearly, he has Marlins Manager Fredi Gonzalez’s mother tied up in his basement. That’s the only explanation.
What unsolved mysteries are you working on?