The team has been pretty depressing lately, so let's try to talk about something a little less depressing.
When we do the 'View from the other side' posts, I often ask 'who has been your most pleasant surprise', so I figured let's have a poll on which player has surprised us the most this season (in a positive way). If we had done a poll like this on June 1st, Mark Buehrle would have been the choice, since he was 10-1 with a 2.10 ERA and, on average, he's had a pretty good season, unfortunately, he hasn't been 'average' much, he's been great or awful. Jose Bautista has been a bit of a surprise too, getting his OBP over ,400 after it looked like he was turning into a low average power guy.
Let's take a look at the candidates:
Melky Cabrera: Last year Melky looked finished. He was slow (slow doesn't really paint the picture, but let's stick with slow). He hit an empty .279 with just 3 home runs and a .360 slugging average. This year he hit .301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs. His defense, which was graded at an awful -14.8 UZR/150, improved all the way up to a mediocre -6.5 and, especially the last few games before he was hurt, it looked like he was working hard out there. His WAR improved from a -0.9 last year to a 2.6 this year.
Drew Hutchison: Maybe it is just me, but after Drew missed all of last year, if you would have told me he'd have 30+ starts, 175+ innings, I'd have been very surprised. His ERA isn't great 4.51, but his FIP is much better at 3.82. He's striking guys out, 8.7 per 9 and not walking many, 2.9 per 9. FanGraphs has him at a 2.6 WAR.
Marcus Stroman: He started the season in Buffalo and we were wondering if he would end up a starter or a reliever. They brought him up in early May to help out in the pen and he had pretty mixed results. They sent him back to the minors, for a couple of weeks and then bring him back to be a starter. Since then he's been great. As a starter he is 9-6 with a 3.31 ERA. He's getting strikeouts, 7.6 per 9 and he's not walking many, 2.1 per 9.
J.A. Happ: Maybe more a surprise to me than anyone else, but, watching him last year, I really didn't want to see him start for us this year. But he's been pretty, mostly because he's throwing more strikes. Last year he walked 4.37 per 9 this year it is 2.99 per 9. He's getting us deeper into game.