Monday, June 06, 2011

Surprising Pitching Performances of 2011

The following is a list of surprising pitching performances thus far in the 2011 MLB season. They've either bounced back from injury, signed minor league deals, were selected off waivers, or just flat-out turned their careers around.

*#/# = ERA/WHIP, #:# = BB:K

Bartolo Colon/NYY 4-3, 3.39/1.13, 12 G, 9 GS, 71.2 IP, 17:66. Signed as a minor league free agent this offseason for $900K after rehabbing his way back from an experimental surgery involving stem cells. The Yankees are glad they have this 38 year old former Cy Young winner buoying their rotation.

Ryan Vogelsong/SFG 4-1, 1.68/1.04, 10 G, 8 GS, 53.2 IP, 14:42. Originally drafted by the Giants in the 5th round back in 1998, Vogelsong has come full circle returning to the team that gave him his first shot in the Majors. He was signed to a minor league contract in January and has been paying dividends for San Francisco ever since.

Charlie Morton/PIT 6-2, 2.52/1.35, 11 GS, 75 IP, 31:42. On the heels of a dismal 2-12 campaign in 2010 with a ghastly 7.57 ERA, this season was make-or-break for Morton. How did he turn things around? By emulating the best pitcher on the planet, Roy Halladay, of course. He studied Doc's wind-up extensively this offseason and put it into practice this year with outstanding results. He arrived in Pittsburgh back in the summer of 2009 in the trade that sent Nate McLouth to Atlanta.

Alexi Ogando/TEX 6-0, 2.20/0.80, 11 GS, 73.2 IP, 16:53. He had an impressive rookie season for the World Series bound Rangers in 2010, sporting a 1.30 ERA in 44 games. Nobody expected his transition to the rotation to go this smoothly though. He remains unbeaten this year and is an early front-runner for the AL Cy Young. He arrived in Texas via the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft back in 2005 out of the Oakland farm system.

Kyle Lohse/STL 7-2, 2.41/0.99, 12 GS, 86 IP, 15:52. Lohse is the biggest money maker on this list, but his performance thus far is astonishing considering he was returning from an arm injury that ended in 2010 season in which he had a 4-8 record with a 6.55 ERA. Kyle signed a 4 year pact with the Cardinals back in 2008, and is now making good on that.

Dustin Moseley/SDP 2-6, 3.00/1.26, 12 GS, 72 IP, 21:36. This former 1st round pick of the Reds has scuffled through the Majors until seemingly settling in this year in San Diego. After being granted free agency by the Yankees, the Padres snatched him up on a cost-effective $900K 1 year contract. The losing record isn't his fault, the Friars just don't score enough runs.

Phillip Humber/CHW 4-3, 3.06/0.98, 12 G, 10 GS, 67.2 IP, 14:38. The ChiSox are using an unconventional 6-man rotation largely because the early season success of Humber. Selected off waivers from the Athletics early this year, Humber has finally begun to pitch like the guy the Twins traded Johan Santana to the Mets for.

*Stats current through June 5th games


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