My how imaginary time flies when you're having fun. The 1st half of season 10 is in the books. WCM pauses to take a look at some of the surprises and disappointments of the 1st half.
NL Team - With apologies to the Seminoles (59-13), the surprise NL team is the Nashville Harmonies, leading the always cut-throat NL South at 56-35. The Harmonies have a 3 game lead on San Juan despite scoring 42 fewer runs and allowing 15 more. Still, when your division opponents have accounted for 7 pennants and 6 world series titlets, any lead is one worth savoring this far in.
NL Player - Chris Benes of DC hit just .240 with 17 HRs last season but he's hitting .260 and already has 23 dingers this year while stealing 18 or 20 bags.
NL Pitcher - Stu Duffy of Cheyene went 11-13 last year with a 4.44 ERA. The 30-year old has taken the league by storm this year, posting a 12-3 mark with a 2.39 ERA.
NL Rookie - Nashville catcher Kennie Rekar is 6th in the league in hitting at .339 with 21 HRs as the everyday catcher for the division-leading Harmonies.
NL Rookie Pitcher - Dominican starter Rafael Aguilera has been lights out at 11-3 with a 1.61 ERA.
AL Team - The Texas Riders have never won the division, but they lead the Conquistadors by 2 games heading into the break.
AL Player - Scranton's Tony Matos is 36 years old but his .352 average is 50 points above his areer average. He's also stole 21-24 bases.
AL Pitcher - Rich Harris has managed to go 10-0 for the Monterrey Conquistadors out of the bullpen!
AL Rookie - Sante Fe Rule 5 pick, Bobby Duran has hit 29 homers since the Fire Hawks took him off the Texas Riders hands. His performance in the field has been equally shocking as the the player that wa a below average defensive 3b throughout his minor league career was handed the everyday SS job. his 59 errors and 13 minus plays put him on pace to challenge the league record of 87 errors by Memphis' Phil Powell last season.
AL Rookie Pitcher - Vancouver's Winston Silvestri is 7-6 with a 4.16 ERA as a 26-year old rookie.
A little something extra: Cheyenne's 3.20 team ERA is 0.43 better than the next best team ERA in the league (Burlington).
NL Team - The Mexico City Bandejos coming off 3 straight division titles and a league pennant currently sit in 3rd place in the NL south and are on pace for their worst record in 6 seasons.
NL Player - Burlington's [URL=http://www.whatifsports.com/hbd/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=976962]Luis Astacio[/URL] has seen his average fall by 60 points from last year (.219 from .279) and is slugging just .344 after posting an impressive .520 in season 9.
NL Pitcher - Phenom Randall Kinkade of Washington may have been rushed to the big leagues. His 4-10 record and 5.40 ERA are not the stuff of legends predicted for the swashbuckling Texan teenager when he was drafted #3 overall in season 8.
AL Team - The Cincinnati Great Americans won 96 games and a division title. They bring back a $98 million payroll but are 43 games under .500, already having lost 1 game more than they did last year.
AL Player - The Hellraisers' Jerry Turner is struggling badly with more strikeouts (85) than hits (77) after a season that saw him hit .287 with 21 HRs and 42 stolen bases. He's already been thrown out stealing 7 times after being caught just 5 times last year.
AL Pitcher - Cincinnatti's Max Molina who was so impressive posting a 2.79 ERA in three playoff starts last year after a 13-6 regular season (3.10 ERA) is out for the year after tearing up his elbow. He was probably hurt long before he stopped pitching as his 12.89 ERA in 81 innings indicate.
A little something extra: The Burlington Bulldogs lead the NL East and would go to the playoffs if the seasone ended today despite their 44-47 record, which would place them ahead of only one NL team not in their division.