Biggest surprise and disappointment in 2010

Well, it’s not raining this morning, but I woke up with the covers pulled over my head. I refuse to turn on the heat. It’s not happening in the first week of October.

Meanwhile, my daughter sleeps with her ceiling fan on full-blast. Says it has to be “freezing” in her room. Apparently, it also has to be noisy, because the television stays on all night.

She’s back in school today. Thanks for all the well-wishes and medical advice.

Taking New England -1 last night worked out well for me, but I still had a lousy week picking against the spread.


Any playoff predictions in baseball?

As I told one reader, that Phillies rotation is sick. They jump out at me right now.

I want to dismiss the Yankees, but I can’t. Something about that lineup, Mariano and the Bronx in October.

What about a Rangers-Reds World Series? Might not be a ratings winner, but it would be different.

As the final games melted away on the Orioles’ schedule, I challenged some of the beat reporters to name their biggest surprise and disappointment of the season. I’m talking players, not moments. That 2-16 start doesn’t count (if only...)

I was surprised that so many writers chose Nolan Reimold as the biggest disappointment, though they made a strong argument. One scout also selected him.

Expectations were raised after his rookie season, but he spent most of the summer at Triple-A Norfolk and appeared in only 39 games with the Orioles, batting .207 with three homers, a .282 on-base percentage and a .328 slugging percentage.

He couldn’t run at full speed in spring training because of the Achilles surgery, again raising the question of why the club waited so long to shut him down and schedule the procedure, and he struggled to maintain his focus during the season.

I talked to a scout from another organization who still believes that Reimold will develop into a quality No. 5 or 6 hitter. And manager Buck Showalter noted that he’ll get a truer read on Reimold next spring.

I thought more people would choose Matt Wieters, the first player to pop into my head. He was splashed on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the “perfect catch,” but he batted .249 with 11 homers, 55 RBIs and a .377 slugging percentage. However, his defense and handling of the pitching staff improved noticeably as the season progressed, to the point where he became a weapon behind the plate, and he seemed to be driving the ball more consistently as we reached the finish line.

The same scout offered the following, unsolicited opinion:

“I think the most underrated guy on the team in a lot of ways is Wieters. If you were to ask any team to take one guy from this team, it would be Wieters. He’s in the top nine or 10 catchers in baseball right now. He can catch and throw, handle pitchers and he’s only in his second year. He’s going to hit .270 with 20 home runs, 75 RBIs and be a real good catcher behind the plate. Find that guy. How many of those guys are out there? People don’t realize.

“Start looking at the other teams. Who has a better catcher? Does Tampa have a better catcher? Do the Yankees have a better catcher? Toronto? (John) Buck will be gone. It’s not easy. He’s an underrated guy. Very valuable player.”

One writer picked Garrett Atkins as the most disappointing player. Guess it depends on your expectations.

Most writers chose Ty Wigginton as the Orioles’ biggest surprise. He wasn’t consistent throughout the year, not by a long shot, but his 76 RBIs led the club and he ranked second in home runs with 22.

Did anyone pick Wigginton as the RBI leader back in March? Anyone at all?

I didn’t think he’d get enough at-bats to stay happy or productive, and I named him as a serious trade candidate in spring training.

Another stellar prediction.

Jason Berken and Luke Scott also garnered votes.

I’ll turn the question over to you. Which player was the biggest surprise and disappointment in 2010, and why?

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