The St. Louis Cardinals currently lead the National League Central by three games over Cincinnati and Milwaukee. Here are five of the surprise performances, both good and bad, in the division so far for 2012.
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds - Votto hasn't been bad so far in 2012; he just hasn't been, well, Joey Votto. A former NL MVP, Votto is one of the NL Central's premier hitters, and to see him hitting nearly 40 points below his career average with just one home run can't please Reds fans. If you take away a 4-for-5 game against the Cardinals on April 11, Votto would be hitting .212. Votto and Albert Pujols might agree that maybe it's not so easy to play after signing a huge contract extension.
J.D. Martinez, Houston Astros - Martinez is such an unknown there isn't even a picture of him on his Yahoo! Sports page. Still, Martinez is hitting .313 and leads the Astros with three home runs and 18 RBIs. His RBI total puts him tied for 3rd in the National League, and his on-base percentage of .432 is also 3rd in the league. Astros fans must be looking for positives in this, their last year before moving to the American League, and Martinez is certainly supplying some good play.
Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs - Soriano has hit for a low average this year (.234), but his lack of power is shocking. Soriano has one extra base hit, a double he didn't get until three days ago against the Cardinals. This is a player who has 340 career home runs and has averaged 31 home runs a year in his 11 full seasons in the major leagues. Cubs fans cannot be too thrilled that Soriano is signed through 2014 at $18 million a year.
Nyjer Morgan, Milwaukee Brewers - It would be hard for Morgan to be worse than he has been in the first month of the season. He does not have an extra base hit or an RBI on the year, and his on-base percentage is a woeful .184. Morgan is batting nearly 120 points below his career average of .284. Milwaukee fans have to wonder how long the team will keep a player offering such little production.
Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals - Not even the most enthusiastic Cardinals fan would have predicted this start for Lynn. Lynn was slotted for the bullpen until Chris Carpenter was lost to injury in spring training. His are not bad results for a stand-in. Lynn leads the NL with four wins, his 1.33 ERA is tied for 8th in the league and he has four times more strikeouts than walks. Lynn has been remarkably consistent, giving up a lone run in each of his four starts.Brad Boeker is a native of St. Louis. He follows the Cardinals and the NL Central very closely.
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- Joey Votto
- Cincinnati Reds
- National League Central
- Alfonso Soriano