The 2012 MLB season began with anticipation over how several superstar free agents (Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes) would fare with new teams. After a third of the season, the reviews are mixed, at best.
Pujols got off to a miserable start with the Angels, batting just .217 in April, failing to hit a homerun until his 111th at-bat, by far the longest drought of his career. Pujols has come around since then however, upping his average to .262, 9 HRs and 36 RBIs through early June. Pujols teammate, pitcher Wilson, also had an inauspicious beginning with the Angels. Like Pujols, Wilson has since settled down with a 7-4 W-L mark. Fielder, in Detroit, has put up the expected power numbers, 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, but the Tigers have been up-and-down. Reyes, the NL’s batting champion in 2011 with the Mets, has also struggled, hitting just .274 with the Marlins.
Overall, the most pleasant surprise has to be the Washington Nationals. The perennial doormats got off to a quick start and have sat atop the Division for nearly the entire season. Also surprising has been the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s have been at or near the top in the AL East, and appear to be set for the duration. Another big surprise has occurred in the NL Central, with the unexpected success of the Pittsburgh Pirates keeping them also near the top of the division race.