Biggest 2018 Surprises

John Hicks - Without the extra playing time due to Miggy's injuries he probably wouldn't earn a mention. But he got the at bats and was a surprise contributor.

Matt Boyd - A decent season. While starting the season with upside/breakout potential I doubt many thought he had much chance to preform as well as he has. A pleasant surprise.

Mike Fiers - Signed as, at best, an experienced mediocre starter (that almost nobody wanted) he pitched effectively and had a very solid season. Any contender that needed pitching and didn't claim Fiers when he was placed on revocable waivers should be questioning the competence of their front office. Any deal would have been relatively cheap and the claim would have prevented other contenders from getting him.

Leonys Martin - Remember the parade of bitching and whining at the beginning of the season about Gardy batting Leonys lead off? It worked out okay and way better than just about anyone anticipated.

Niko Goodrum - Probably the first choice of most for biggest surprise. A castoff, he makes the 25, hits his way into regular playing time and puts together a reasonably decent season with some desperately needed power. A month or so ago I said to my best buddy, an avid Pirates fan, "Get this, the guy who was probably the 25th man on the Tigers roster out of spring training is now batting clean up for them!" In fairness I had to add that it said as much about the Tigers as it did about Niko. But no matter how one parses it, a huge surprise.

Despite the huge bump on the surprise meter that Niko presents, for me the biggest surprise of the year is Blaine Hardy. He showed promise as a reliever in 2014, his first taste of the bogs. And despite a persistent unattractively high WHIP he was an okay contributor in 2015. But Blaine couldn't sustain it and his performance faded over the next 2 seasons. He became a guy who excels in Triple A and flounders in the majors culminating with a disastrous 2017. In 2018 he's dropped from the 40 man roster and nobody wants him. At 31 years old he remakes himself as a starter at Toledo and basically goes from major league career over to getting double figure plus starts with the Tigers and pitching reasonably well. I get why most people think the biggest surprise is Niko, but for me it's Hardy.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.