Minnesota's Joe Mauer, with just 3 home runs, has been a big disappointment as far as his power output this season.
That's clear to the most casual baseball fan.
But let's quantify it.
Before the 2010 season, the sports book at the Las Vegas Hilton posted over/under totals on how many home runs would be hit by 30 individual players.
The total attached to Mauer was 19.5 home runs. He's on a pace to finish with 6 homers -- just 31 percent of the number on the betting board.
That gives Mauer the dubious distinction of being the most disappointing slugger in baseball this year, by a wide margin.
Other underachievers vis a vis the Las Vegas odds include Jason Bay (on pace for 13 homers with an over/under of 23.5) and Pablo Sandoval (on pace for 13 with an over/under of 22.5).
Ryan Braun (on pace for 22; over/under 34.5) and Jay Bruce (19, 29.5) are also failing to meet the expectations of oddsmakers and the betting public.
Players who have missed a significant amount of time due to injuries (e.g., Kendry Morales, Grady Sizemore, Nelson Cruz) were not considered.
I'm aware that preseason baseball statistics projections are available from a wide variety of sources.
But I use the Las Vegas line for one exceptional reason: Before the season, you can go into the Las Vegas Hilton and wager real money into their betting lines. To paraphrase professional handicapper Robert Frost, that makes all the difference.
It's not as easy to determine the most pleasant surprises -- or overachieving sluggers -- for an obvious reason: With "only" 30 batters on the betting board, some will inevitably be left off. Jose Bautista (on pace for 42 home runs), Paul Konerko (43) and Vernon Wells (40) fall into this category.
Of those on the betting board, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera has been the biggest overachiever. He's on pace for 43 homers, well ahead of his posted over/under of 33.5.
In a separate betting proposition, in March, Cabrera was a 20-1 shot to lead the majors in home runs.
By the way, here's what Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the Star Tribune of Minnesota when he was asked about Mauer the other day: "He's on the ball as well as anybody on this team, hitting line drives and rockets everywhere. The home runs will come."
June 29, 2010