Players who've exceeded my expectations 

September, 18, 2012

Players change all the time, and my opinions need to change with them. A player might get stronger or weaker, might change his mechanics, might acquire a new skill, or he might not change at all  I may have just come up with an incorrect evaluation. Here are five notable big leaguers who have shown themselves to be better than what I projected for them coming into the 2012 season.

Gio Gonzalez, LHP

I was never a Gio fan when he was coming up in the minors for two major reasons. One, every time I saw him, he was working with a fringy fastball -- down in the 86-88 mph range in one outing, and never above 91. The other, and the bigger concern, was that he wasn't just a guy with fringy control, but had a tendency to see his control and command disintegrate in tough situations, such as when a fielder behind him failed to make a play. Even last year, sources of mine who knew or saw Gonzalez indicated this was still something of an issue, just that his raw stuff had improved enough to allow him to overcome it.

Keith Law

ESPN Senior Writer