As a follow-up to last week's early season team starts, since it's now the first of May, we take a look at individual hot starts and how they compared to last year? The Nationals were voted by our readers to be the most likely to remain hot. Do some of these players start hot, or do you think this is sustainable? Aside from focussing on just Matt Kemp and how he's going beast mode on the NL, what unlikely names are surprising to see on this list?
I wanted to use OPS+ or wOBA, but I couldn't isolate March/April numbers when I was looking, so hopefully this will tell part of the story still.
Cliff Corocoran from SI.com covered Matt Kemp's tear yesterday, so I can lay off that a little bit. Rob Neyer has an awesome piece today regarding good and bad players per position as well. Here are some notables to keep an eye on.
Making a run for the title of "The Next Next Jose Bautista", Encarnacion belted 3 HR over the weekend and 1 last nite to total 8 for the month. His OPS is a Bautista-like 1.054. Eric Karabell, in his Insider article today, thinks he can finish with 30 HR.
Last night's 3 HR game helps him to the top of the leaderboard. Compared to last season. he's behind on HR (10 last year), and OPS (0.994 this season, 1.181 last season).
His hitting is catching up to his defense. 2 HR more than last April (6 HR) his OPS is a respectable 0.937. After the all-star break, he has 14 HR last season.
Hardball Talk has an article about his surge today. It's exciting to see a career minor leaguer get his chance. His OPS 1.251 will likely fall, but last season in AAA, he clubbed 38 HR and had an OPS of 1.070 over 129 games.
Dare I ask how he's still doing this? Last year he started off with a 0.768 OPS, this year, 1.184. Marc Normadin writes about his different type of April.
Mr. Underrated, is doing it again this year. His 1.123 OPS this season is a throwback to his 2010 (1.197 OPS) and 2006 (1.073 OPS). So he's been there before.
Coming off of injury, it's good to see Posey coming back with a team-leading 1.016 OPS in April. His hot start is getting AP articles written about him.
Another player who seems to be channeling his younger self, Jeter's 1.012 OPS compares to his 2006 start (1.152 OPS) and his 1997 season (1.217 OPS). Jon Heyman writes about his hot start.