Every Season there are players who start the year with promising numbers and then fall off. In 2011 Sam Fuld, Jonthan Herrera and Mike Aviles came out strong and then were no longer worthy of roster spots. On the other hand, if you ignored all of the hot starts in 2011 you would have missed out on guys like Alex Gordon, Michael Pineda and Lance Berkman. So, with that in mind, below is my take on guys off to a good start in 2012.
Matt Kemp/Andre Ethier – The opposite case from Pujols, these two Dodgers have come out on fire. Ethier seems like he has rediscovered the power that disappeared last year. In 2009 he hit 31 HR’s, and the past two seasons he has hit for a .292 AVG. This is shaping up to be the year it all comes together for him. As for Kemp, I still doubt he reaches his goal of 50/50. That’s hardly criticism though, we may all be witnessing the season he takes over as the sports top player.
David Freese – Through 10 games he has a BABIP of .500, which is unbelievable and will certainly come down. The good news is that in the minors his BABIP was in the .340 range, indicating he makes good contact. His HR pace should slow down a bit, but he may settle in with a .300 AVG, 15-20 HR’s and 80+ RBI’s.
Josh Willingham – As of 4/19/12 he had a ridiculous 45% HR rate on flyballs, reasonably he should land in the 17% range. So, despite the hot start, I wouldn’t expect Willingham to finish the year significantly above his career norms.
Carlos Pena – There is no chance he hits for a high AVG, but he has hit over 30 HR’s in all of his prior seasons in TB. He also becomes much more valuable in leagues that reward OBP (on-base percentage).
Adam Laroche – He normally starts poorly and finishes with solid numbers so, given his good start, he should exceed expectations if he stays healthy all year. If you can still get him cheap, make the move.
Edwin Encarnacion – Both SB’s came in the same game, and they are more of a fluke, but the HR’s, AVG and RBI’s are legit as long as he is healthy. He’s eligible at both corner spots and the Blue Jays should put up runs all year.
Chase Headley – He already has as many HR’s (4) as he did in 2011 (113 games). There is no way this streak will continue: 29% of his flyballs have been HR’s, compared to the 7% average he has put up over his career. It’s not even close. Plus, PETCO will suppress any power he might actually have. He’ll put up a respectable AVG and SB total, but don’t trade for him. If anyone wants to take him from you based on his hot start, take what you can get.
The Nationals Pitching Staff – I’m buying all of them: starters, middle relievers, and closers. Stephen Strasburg, Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez all have similar stat lines (more than a strikeout per inning). If they keep the walks under control, they could approach or surpass the same level as the Giants starting staff.
Albert Pujols – I feel obligated to mention him, but don’t worry he’ll be fine, don’t trade him unless you get a ton of value. He also started last year slowly and he’s still adjusting to new pitchers, due to the league change. The average is still good, the HR’s and RBI’s will come.
If there is anyone I’ve left out that you want to discuss let me know. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FOSTERurROSTER
Tags: adam laroche, Albert Pujols, andre ethier, Carlos Pena, chase headley, David Freese, edwin jackson, Fantasy Baseball, gio gonzalez, josh willingham, matt kemp, stephen strasburg, washington nationals, washington nationals fantasy, washington nationals pitching