Travis Snider - Snider is definitely one of the favorites for ROY in the AL, and he got off to a solid start yesterday with a double and a homer in four trips against Detroit. Snider hit 25 homers across four levels last season at age 20....pretty impressive power numbers for that age. I'd be surprised to see him batting ninth after Memorial Day, and there's a very real chance that he'll end the season as the Jays' most valuable hitter.
Howie Kendrick - It speaks volumes that a .306 AVG in his first 250 games in the bigs is disappointing for Howie Kendrick, but between the injuries and the slow-developing power he just hasn't done as much as you'd expect thus far. He is clearly a breakout candidate for 2009, and he got the year started off well with a single and a homer against the A's last night. He's one of the few guys this year where I would be very comfortable with the over on his projection.
Brian Fuentes - Day one of the post-Rodriguez era started off smoothly, as Fuentes set the A's down in order on 13 pitches for save #1 as an Angel. The style of games that the Angels play, coupled with Fuentes' move out of Coors for the first time in eight years, should make Fuentes one of the most valuable relievers around this season.
Robinson Cano - Cano may already have outpaced last April's stats with a single and two walks yesterday (or maybe it just seems that way). One of the few Yankee hitters with upside, Cano is going to be critical to the Bombers' playoff hopes this season, and count me among those who think he is going to rebound significantly from his disappointing 2008. He is still just 26, and mired in last year's misery was a much improved contact rate. I'm optimistic.
Adam Jones - Jones gets to bask in the glow of his 1.000 AVG for another couple of days, as the young CF started out 3-3 with a triple and a pair of walks against the Yanks yesterday. Jones is definitely a strong breakout candidate this season, both based on career-long scouting reports and his spring performances. He'll see quite a few fastballs batting between Roberts and Markakis, which would seem to make the likelihood of a breakout this year even greater.
Kevin Millwood - Millwood was sharper than I've seen him in years yesterday against the Indians, allowing only five singles and a run over seven innings, walking one and fanning five. It's only one start, so we need to temper our enthusiasm a bit, but a new conditioning program this off-season may actually tick Millwood's performance up a notch this year, at least if yesterday is any indication. I'm going to give him a little more attention than I otherwise would in his next few outings.