Evan Longoria- TB- Hot Player- Longoria is on pace to shatter the home run record with 162 long balls this year. Yeah, it’s an old and bad joke, but someone had to do it. Longoria won’t keep up at pace of 1 homer in every 4 ABs but he will be a major power source. Last season, he showed improved plate discipline, raising his Batting EYE from .38 to .51 by improving both sides- lowering strikeouts and increasing walks.
Curtis Granderson- NYY- Hot Player- Despite some horrendous luck last season (.224 BHIPx), Granderson crushed his previous career best of 23 homers by going deep 30 times. With his second homer in 3 games against the Red Sox, he is picking up where he left off in that department. Although his Batting EYE dropped to .50 in 2009, off significantly from his .64 the year before, that was still a good deal better than the mark he usually posted. If Granderson can maintain his walk rate in double digits as he has the past two seasons and keep the K rate below 25%, as he also has done, his projected 32 homers will be within reach.
David Ortiz- BOS- Stats- Papi finally got a hit, going 1-for-4, but he struck out twice, giving him 3 in 11 ABs against only one walk. In each of the past two seasnos, Ortiz has gotten out of the gate slowly, hitting .184 at the end of April in 2008 and having a .230 mark at the same point last season which he then followed up with a .143 average in May. Despite that, Ortiz ended up with 28 homers and 99 RBI. Given that manager Terry Francona didn’t bench him last night in favor of Mike Lowell, Papi will get the opportunity to work through whatever struggles he has. His projected homer total of 29 and RBI total of 106 are very reasonable.
Mariano Rivera- NYY- Great Player- For a n old guy, Rivera is doing well. Heck, for a young guy, he’s doing fine. He pitched a perfect 10th inning to pick up his second save of the season against the Red Sox. Although Mariano did not get a strikeout, he still required only 13 pitches to retire the side. If you want to find anything at all troublesome, only 8 of those pitches were strikes. Maybe there was just a little fatigue for the 40-year-old in pitching back-to-back days, but it’s too soon to draw that conclusion.
Vernon Wells- TOR- Hot- Since 2005, even numbered years have been good for Wells, odd numbered ones not so much. Or maybe it’s the other way around, that Wells is good in even numbered years and not so good in odd numbered ones. At any rate, 2010 is continuing this pattern, a whole 2 games into the season. With a .714 average and 3 homers, that has to be considered a good year so far. What will determine whether it continues that way is only partly under Wells’ control. He has been greatly affected by luck, as seen in his BHIPx. Last year, it was .223 and his batting average was .260. In 2008, it was .251 and he hit .300. One thing that is in Wells’ hands, though, is his plate discipline. If you look at his Batting EYE as represented in his Fantistical Player Charts you’ll see that the ups and downs there correlate with the ups and downs of his batting average. Keep a watch on Wells’ BHIPx. That could determine where his season will be headed.