April is in the books, and it’s time to take a look at the month that was. I’ve put together my monthly list of fives that covers the surprises, the disappointments, and everything in between.
Think I missed something? Post a comment with what you think the best and worst performances of April were. All stats as of April 29.
Top Five First Month’s
- Zack Greinke—5W, 0.50 ERA. I don’t think we need to say much more about his impact on fantasy’s first month.
- Aaron Hill—Ten guys have 20 RBI through the Apr. 29. Who is one of them? Yup, this guy. Riddle me that one.
- Mike Lowell—He was left for dead at the end of the playoffs last season and has rebounded to be in the top of the league in RBI and average. No signs of slowing down.
- Ian Kinsler—We almost expected this from him, but Kinsler checks in at .326 with seven home runs, 20 RBI, and seven stolen bases. Not too bad.
- Adrian Gonzalez—Very quietly, Gonzalez already has nine home runs, 19 RBI, and has scored 17 runs. His .329 average doesn’t hurt either.
Top Five Surprises (in a good way)
- Brandon Inge—Inge wasn’t a complete disaster last season, but his average killed you. He’s started off hot, and is catcher-eligible. That alone makes him a decent player early this season.
- Dexter Fowler—He barely made the team out of camp, but now is nearing double-digit steals and is hitting .290. Fowler is widely available and can still provide a boost on speed even if the average comes down.
- Chris Volstad—He’s been the second-best pitcher on the Marlins behind Josh Johnson. Volstad isn’t striking guys out, but is winning games and providing solid peripheral stats.
- Melky Cabrera—Xavier Nady’s injury and Brett Gardner’s slow start have made Cabrera pretty important to the Yankee lineup. He’s put up four home runs and is swinging one of the hottest bats in baseball.
- Robinson Cano—A notoriously slow starter, Cano has grabbed the bull by the horns early this season. He’s hitting for average and providing just enough pop to keep him in the conversation.
Top Five Disappointing Starts
- Jimmy Rollins—Someone needs to get this guy on a milk carton. He’s started to turn it around, but the lack of steals and the low average has combined to kill teams.
- Ricky Nolasco—Nolasco was a stud at the end of last season, and was drafted that way. Four successive bad outings have forced teams to rethink that position. He’s nearly, if not already, bench-worthy.
- Chien-Ming Wang—No list would be complete without this guy. Wang seems to be simply out of pitching shape since his injury last season. He wasn’t allowed to do much throwing, and this is the result. Of course, this 34.50 ERA is one of the worst possible ones, but still a result.
- David Ortiz—His swing is just ugly. Yes, he’s putting up extra-base hits, but still no home runs and an average hovering around the .200 mark.
- Matt Holliday—.243 average, no home runs, only 11 RBI. Other than that, everyone is enjoying the high-round pick spent on the Oakland outfielder.
Top Five “Saw it Coming’s”
- Chris Carpenter on the DL
- Rocco Baldelli on the DL
- J.D. Drew already hurting
- Daisuke Matsuzaka and WBC-itis
- Nomar Garciaparra on the DL
Top Five Primed for May
- Josh Anderson—Another speedster, he’s got the pedigree to add steals to any team’s lineup. Anderson has started four straight games, is hitting well, and getting on base. He won’t add much pop, but steals is a category, too. Injuries to Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames help his cause.
- Jordan Zimmerman—The rookie flamethrower has already won two games. While the wins may not come as frequently because of spending time on the Nationals, he should be good his first time around the league, at a minimum.
- Russell Branyan—In the past, he’s simply killed right-handed pitching. He’s getting a shot against lefties as well and performing admirably. Branyan’s last seven games have been solid, despite having missed time with a sore back.
- Justin Upton—He’s struggled, but is eight for his last 21 with two home runs. He’s largely available because of all the strikeouts, and could help out in May.
- Rick Ankiel—Seems to have found his swing at the right time and has two home runs in his last seven games to go with a .333 average.
Melky Cabrera also fits here, but I mentioned him in the list above already.
Top Five Ready for Regression
- Christian Guzman—It’s simply a matter of the law of averages. He’s not going to hit .515 this season. It takes some games without hits to regress to the mean. That’s all really.
- Aaron Hill—I’m willing to credit him for a good season ahead, but I don’t think it will be to this magnitude. He’s not going to drive in 20 a month any more than the Blue Jays are likely to continue this type of offensive pace.
- Victor Martinez—Another guy who isn’t a .386 hitter. He’s a good hitter, but he’s not going to spend the season close to .400. A slump is only a matter of time.
- Kevin Youkilis—Love the guy, but he’s one of the only remaining regulars that is sitting above .400. He could stay close to that mark for a while, but it’s not going to last. A .330 number still means the average has 75 points to drop.
- Nick Swisher—He’s a career .246 hitter that’s currently playing at a .307 clip. Regression to the mean is an awful thing, but almost something you can always bank on. He’s going to continue to play well, but I wouldn’t be shocked if April is his best month of the season.
Top Five Names to Remember
- Alex Rodriguez—He’ll be back this month…owners can at least take solace in that part to the equation. Especially those of us that drafted him before the injury.
- Matt LaPorta—I think he’s more likely to get the call to replace Travis Hafner than anyone else. Hafner spent time last season struggling, and this could open the door some for LaPorta. He’s got power, and if he demonstrates it, he’ll be hard to send down. He’s hitting .368 at AAA.
- John Smoltz—While his rehab is progressing slowly, Brad Penny has been miserable. It could be a swap out if Penny can’t find a way to get himself together and get out of the third inning.
- John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar—The two Angels pitchers are going to be ready at some point in the not too distant future. Lackey is probably first, and he should be owned in your league. Stash him on the DL if you have a spot.
- Joe Mauer—He should be back this month as well. Owners that were expecting him to carry their catching position shouldn’t rejoice too quickly, he’ll still have to work back into his swing.