A bevy of MLB teams are currently enjoying the extended services of players who traditionally flounder in the cruel month of April, which has many fans excited.
If I were you, though, I wouldn't expect any of these trends to continue on much longer.
Players like Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira are not known for their overwhelming presence in April but seemingly have turned that corner, even if it's for the interim.
Let's take a look at which hot starts you should take with a grain of salt.
Talk about surprises!
Every Phillies fan from Market Street to the suburbs is currently enjoying a rarity in Howard’s hot start to the 2011 season. As of this article, Howard is hitting .361 with two taters and 11—yup, count ‘em kids—RBI.
Howard is a lifetime .258 hitter in March/April, and we can assume a lot of this must be related to Chase Utley’s injury and absence.
If Howard continues this torrid pace, he’ll be on track for a career year straight across the board. But if we stick to tradition and statistics, the likelihood of his hot start cooling off is pretty high.
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira got off to what some call a “hot-power” start with his four home runs, but is now beginning to come back down to earth.
Tex has always been a slow starter and went all of April without a multi-RBI game last year. He also had just one two-RBI game in April 2009 despite his multi-RBI start earlier this year.
I don’t expect Teixeira to heat back up anytime soon, and neither should Yankees fans if history rears its ugly head.
Where did all of this come from, right?
Every year in the early going, there’s always one player who seemingly begins the year playing way out of his element. Whether it’s the player’s power numbers, average, defense or just a dash of everything, MLB fans tend to get caught up in the frenzy of the player’s start.
Then reality sets in.
Bloomquist is currently hitting .368 but historically is a .268 hitter who is only good for an average of a single homer in the entire month of April.
A lot of this came in the slugfest that occurred against Cincinnati, and beginning the season at Colorado and against the Cubs also helped.
Look for Bloomquist to come back down to earth as the D-Backs face stiffer competition in St. Louis and San Francisco this week.
There may be a four-headed pitching monster, but there is a three-headed slow-starter monster in the City of Brotherly Love as well.
Ben Francisco is head No. 2.
Francisco is off to a .306 start with two home runs and seven RBI, which is a far cry from his traditional .263 career start in the month of April.
Again, if you’re a Phillies fan, ya gotta be loving this. But keep in mind that tradition has a way of coming out of nowhere and simply taking over.
A 3.13 ERA, 21 strikeouts and a 1-1 record in April? This is a bizarro world, isn’t it?
Verlander has impressed thus far in a month that usually doesn’t favor him. In his career, Verlander is 8-12 with a 4.80 ERA in the combined months of March and April, so the chances of Verlander keeping this successful pace are not all that good.
Verlander is likely to square off against the A’s and Royals in his next two outings, which is when we could begin to witness him cool down.
Prince gets the 2011 MLB April surprise award for his incredible start in which he is hitting .400 with two solo shots and 11 RBI.
It’s hard to imagine, but this is a guy who traditionally hits .280 in the early going of any season.
The Brewers as a team are just playing exceptionally well overall, but it’s hard to imagine this trend continuing if we simply go by history alone.
I’m not necessarily saying Fielder is going to slow down, but you should take his start with a grain of salt for now.
How anyone is a lifetime .226 hitter in March/April with half of his games at Coors Field is way beyond my comprehension, but here we are.
Tulo jumped out of the gate, racking up four homers and knocking in nine, while his average hovered just around .250, which is technically a hot start for the boy. But don’t expect that to stick.
Players in the early portion of their career who have trends of being slow starters tend to always finish on track with said trend, and Tulo has already started to cool off at the time of this article with three hits in four days.
Always good to have some salt nearby.
Ramirez has begun the season saying he feels better than ever, and it sort of shows in his slightly inflated .289 BA for the month of April thus far, but don’t expect that to last.
In his career, Ramirez is a .258 hitter with little production across the board, and the Cubbies aren’t exactly setting the world on fire right now.
I expect Ramirez to come back down to earth before the month of May hits in a big way.
Talk about a hot start!
The White Sox faithful have got to be lovin’ this unexpected two-game performance from Edwin Jackson, as he currently is the owner of a 2-0 record and a very pretty 1.93 ERA.
In his career, Jackson has compiled a 6-8 record with a bloated 4.35 ERA in the months of April and March.
Jackson has always been an up-and-down type of pitcher who you have to take with a grain of salt all year, so don’t expect this trend to continue.
Is that a great pic or what?
Twelve runs scored, 15 hits and a .410 batting average is how Brandon Phillips has started off the 2011 MLB season, which is a nice surprise for fans who have dealt with his slow starts in April, particularly in the past two years.
In April 2010, Phillips hit just .236 with 21 hits and 12 runs scored.
In April 2009, he hit a paltry .188 with 13 hits and nine runs scored.
This trend may continue a little while longer, but expect Phillips to come back down to earth by the end of the month, as the Reds face stiffer competition on the road in St. Louis and Milwaukee before returning home to close out the month against the Marlins.