With a third of the 2011 MLB season in the books, there have been several surprise players who have emerged.
Both pitchers and hitters have surprised fantasy owners and given them great production for either later-round draft picks or waiver pickups.
However, it is important to know which players will be able to keep up this production and which ones will falter.
Here are nine early success stories you need to avoid acquiring.
Carlos Quentin has always been a home run hitter and has proven that this season with 14 dingers so far.
Though he hits a lot of home runs, Quentin doesn’t do much else. His 2011 average is 10 points higher than his career average, and he has never batted in runs at this clip before.
Also, Quentin has never played in more than 131 games in a season before.
All signs point to a drop-off for the remainder of the season for Quentin.
With ace Adam Wainwright lost for the season, Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse has helped fill the void.
Lohse is 7-2 with a 2.41 ERA in 2011, but don’t expect this success to continue.
In his career, Lohse only has one season with a sub-4.00 ERA.
Lohse can only go downhill from here.
Lance Berkman has found the fountain of youth in St. Louis this season.
He is putting up numbers similar to those of the mid-2000s, when he played with Houston. Berkman has 12 homers with a .329 average and 1.043 OPS.
Berkman’s age is a real concern though. At 35, he is more prone to nagging injuries. For instance, he missed Sunday’s game due to receiving a cortisone shot in his wrist.
He has been a good story this season, but Berkman’s production will start to decline.
Alexi Ogando has had a great season in 2011, going 6-0 with a 2.20 ERA and 0.88 WHIP.
Despite the great numbers, Ogando is not guaranteed a rotation spot.
Pitchers Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb are close to returning from the DL, and Ogando could lose his rotation spot to one of the two.
Though he could still remain in the rotation, take a wait-and-see approach if you are thinking about acquiring Ogando.
Since arriving in Kansas City in the offseason, Jeff Francoeur has helped the Royals offense greatly.
Francoeur is hitting .276 with nine homers and 35 RBI.
Despite the hot start, expect Francoeur to cool off. Over the past three years, Frenchy is hitting just .216 in the month of July.
Francoeur is at peak value and will only go down throughout the season.
After a fast start to the season, Justin Masterson has slowly come back down to earth.
Masterson is 5-4 with a 3.28 ERA, but he’s given up 10 earned runs over his past two starts.
He will still be a solid pitcher, but don’t expect Masterson to be the ace of your pitching staff.
After missing about a year’s worth of baseball, Carlos Beltran has come back strong in 2011, belting nine homers and knocking in 33 runs.
However, at age 34 and having recent injuries, it is no guarantee Beltran will make it through the season.
Beltran is currently day-to-day after injuring his leg Sunday night against the Braves.
Look elsewhere for offensive help.
After not pitching since 2009, Bartolo Colon has been a good starter for the Yankees in 2011.
Colon is 3-3 with 62 strikeouts and a 3.26 ERA.
Colon, however, hasn’t pitched this well since 2005, and at 38 years old, he could break down this summer.
He has been a great comeback story, but it is hard to imagine Colon lasting the whole season.
At age 37, Johnny Damon is still producing for the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting seven homers and stealing six bases.
Due to his age, though, it will be hard for Damon to keep this kind of production up for the whole season.
The steals could start to go away, as Damon’s legs could tire out. Also, with top prospect Desmond Jennings waiting in the wings, Damon’s playing time could get cut short due if Jennings were to get called up.
Damon has been a great player for many years, but he won’t be a viable fantasy option for much longer.