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Early Season Surprises! Hot and Cold!!

Lloyd JohnsonContributor IApril 15, 2009

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Fans take photographs in monument park prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles on September 21, 2008 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the final game played at the 85 year old stadium.The Yankees will start play in 2009 at the new Yankee Stadium currently under construction. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It's the best, and the worst of times. Springtime, and the return of baseball. Green grass, blue skies, fresh air, and then it happens, my favorite player whiffs on a high and outside pitch.

The Yankees first game of the season, Hideki Matsui sends one high, and deep to right field. It is well back in the stands for a round-tripper, and my season is underway. Unfortunately, he hasn't had a hit since. Guess that is why they call it a game.

Back in the preseason fantasy drafts, I was all over this new kid, Alexei Ramirez, of the White Sox. He was my sleeper pick of this new season. I had labeled him as my upset special. I was surely right there, he has upset me every day thus far, hasn't hit his weight. He sure was a sleeper, he hasn't woken up yet.

Then there was Chris Davis, a power hitting first, or third baseman, for the Texas Rangers. I had him tabbed as a sure super star of the future. He started out the season somewhere in the 1-for 20 range. Power Hitter? He can't even buy a single, and has dragged my club down near the bottom of the standings in fantasy land.

This next guy, I grabbed among my top five in every preseason draft. A kid named Jacoby Ellsbury, of the Boston Red Sox. This guy can hit for average, some power, and he is flat out fast. Stole some 50-bases in his rookie campaign last year. The problem thus far is that he hasn't figured out how to steal first base. He is mired down around the .200 level, and is flat out killing my fantasy teams.

Geovany Soto was a lock as my top Catcher in all drafts. At this point, early in the season, he is well rested. Actually, he hasn't played a game in a couple of weeks. Seems he developed a sore shoulder, and that has given me a fantasy players headache for sure. Meanwhile, my other top tab catcher, Victor Martinez as been ripping the ball near the .345 level for the Indians.

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Pablo Sandoval started out well, but has quickly cooled off. Chris Carpenter threw a gem in his return, then five days later, he is pulled after three innings with rib problems. The guy you can always depend on, Ichiro, comes up with a bleeding ulcer, and goes on the disabled list. Chris Young seems to be repeating last years funk. You can surely see where my fantasy season is headed.

On the plus side, Carlos Beltran is playing above expectations, hitting somewhere around the .345 range. Joey Votto is providing plenty of spark for the Reds, and K-Rod is mowing them down as the Mets new Closer.

Roy Halladay was masterful in his latest start for the Blue Jays. Another sleeper tab, Yunel Escobar, of the Braves, is well over .300 at the plate, and Armando Galarraga of the Tigers had a great seasonal debut.

Jimmy Rollins has been well below his career averages to date. David Wright continues to impress with his great early season start. And what a great human being this kid seems to be. Josh Johnson seems to have passed every test and is upwards bound as the ace of the Marlins pitching staff.

Players like Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Brian Fuentes, and Fausto Carmona have added nothing but question marks thus far, while proven stars such as Bobby Abreu, Roy Oswalt, Ian Kinsler, and Brandon Phillips continue to pile up those valuable fantasy points.

We are still waiting for players like Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Nate McLouth, and B.J.Upton to find their stride.

Through it all, my No. 1 guy, my key to success, A-Rod, remains on the disabled list. But then that's baseball. What a wonderful game. And a wonderful time of the year for the fans.

Like Ernie Banks used to day, "Lets Play Two!"

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