Always hard to make any snap judgments only a few days into the season, but there are always those looking to make moves or adjust lineups based on what has happened. Honestly, while the most important work you can do on your roster takes place in the early stages of the year, acting too quickly can be costly. Based on the HVaC system, here are the top performers of the first week and some notes on if we should expect that trend to continue.
Check out the top-25 as of April 10th:
Certainly there are some lower batting averages on here than one might expect. Fact is, average is given a very small weight in the grand scheme because its risk can be spread over so many on a team. The downside is minimized even over a given week because of the full lineup that gets played. Seeing numbers in steals or in the home run column is far more important than an average. Production can come in other places even if it is only over a few hits.
The reality is that there was a fair amount of good pitching this week and that kept numbers in check early. Still, you see plenty of the Tigers littering the top performers given the numbers put up against Boston. Miguel Cabrera came in as the top-ranked player and proved why over the first week of the season.
Seeing Adam LaRoche show up on this list is interesting for a few reasons. First, LaRoche has started off most seasons very slowly. He tends to be a second-half player that does not come out of the gate strong. Second, LaRoche is coming off a season where he hit .143 in just 43 games for Washington last year. There is no doubt that he can hit and he showed that in the past. The question is whether he can continue the trend and keep enough at-bats with Michael Morse potentially stealing some of his time at First Base when Morse returns.
Emilio Bonifacio was a sneaky pick in the Shortstop section (though he is playing Outfield) in the pre-season marks and he is showing why. Bonifacio brings tremendous value in terms of steals and average along with position flexibility. Where power is not as plentiful or important deep in the hole, Bonifacioâ€™s ability to score runs, hit for average, and steal bases makes him a potential key add early in the season. While not a .400 hitter, an average in the high .280s is achievable.
The World Series hangover has not impacted David Freese as he has been off to a torrid start. This happened last year as well when he hit .375 in April. The concern owners should have is sustainability and it goes hand-in-hand with his health. The Cardinals infielder has had his share of problems staying on the field. When he does, hitting is not a problem and this could be an indication of things to come. With a position this thin, a gamble on Freese given these stats and his April numbers last year could payoff.
The other name to note here is Omar Infante. Beware the early indicators! Infante has not had double-digit home run numbers since 2004. He was a regular player for the most part in each of the last two years and hit a combine 17 home runs. If you watched the early games in Miami, you can see that the park could play pretty big at night. While this was a nice burst out of the gate, Infante will be in a tough spot to put up numbers like this all year.