We are nearing the quarter pole of the MLB season, and while there is still plenty of baseball to be played, there are some players putting up gaudy numbers … historically gaudy numbers. Sure, you’re aware of the Rockies offensive assault and the first season-plus of phenom Jose Fernandez’s very promising career, but so is everyone else. Those amazing runs are not any less impressive because of the extended attention, but it does make them awfully difficult to acquire in Fantasy baseball, as they are the lead story on every source of media known to mankind.
In fact, I touched on a few similar situations in last week’s Sell-High Stat Rant, players whose current value exceeds their future production. That’s not to say the following players are going to continue their red-hot starts (two of them were mentioned in my sell-high piece), but they are much more under the radar. You may realize that these players are off to a nice start, but do you realize the historical significance? We are in a numbers world, so let’s take the names out of it for a moment and appreciate the elite stat lines. Take a look at these players, one at every position, that are on track to challenge some of the all-time great Fantasy seasons and try to guess who is being discussed (answers at the bottom of the article).
Best of luck! Tweet me @unSOPable23 how many you accurately predicted and I’ll retweet the results of how my followers did on this brain teaser.
Player A through 150 at-bats this season:
.347 batting average, 27 runs, 7 homers, 20 extra base hits, 23 RBI, and 3 stolen bases
Alex Rodriguez’s first 150 at-bats in his 2007 season, generally listed among the Top 25 Fantasy seasons of all time, averaged in with the first 150 at-bats of his 1997 season, his fourth professional season, the same season that Player A is currently playing, the result is:
.313 batting average, 32.5 runs, 10 homers, 20.5 extra base hits, 30 RBI, and 4 stolen bases
Player B through 130 at-bats this season:
On-base 56 times, 32 runs, 8 homers, 14 RBI, and 11 steals
Alfonso Soriano’s 2002 season, ranked as a top three season by a second baseman of all-time, through 130 at-bats:
On-base 49 times, 22 runs, 6 homers, 18 RBI, and 6 stolen bases
Alfonso Soriano’s 40/40 campaign of 2006, through 130 at-bats:
On-base 47 times, 17 runs, 9 homers, 19 RBI, and 5 stolen bases
Player C’s pace for 686 at-bats:
.327 batting average, 104 runs, 22 homers, 116 RBI, and 30 steals
Alex Rodriguez’s 686 at-bat 1998 season, the best Fantasy season from a shortstop … ever:
.310 batting average, 123 runs, 42 homers, 124 RBI, and 46 steals
Player D, who is currently 23 years old, pace for 524 at-bats:
.283 batting average, 76 runs, 16 homers, and 79 RBI
Chipper Jones’, future hall-of-famer and owner of four of the top 24 Fantasy seasons by a third basemen, 524 at-bat 1995 season. He turned 23 before June 1st in that season, just like Player D.
.265 batting average, 87 runs, 23 homers, and 86 RBI
Player E through 35 games this season:
.286 batting average, 20 runs, 7 homers, 30 RBI, and 4 stolen bases
Mike Trout’s first 35 games of 2012, one of the best ever by a 20-year-old:
.331 batting average, 24 runs, 5 homers, 22 RBI, and 9 stolen bases
Player F through seven starts this season:
6 wins, 1.91 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 2.42 strikeouts per walk
Justin Verlander’s Cy Young 2011, ranked as the third best season this millennium, through seven starts:
2 wins, 3.75 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 2.76 strikeouts per walk
Phil Hughes has won three consecutive starts, pitching more than six innings and not walking a single batter in all three outings. How rare is that? The Cy Young Award honors the best pitcher in each league, and we haven’t had a Cy Young winner since Roy Halladay in 2003, to rattle off a three game stretch like that in the season in which he was tabbed the best pitcher in the league. In total, 17 starters have been awarded the Cy Young since 2003, and they have combined for just three such streaks in their 5,120 career starts.
Michael Wacha has made 28 appearances in his major league career, and while his strikeout numbers have been impressive his ability to pitch to contact has a strong correlation to team success. In outings in which he records more fly ball outs than punch outs, the Cardinals have won eight of 16 games. In the 12 games in which he records at least as many K’s as fly ball outs, St. Louis has just four wins.
Through two May starts, Garrett Richards has as many starts this month in which he surrendered more hits than walks than he did in all of April. The Angels won both May games and lost both April games.
Craig Kimbrel is “struggling” a bit, but there is no real need to worry. He faced the minimum number of batters in 47.6 percent of appearances through May last season. He’s faced the minimum in 46.7 percent of his appearances thus far this season. He’s still an elite closer and should be treated as gold in a season where seemingly no closer can hold onto his role.
Miguel Cabrera has rebounded from a slow start and ranks third in RBI. But did you know that Giancarlo Stanton has knocked in more runs for the one dimensional Marlins than the former Triple Crown winner has hits for the loaded Tigers this year?
Using batting average to settle a tie, who currently leads the league in hits? You get big time respect from me if you got this one correct … Melky Cabrera.
Since being dealt to New York, Eric Young Jr. has seven multi-hit games at home … he’s had six multi-steal home games in his Mets career.
Shin-Soo Choo had gone 741 games without striking out more than five times in two consecutive games entering this season. He recorded two such stretches in 23 games from April 12-May 11.
Player A: Paul Goldschmidt
Player B: Brian Dozier
Player C: Alexei Ramirez
Player D: Anthony Rendon
Player E: Michael Brantley
Player F: Mark Buehrle