At roughly the quarter point of the fantasy baseball season, it’s a good time to start looking at statistics and deciding which players who are having surprisingly great seasons will continue their impressive paces. A thorough inquiry can be invaluable in trades because it will enable you to effectively sell high and buy low.
Certain players having great seasons lend themselves to projections of their final season numbers based on their current production. These players were usually once well- regarded prospects and currently own track records of consistency and above average production at the major league level. Other players’ current positive statistics are not so easy to rely on as indicators of future production. This is especially true when talking about players who are having great seasons yet lack former top prospect status and lack track records of consistency and elite production.
The following list includes 10 players who are having great “surprise” seasons and my opinions as to whether or not their current production can be used in projecting their final season numbers:
1. Ryan Church- Church’s current line: .307 BA, .379 OBP, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 34 R, 1 SB projects to an end of season line of: .307 BA, .379 OBP, 36 HR, 128 RBI, 136 R, 4 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? Yes. Church has never proven that he cannot be a big time starting outfielder. He was never given a shot in Washington until last season and responded with a relatively successful campaign. The young 29 year old has thrived in New York and seems to appreciate playing with the confidence that he will be in the starting lineup every day. He has looked extremely comfortable playing right field for the Mets and has been their best offensive (and defensive) player to date.
2. Carlos Quentin- Quentin’s current line: .301 BA, .415 OBP, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 29 R, 4 SB projects to an end of season line of: .301 BA, .415 OBP, 44 HR, 148 RBI, 116 R, 16 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? No. Quentin has never shown the sort of power in the minor leagues that he’s currently flashing. It is also hard to imagine that he would be able to collect 148 RBI while hitting in an ordinary White Sox lineup. Enjoy the tremendous value that drafting Quentin has provided you. Just don’t expect his contributions in the power categories to continue.
3. Nate McLouth- McClouth’s current line: .306 BA, .392 OBP, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 37 R, 4 SB projects to an end of season line of: .306 BA, .392 OBP, 48 HR, 144 RBI, 148 R, 16 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? No. It’s hard to imagine a player who competed for a starting position in spring training with Nyjer Morgan going on to finish that season with MVP caliber numbers. Furthermore, McLouth was never a highly regarded prospect and has never produced at an elite level in the minors. Expect a significant regression in all categories outside of steals.
4. Josh Hamilton- Hamilton’s current line: .318 BA, .370 OBP, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 27 R, 0 SB projects to an end of season line of: .318 BA, .370 OBP, 40 HR, 196 RBI, 108 R, 0 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? Yes. Hamilton has followed up his feel good campaign from 07’ with an MVP like start to this season. There is reason to believe that he can continue his pace as he possesses elite ability which is evidenced by his status as a former number one draft pick. Hamilton should continue getting plenty of opportunities to drive in runs, hitting behind Ian Kinsler and Michael Young. I would not expect him to continue his historic RBI pace, but his end of season projections in all other categories are within reach.
5. Dan Uggla- Uggla’s current line: .316 BA, .396 OBP, 13 HR, 31 RBI, 33 R, 1 SB projects to an end of season line of: .316 BA, .396 OBP, 52 HR, 124 RBI, 132 R, 4 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? No. Uggla’s ceiling is somewhat unknown considering his limited major league track record and relative youth. It is possible that Uggla is “breaking out” in his third year. Even if this is his “breakout” season, it is hard to imagine him continuing his pace while hitting in a below average Marlin lineup and receiving protection in the form of Jorge Cantu.
6. Kevin Youkilis- Youkilis’ current line: .329 BA, .398 OBP, 9 HR, 33 RBI, 30 R, 2 SB projects to an end of season line of: .329 BA, .398 OBP, 36 HR, 132 RBI, 120 R, 8 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? No. While Youkilis could very well be having a career/”breakout” year in his third full season, it is hard to imagine that a career doubles hitter could finish this season anywhere close to his projected finish of 36 HR and 132 RBI. It is further doubtful that a career .284 hitter suddenly becomes a .329 hitter in his fourth major league season.
7. Ryan Ludwick- Ludwick’s current line: .336 BA, .413 OBP, 11 HR, 29 RBI, 26 R, 1 SB projects to an end of season line of: .336 BA, .413 OBP, 44 HR, 116 RBI, 104 R, 4 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? No. It is inconceivable that an unheralded, 29 year old could have an MVP type season in his first full season in the big leagues. Ryan Braun is one thing. Ryan Ludwick is quite another.
8. Ian Kinsler- Kinsler’s current line: .302 BA, .366 OBP, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 35 R, 13 SB projects to an end of season line of: .302 BA, .366 OBP, 12 HR, 80 RBI, 140 R, 52 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? Yes. Kinsler is only 26 and is a former well-regarded prospect who could easily be having a “breakout” type year in his third full season. While it would be wise to expect a slight regression in the speed categories, his minor and major league statistics from prior seasons suggest that his current numbers are no fluke.
9. Conor Jackson- Jackson’s current line: .310 BA, .396 OBP, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 27 R, 3 SB projects to an end of season line of: .310 BA, .396 OBP, 20 HR, 128 RBI, 108 R, 12 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? Yes. Jackson was once a well-regarded prospect and it’s possible that it took him four seasons to become an All Star caliber run producer. Aside from steals, Jackson’s numbers from his two prior seasons suggest that his current numbers can be taken seriously. It also helps Jackson’s prospects for continued success that he has Chris Young, Stephen Drew and Justin Upton hitting in front of him.
10. Xavier Nady- Nady’s current line: .323 BA, .392 OBP, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 24 R, 1 SB projects to an end of season line of: .323 BA, .392 OBP, 20 HR, 140 RBI, 96 R, 4 SB.
Will He Keep It Up? No. Nady’s career numbers and merely average ability suggest that his current pace cannot continue. It certainly would be hard to imagine a 29 year old outfielder with ordinary skills blowing away his career norms in his fourth major league season while hitting in a below average Pirates’ lineup.