Getting off to a fast start is always crucial when it comes to success in fantasy baseball. You want to see that your investments are heading in the right direction and that your team is actually going to do what you’ve envisioned them doing all spring training long. Those winning streaks are always nice in the early going, especially after all that pre-season trash talk. Here’s a look at 10 players that have fantasy baseball owners very happy thus far. With some big names and some fantasy baseball sleepers, there are some serious surprises in the early going.
1B, Miguel Cabrera/Detroit Tigers: Other than a few hitless games during the first week of regular season play in 2008, has the guy ever had a rough start? Miguel Cabrera is a perennial fast starter and fantasy owners love that. Consistency is what you crave in the world of fantasy sports and Miguel Cabrera is the model of it! To start the 2011 campaign, Miggy is batting at a .349 clip with 4 home runs and 10 RBI. Nothing out of the ordinary here, if you own him, just keep on waiting and watching for more scoreboard tilting stats!
OF, Matt Kemp/L.A. Dodgers: You’ve got to love that almighty mix of speed and power in any sport! Although he’s only got one home run to speak of in 2011, the power numbers will come, just wait until it starts getting warm outside and the ball really starts flying through that nice Los Angeles air. Through only 12 games, Matt Kemp is hitting .425 with 7 stolen bases. He won’t maintain the .400 average all season long, but it’s still a good indication of the type of hitting season he might be headed towards. Having a good average always nulls the pain of not getting home runs, so don’t worry, to all my Kemp owners, he’ll spoil you and your category log soon enough!
SP, Dan Haren/L.A.A Angels: You want to talk about hot starts? Dan Haren is being so greedy with his ERA right now that batters are eating twice before stepping out onto the field for pre-game warm ups! So far, Dan Haren flashes an impressive 3-0 record, with 21 K’s through 24 innings, a 0.73 ERA and a 10.50 K/BB ratio. Where was all this when I had him last year? I don’t remember any of this! Oh well, now some other owner this year gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor!
SP, Jared Weaver/L.A.A Angels: Wow, Angel fans have got to be delighted right now being treated to pitching this good. Through 20 and two-thirds innings, Weaver’s strikeout total rests at 27 with a strong 3-0 record to go along with a 0.87 ERA and WHIP. Who needs run support when you’re this stubborn with you number lines? Weaver owners are happy right now at their ROI (return on investment).
1B, Paul Konerko/Chicago Whitesox: Way back, he looks up, you caaaaannnn put it on the booooaaaarrrrdddddd, yyyyyeeesss, yyyyyeeessss! A two-run bomb—mercy! Folks, that radio call by Ken Hawk Harrelson doesn’t get any better than that. As a Paul Konerko owner for the past three years I’ve been spoiled with his consistency and timely hitting. He’s off to another gorgeous start this year hitting .362 with 3 home runs, 12 RBI and 8 runs. Barring a significant injury, expect him to continue being a major contributor to your 2011 fantasy baseball campaign.
1B, Ryan Howard/Philadelphia Phillies: With Jayson Werth gone and Chase Utley out of the lineup, Ryan Howard is expected to hold down the bulk of the offense this year for the Phillies. He has responded well to the challenge in 2011 so far with 9 runs, 3 homers, 13 RBI and a solid .333 average through only 11 games. With Werth and Utley out of the lineup it will be interesting to see how his season continues to go.
SP, Matt Harrison/Texas Rangers: Through 14 innings Harrison has been strong this year as a starter. He is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 0.71 WHIP—shutting down the new and improved Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox. He’s never been much of a strikeout pitcher as his K’s have never been more than his innings, but who needs them when you’ve got the Ranger offense behind you! After 2 games so far it just seems to be working out for Harrison as 2008 and 2009 were a much different story. He was switched to bullpen duty in 2010, but for some reason this year in 2011, things look promising. We all know that sometimes in baseball, at some point, players just seem to get it. We’ll see if he can keep it up.
SP, Ricky Romero/Toronto Blue Jays: If the Blue Jays hope to contend in the toughened A.L. East, they’re going to need Ricky Romero to continue pitching the way he is–his K’s nearly matching his innings (20 K’s and 21.2 innings) with a 1.66 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and a solid 5.00 K/BB ratio. Owning him towards the latter part of last season (2010), I became quite frustrated with his earned run totals given the expectations I had for him when I traded to get him. Now it looks like owners who drafted him this year are feeling good about their pick—so far.
Util, Willie Bloomquist/Arizona Diamondbacks: Filling in for the injured Stephen Drew to start the season, Willie Bloomquist became a hot free agent commodity in the fantasy world by boasting an early season 9 game hitting streak coming into Wednesdays’, April 13th games. In 2011, Bloomquist is batting .349 with 9 runs, 1 home run, 5 RBI and 6 stolen bases. It’s hard to tell if he’ll get the at bats this season to warrant a roster spot, but at the same time it is hard for a manager to take a hot bat out the lineup. So for now, I would say he’s at least worth a roster spot, even with Stephen Drew back and frying as usual—monitor the situation though.
OF, Nelson Cruz/Texas Rangers: It’s hard to keep a guy who’s leading the majors in home runs (five) off of this list, especially considering how he got to those five home runs by hitting four of them in the first four games of the season (one in each of the four games). Cruz has also driven in 12 runs and scored 9 times. So far he’s hitting right at .300, but I would expect that number to dip a little bit considering he is a .273 career hitter. Nonetheless, he’s off to a great start and owners are happy with their investment.