One of the most important rules in fantasy baseball is this: do not overreact to a player’s performance at the beginning of the season. Despite this rule, these early season statistics still count and should be noted, just not overreacted to. Here is my take on five hot starters that may or may not break out this season.
Mark Trumbo has had a fantastic start to the 2014 season. The 28-year-old outfielder is hitting .314 and is leading the league with five home runs and 13 RBI. This isn’t a huge surprise. Over the last three seasons, Trumbo has hit 95 home runs. Of course, there’s no way that he keeps up this ridiculously good pace. I believe that Trumbo will have a great year, but it is important to know that three of his five home runs were hit at Coors Field. Throughout his career, Trumbo has been a much better hitter in the first two months of the season than the rest. His career average in April and May is .290, but declines to .239 in June and July and further regresses to just .219 in August, September, and October. Owners of Trumbo may want to try to sell him high.
Charlie Blackmon has kicked off his 2014 campaign in impressive fashion, batting .464 through eight games. This isn’t totally shocking since Blackmon hit .309 in 82 games last season. Blackmon should see consistent playing time in Colorado this season due to the departure of Dexter Fowler. Currently, Blackmon is owned in only 51.7% of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues. A team struggling with batting average could definitely benefit by the addition of Blackmon. I see Blackmon ending the season hitting around .310 with double digit steals.
Currently tied for the Major League lead for batting average, Emilio Bonifacio has been great for the Chicago Cubs. The second baseman has begun the season with a .500 average and four stolen bases. Bonifacio has only had one season in which he hit over .261 – 2011 with the Florida Marlins. A career .266 hitter, Bonifacio’s average will probably hover around the .260 mark; however, he does have a potentially high upside. If he sees consistent playing time, he should get about 30 steals, maybe even more if he can keep his average up.
Brandon Belt took a tremendous leap forward from 2012 to 2013 and all signs point to him having done it again. With four early home runs, Belt has shown that he has 25+ home run power. Not only has Belt shown he can hit for power, but he hits for average as well. His averaged jumped 14 points from 2012 to 2013, and he has been red hot, posting a .323 average early in the season. Early evidence points to a strong fantasy season from Belt, who could ideally end up hitting over .300 with 25 home runs. In OBP leagues, he could be even more valuable – Belt had a .360 OBP in both 2012 and 2013. Belt is my early favorite for breakout player of the year.
Chris Colabello didn’t make a major league roster until he was 29 years old, and even then, he didn’t impress. In 55 games last season, Colabello hit below the Mendoza Line – .194 to be exact. However, Colabello has started this season on fire. He’s hitting .370 and already has 11 RBI.
I don’t expect Colabello to do much this season. If he does hit over .260, it’d be a pleasant surprise. He’s not worth owning in most leagues, but in deeper leagues he could be valuable if his hot streak continues. He is only owned in 13.8% of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues and could be a decent addition to improve a team’s average and RBI for the time being.