Every season, there are players that get off to hot starts who seemingly fly under-the-radar. Even though this MLB season is slated to be 60 games, that is the case once again. Sometimes, it is because a player gets overshadowed by someone else at their position or another teammate. In other cases, it’s because a player might be on a non-contending team.
With that being said, here are five MLB position players off to a better start than you realize.
1. Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays)
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez is off to quite a start. Heading into play Saturday, Hernandez is currently tied with Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Colin Moran and Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez for the most home runs in baseball (four). In addition, over the span of seven games, Hernandez is batting .321/.355/.821 with nine hits, two doubles, six RBI, two walks, and nine strikeouts. Granted, it’s a small sample size but given that a lot of attention is always placed on Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (rightfully so), Hernandez deserves just as much praise.
2. Kyle Lewis (Seattle Mariners)
The Seattle Mariners might be in another rebuilding season, but Kyle Lewis is off to a hot start. Going into play Saturday, the 25-year old centerfielder currently leads all of baseball with 15 hits over eight games. Beyond that, Lewis is batting .455 with a 1.136 OPS and has a 225 Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) value behind his name. As the Mariners 10th overall prospect overall, the sky is basically the ceiling for Lewis. As he continues to age and gains more MLB playing experience, the power will come around. Lewis is a centralized piece of the Mariners future core and is just starting to show baseball who he truly is.
3. JaCoby Jones (Detroit Tigers)
Going into this season, the Detroit Tigers were expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball. While that is likely to happen, JaCoby Jones is off to quite a start so far this season. Prior to the start of play Saturday, Jones currently has the fifth-best batting average (.423) in the American League. In addition, over the span of eight games or 26 at bats, he has posted a .464 OBP along with a .885 slugging percentage. While Jones is typically a very good defender (23 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018), if he is able to continue producing at this level offensively, it will only benefit a young Detroit Tigers team.
4. David Fletcher (Los Angeles Angels)
Los Angeles Angels middle infielder David Fletcher has always been an intriguing player. Fletcher doesn’t always get a lot of attention nationally especially considering the other stars on the Angels (Hello, Mike Trout). However, Fletcher has been a key cog for the Angels offense so far and is currently playing shortstop for Andrelton Simmons who landed on the Injured List this past week. Going into play Saturday, Fletcher has 12 hits, which is the second-most in baseball, along with a .986 OPS. Also, Fletcher has a .462 Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP). Just a word of caution to the other AL and NL West teams!
5. Dansby Swanson (Atlanta Braves)
The Atlanta Braves have plenty of star-studded names around the diamond in Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Freddie Freeman. Although, Dansby Swanson has been the ignitor to their offense so far this season. Prior to the start of play Saturday, the Braves offense has the second most runs in all of baseball (46 over eight games). In that sample, Swanson is batting .387/.406/.677. Although he does have 12 strikeouts, he also is tied for the most RBI in all of baseball (11) with Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz. “Dans” might be his nickname, but don’t sleep on his ability to start a rally at any time.
In the end, the stats mentioned above might only be over a small sample size. However, sometimes players that get off to hot starts end up surprising in the end. Assuming this MLB season goes the entire 60 games, some of these players may very well end up being leaders in various offensive categories. Therefore, let’s give them praise now for their contributions to their respective team and let the baseball world know how talented they are.
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