Some might argue that the month of April already has it's owner, but, in all fairness to "Raypril," some individual hitters had themselves quite the opening month in 2010. I won't even mention the youngster Austin Jackson, who is leading all of the major leagues in hitting, because of some extreme mitigating circumstances in that particular case.1 Rather, we're here to consider Paul Konerko and Andre Ethier, both of whom are off to rousing starts in 2010, and what their early season performance reminds us about when it comes to the nature of the baseball season. Let's consider their numbers to date.
Konerko: .296 BA, 12HR, 24 RBI, .709 SLG, 215 OPS+
Ethier: .365BA, 9HR, 26RBI, .729 SLG, 207 OPS+
It is worth nothing that many of these stats lead their respective leagues. For example, both men lead their home leagues in HR, SLG and OPS. Ethier, who Tommy Lasorda refers to as his "adopted Mexican Grandson"2 also leads the NL in BA and RBI. As WoWies, we should all be extremely happy that the King Of The Walkoff Walks is enjoying some hearty early season success.3 The numbers above don't lie, both dudes are off to a monstrous start, but in reality, it's still just a little over a month of data.
Obviously some regression to the mean should be expected, and the ZiPS projection system, which attempts to predict performance come the end of the season, has both guys coming back to earth. Shocking! You mean to tell me that Paul Konerko won't hit 11 homers a month to finish with over 70 come the end of the year? Get out of here!
In truth, the numbers to start off the season in April and early May are only that... a start. These two players are a prime example of that. While Ethier may end up cracking the Top 5 on an MVP ballot this season, and Konerko might return to his supremely productive self from the early 2000s, there's still far too much time left in the season to be throwing around weighty and senseless statements about teams/players before we've even been given the chance to see substantive performances from a lot of folks.4 While things may look bad in Boston and great in San Diego, in the long run, we all know all too well how come September there are still meaningful games to be played for a lot of these teams, and that division leaders in April are by no means a fixture. Just ask the Mets!
So do your best to ignore the Doomsday talk on Twitter and the rest of the Internet. You can save the hand-wringing for July.
1He is hitting .521 (!) on balls in play. This number also leads the league. STILL MISS U AJAX, FORTHCOMING REGRESSION AND ALL!
3I'm doubly happy because I own both hitters in the Walkoff Walk Fantasy Baseball League. And I'm in first place.*
4 However, you are allowed, nay encouraged, to say that David Ortiz is finished and that Javier Vazquez is the worst pitcher ever.
*Yo dawg I heard you liked footnotes so we just put a footnote in your footnote so you can annotate while you annotate: I know nobody cares about anybody's fantasy teams. Sorry!