If you drafted your fantasy baseball team before Opening Day, had a bathtub fall on your head and didn’t wake up until today, you would arrive to a very different universe than you expected.
Just take a look at the names of players dominating the scene so far this year. They include Zack Grienke, Mark Reynolds, Torii Hunter, Chris Carpenter, Raul Ibanez and Edwin Jackson. I’m not kidding, Mr. coma patient.
The Top 10 hitters
(Through June 16 in traditional 5×5 Yahoo leagues)
1. Albert Pujols — No surprise here
2. Raul Ibanez — Surprise! One less RBI, one less homer and one more RBI than Pujols. Ninjas who kept up with our teachings knew he was one of our favorites.
3. Carl Crawford — Read some preseason reports predicting Crawford’s demise. Didn’t believe them. Still don’t. You shouldn’t either.
4. Torii Hunter — Another crazy name on this list. Yes, he’s an excellent outfielder, but the fourth best hitter in the game? He’s hitting .319 with 16 homers and 11 steals.
5. Justin Mourneau — That whole fixing the eyes thing worked out pretty well, huh? Gotta schedule my Lasik.
6. Jason Bay — Pegged as a Chinstrap Ninjas sleeper in the preseason, I still didn’t pursue him. You can’t argue against his ridiculous 63 RBIs and 17 homers.
7. Mark Reynolds — The biggest surprise on the list. I expected him to have a good season and picked him in a couple leagues, but there’s not a soul who thought he’d pull of what he’s doing this year. 42 runs, 17 homers, 45 RBIs, 13 steals and a .282 average. He could go 100-30-100-30 this year.
8. Ryan Braun — Nothing to see here, except that he’s the fifth outfielder on the list. That’s why you, if they fall to you, you take three outfielders before you waste a pick on Alexei Ramirez or Garrett Atkins because of position scarcity.
9. David Wright — He’s a thief — 18 steals — but not a bruiser — 4 homers — now?
10. Chase Utley — Remember how he wasn’t going to be ready at the beginning of the season? He had 7 homers, 20 RBIs and 25 hits in April, his best month of the season so far.
1. Zack Grienke — His psychological battles have been well-documented all over the Internet. 8Ws, 97 Ks, 0.99 WHIP.
2. Dan Haren — First-Half Haren is always impressive before baseball’s mid-summer All-Star Game break. Always pedestrian after it. Sell high in a week or two.
3. Jonathan Broxton — Should change the x in his last name to KKs — BroKKston. He’s got 53 strikeouts in just 33 innings. Bwah? Yep. Not surprisingly he’s not giving up any runs or allowing baserunners either. Oh, and he’s got 16 saves.
4. Roy Halladay — There is no pitcher more money than Roy Halladay. He’s already thrown more than 100 innings is halfway to 20 wins and has 88 Ks.
5. Jered Weaver — Whooda thought the best Angels pitcher would be the one who can’t even spell Jared.
6. Chris Carpenter — Back from the dead. And not one of those slow shuffling zombies either — 1.59 ERA, 0.73 WHIP. Too bad the Cardinals can’t give him any help.
7. Francisco Rodriguez — Yes, he was going to take a step back from his record-breaking 2008. Did you really think it was going to be awful? He’s got an 0.56 ERA and an 0.99 WHIP to go with 17 saves.
8. Heath Bell — Another surprising reliever on the list. He’s not a K machine, but 32 Ks in 27.1 innings is a nice bonus to go with a baseball’s-best 18 saves.
9. Edwin Jackson — Gah! What? This list can’t be right. Jackson’s line: 88 IP, 6 W, 65 Ks, 2.24 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.
10. Johnny Cueto — Another huge surprise, until you look at his stats: 2.17 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 62 Ks, 87 IP, 6 W and 10 QS.
So are all the surprises from steroid fallout, a changing of the guard or an early aberration? Let us know what you think in the comments, or go to our forums and start a conversation.