Just because a player has a slow start at the beginning of the season, doesn’t mean it will continue. The MLB year consists of 162 regular season games and the post-season. That is plenty of time to turn things around.But, players can also become a victim of a very hot start in April and then slump the rest of the season. One of the best examples was in 2006. Detroit Tigers first baseman Chris Shelton had a great April, hitting 10 home runs, 20 RBI and had a .326 average. Then in May he slumped hitting only .286 with just 1 homer. In June he hit just .205 and Shelton eventually finished the year with only 16 home runs, 47 RBI and a .273 average. That means Shelton hit only 6 home runs and 27 RBI in 5 months. I have out together a list of some of the hottest and coldest April’s.
Red = Hot Blue = Cold
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers. Off to a fantastic start, for Kemp and the Dodgers. Kemp has MLB lead in home runs with 12 and the Dodgers lead the NL with a 16-7 record after the first month. Kemp leads or is tied in just about every offensive category including: runs (23), hits (34), home runs (12), RBI (25) and average for players who have 25+ at bats with .417. Matt Kemp proved he could carry the Dodgers with last year’s performance, so I think Kemp will continue his hot bat and finish year batting over .300.
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees. Yes, the Nicklas Lidstrom of baseball. Proving that he can still play at this level even at 37. The Captain has had a great April. Jeter has 4 home runs so far in 2012, that is just 2 less than he had in all of 2011. Not only has Jeter hit for power, he has a .385 average and 37 hits which is tops in the American League. Jeter is playing like he is 25 offensively and defensively. Jeter only has 1 error and will continue to lead the Yankees. Derek probably will cool down but still have a good year.
Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers. You can always expect a strong year from Hamilton but he had a great April. Josh had 9 homers, 25 RBI and batted .395. That is a great average for a power hitter. Hamilton and the Rangers are currently have the best record in all of baseball going 16-5. The left-fielder has a massive .744 slugging percentage and leads the AL in total bases with 64. If all continues, Hamilton will definitely give Matt Kemp a run for his money for the MLB home run leader.
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox. Big Papi has lost weight and suddenly has become not only a power hitter but an average guy as well. Ortiz has hit .405 so far and has added 6 home runs and 20 RBI. Ortiz probably the best DH in the game today, has been hitting the ball well in April. David is tied for 2nd in the AL in doubles and has a slugging percentage in the .600 area. Boston struggled in the first few games going 4-10 at one point. But they have turned around and have ended April with a 11-11 record. Ortiz will need to step it up with Jacoby Ellsbury on the DL if Boston wants to win in a tough AL East.
Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers. Although most of the Dodger spotlight has been on Matt Kemp, the right fielder Ethier has put together an all-star April. He hit 5 bombs and 24 RBI. Ethier and Kemp are tied for lead in RBI’s and have been the two most dominant NL hitters and they are on the same team. Ethier has an so-so average at .276. Andre has 12 extra base hits and 1 triple. With The whole Dodger squad playing like Ethier and Kemp, Los Angeles will have a deep playoff run in the National League.
Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels. Pujols was the biggest free agent in the off-season of 2011. But so far he isn’t showing it. Pujols has no home runs so far in the month of April. Yes, the monster who hit 42 homers in 2010 and 37 in 2011 can’t even muster up a home run. Pujols has a terrible average at .217 and has only 4 RBI. Pujols is on pace for 0 home runs and 29 RBI’s. Pujols is making an adjustment to the American League but Albert has not managed what was expected when the Angels signed him for 10 years at $240 million. Pujols must perform with his new team or this organization will be in for a long 10 years.
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays. The two-time MLB home run champ in 2010 and 2011 has been struggling as of late. Bautista has only 3 home runs and 10 RBI. This was the year Toronto was supposed to make the playoffs, but with Bautista hitting only .181 in April, you have to figure the organization is worried. Jose had 43 home runs last year and was hitting for power and average but in 2012 he only has 15 hits, 12 runs and grounded into a double play 3 times. The Jays need more than Edwin Encarnacion to hit home runs if they want a playoff berth. Bautista needs to focus on what he does best. Hit home runs.
Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels. The ace pitcher of the Angeles for the past few years has not been winning games. The Angels may not rely as much on Ervin due to them signing star pitcher C.J. Wilson but for Santana going 0-5 in April is terrible. L.A. made a big splash on the Free Agent market in 2011 but these big signings have not shown in the standings. the Angels are 7-15 in April and Ervin Santana is not helping. He has a 5.58 ERA and has given up 10 home runs and 35 hits. Santana has been awful and the Angels really need him to turn it around if they want to end 2012 with a record over .500.
J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles. After smashing 30 homers in 2011, Hardy had high expectations going into 2012. One of the best offensive shortstops in the game, Hardy had the offensively struggling Orioles on his back. But instead of J.J., Adam Jones has stepped up in his place. Hardy has 3 home runs but is only batting .184. Hardy has just 16 hits and is playing bad in April. If the Orioles want to make the playoffs, they will need J.J. to play like he did in 2011 and get more than 6 RBI in a month, like he is doing now.
Josh Hamilton J.J. Hardy