Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Something unusual is happening. We're in the first week of the 2011 major league baseball season and Mark Teixeira is actually putting the bat on the ball - with authority.
The New York Yankees first baseman is the very definition of a "slow starter." In 2010 he batted an ugly .136 in April. The previous year he batted just .200 in April. For his career he is a .238 hitter in April before finding his swing in May (.293 average) and beyond.
But the first week in 2011 has seen an entirely new Teixeira. Through the Yankees first five games, "Tex' already has blasted four home runs. He didn't hit his fourth homer until May 8th last year. Teixeira is leading the league with 10 RBIs, hitting at a .333 clip and has an OPS of 1.455.
Teixeira isn't the only slow starter knocking the cover off the ball.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has a career OPS of .876 before the All- Star break and 1.017 after the mid-summer classic. He's hit just 22 HR in 119 April games, by far his lowest month's production of long balls. Through Philadelphia's first four games, Howard is batting .412 with an OPS of 1.036.
David Wright's career batting average for April is .285, the lowest of any month during the season. But Wright is off to a quick start, batting .412 with an OPS of 1.121.
Another third baseman, Ryan Zimmerman, has a career batting average of .277 before the break and .302 after it. His April average of .262 and OPS of .778 are ranked fifth out of six months. So far for the month of April, he's batting .364 with an OPS of 1.406.
Second baseman Howie Kendrick is another member of the slow start club. His first half batting average is .279 and OPS is .731 versus .314 and .791, respectively, after the All-Star game. Kendrick is off to a great start, batting .429 with an OPS of 1.500.
Sure it's only the first week, but if these guys are hitting well now, just how good will they be in the heat of the summer when they are traditionally at their best?
The thing is, if you try to trade for them now, their owners will likely ask for the moon and the stars. So the strategy here is to just watch and wait for a lull in their production. Then pounce. Make a fair offer and see what happens.
2011 Batters with an .800+ Slugging percentage (thru 04/07)
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