Closing the book on May

Josh Willingham leads the league in walks and OBP.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As the 2010 calendar flips over to June there have already been some pretty big surprises through the first two months. Just looking at the top-10 hitters based on OPS reveals some interesting results. Three players, rookie Jason Heyward, journeyman Jose Bautista and veteran Josh Willingham are playing well above expectations. Whether they can continue this pace and stay with the "big boys" is a question every fantasy owner is asking themselves.

The other seven players in the top-10 were all expected to play well in 2010 and were selected in the first four rounds in last April's drafts. Still one must be impressed with how Justin Morneau has bounced back from a 2009 season- ending stress fracture in his back and how Robinson Cano, a second-half hitter if there ever was one (career OPS .785 pre-All Star break, .892 post-All Star break), has produced in the season's first eight weeks.

Meanwhile, we evaluate the three biggest batting surprises of April and May.

Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta - Everyone knew and said he was going to be a star, but this quickly? The rookie homered on Opening Day and despite a low batting average for April is now hitting a very respectable .292 with 10 homers and 38 RBI as we head into June. In May he hit .337 with an OPS of 1.081. He's well ahead of "schedule" and those who drafted him high, particularly in keeper leagues, must be smiling.

Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, Toronto - In just 53 games, he's already tied his career single-season high for home runs (2006). He's basically done it in just one month - May, when he hit .287 with 12 HR and 25 RBI. If you have him in your lineup, enjoy the "ride" because it simply can't last much longer for this career OPS .752 hitter.

Josh Willingham, OF, Washington - Willingham is hitting about 100 points above his career OPS numbers, but unlike Bautista, at least he's had a few solid seasons - three times he's hit at least 20 HR-or-more. He's being very patient at the plate (leads the league in walks and OBP) so he might be able to keep this pace up all season.

2010 Top OPS Performers through May 31st
Player Team AB R H HR RBI SB AVE OPS ADP
Justin Morneau MIN 175 35 66 11 36 0 0.377 1.173 41
Miguel Cabrera DET 186 33 64 14 48 2 0.344 1.075 11
Robinson Cano NYY 201 37 73 11 40 2 0.363 1.022 29
Kevin Youkilis BOS 171 45 51 10 29 1 0.298 1.018 32
Albert Pujols STL 190 31 60 12 39 3 0.316 1.004 1
Ryan Zimmerman WAS 156 29 48 11 31 1 0.308 0.988 27
Jason Heyward ATL 161 29 47 10 38 3 0.292 0.988 141
Jose Bautista TOR 183 37 46 16 41 3 0.251 0.972 327
Josh Willingham WAS 156 30 44 10 35 4 0.282 0.970 227
Evan Longoria TB 198 35 64 10 42 10 0.323 0.969 9


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.