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.