Jose Bautista (.207/.329/.443)
Many are worried that Bautista's sluggish start is a continuation of last year's second half, when his numbers slid to .257/.419/.477 after the All-Star Break. But he was bound to regress after that MVP worthy first half. He didn't have much lineup protection, either, and as the season wore on he didn't get many pitches to hit--his walk rate jumped and he paced the majors with 132 free passes. In all likelihood the pitchers have figured him out to some degree, but I think he's still an elite hitter. All of his batted ball data and plate discipline stats match those from last year, but a .178 BABiP is killing him. No, he's not going to bat .302 again, but with better luck he should wind up around the .260 mark he posted in 2010, his breakout campaign. Joey Bats has powered up as of late, too, with five home runs in his past seven games. I think he'll finish with typical Adam Dunn statistics, but with about half as many strikeouts.
Albert Pujols (.214/.248/.325)
|After 11 excellent seasons in St. Louis,|
Pujols has been frustrated in LA
Mark Teixeira (.228/.283/.386)
Wait, is Mark Teixeira off to another slow start? Color me surprised. Every year people start worrying when he struggles early on, and every year (eight in a row now) he ends up with more than 30 home runs and 100 RBI. For the record, his career OPS in April is a full 128 points below his next lowest mark which comes in--you guessed it--May. In fact, his OPS keeps increasing through August, so at least wait until summer before pressing the panic button. Sure, the days of hitting .300 are long gone, especially since he hits everything into the shift, which is compounded by the fact that he's been hitting too many grounders and not enough fly balls. But he's striking out less frequently, his line drive rate looks good and his 10.2 HR/FB rate is well below his career 18 percent mark, so expect a few more fly balls to start clearing the fences once the weather heats up. Before going 0-for-4 yesterday he'd been riding a six game hitting streak. He's been dealing with a bronchial infection, so cut him some slack. With that lineup and park, he's going to produce.
Eric Hosmer (.174/.237/.319)
|Hosmer's been victimized by bad luck|
Alexei Ramirez (.209/.229/.268)
Is he going to pull an Alex Rios this year? I don't think so. Much like Teixeira, Ramirez is a perennial slow starter, with an April OPS that's 160 points below his next worst month (September). He'll be fine. There are warning signs with career worsts in walk and strikeout rate, but his contact rates are excellent. All of his batted ball splits look fine except for his anemic 2.3 HR/FB rate, which explains why he has just one home run so far and is bound to go up, especially since the Cell is such a homer friendly venue. After a much needed day off earlier in the week to clear his head he's gone 5 for his last 17 (.294), so he may be poised for a hot streak.