24 April 2006

Surprise, surprise!

As in any year, the young 2006 season is full of surprises. Some will prove to be births of careers, and some will sputter and die within a few weeks. And so, here are the early season surprises:


1. Chris Shelton (.388 9 18)

Didn't take much guessing to figure out who'd be picked here. After being hailed as a sleeper, started with a bang, becoming one of the quickest to 9 homers ever. He's slowed down the past few games, but there's certainly a lot to like here.

Prognosis- FOR REAL. Slows down a bit, but has a very good season, going .300, 32, 112

2. Ty Wigginton (.302, 8, 20)

Wiggy has always been a fan favorite for his immense hustle, but he's also been known to be immensely streaky. Still, grabbed the starting job in Tampa Bay and ran with it. Has decent power.

Prognosis- STOP AND GO. Wiggy is a personal favorite of mine, but is not a first-caliber third baseman. He'll perform well at stretches, but then fall flat for a long time. If he gets the at-bats, could produce decently, .271, 20, 73

3. Nick Swisher (.316, 7, 17)

He's arrived. The poster boy of Moneyball is here, and he's good.

Prognosis- FOR REAL. His batting average will fall, but that power is for real. Look for a .265, 32, 92 year.

4. Craig Wilson (.314, 6, 13)

Craig Wilson? He's already hit more home runs than he did all last year, and has done in almost 1/4 the at bats. Has power (29 homers in 2004) but has never produced at this rate.

Prognosis- STOP AND GO. Like Wiggy, a nice player but not a star. Look for a year slightly better than 2004, as Wilson goes .271, 23, 74.

5. Alexis Rios (.400, 5, 16)

As with Nick Swisher, this star has finally risen! It's taken him a bit longer than most blue-chip prospects, but Alexis Rios has been hammering the ball every which way.

Prognosis- FOR REAL. Add another nice 5 tooler to the board, as Rios joins the likes of Grady Sizemore and Coco Crisp. Finishes at .295, 22, 85, 15.

6. Jason Repko (.340, 2, 9)

Admission- the writer had to look the player up before writing this. Upon examination, it does indeed appear Repko has decent pop, and could be in for an okay year.

Prognosis- SPUTTERS. Having a nice streak, but won't hold onto this luck. Hits .250, 15, 58.

7. Xavier Nady (.344, 5 10)

Yet another former stud prospect is hitting well this season. Remember, alot of prospects simply take more time to pan out. In X's case, he never got the sufficient playing time in San Diego.

Prognosis- STOP AND GO. Is he a future all-star? Maybe, maybe not. Right now, he's showing that when on, he can perform with the best. But he's still streaky, and may take another year to reach his potential. Look for .275, 24, 82.

8. Jack Wilson (.328, 4, 10)

Wilson had a spectacular season in 2004, only to fall flat in 2005. He's capable of some nice things, but has certainly provided more power than expected.

Prognosis- ALMOST. Not THIS good. Also not as good as he looked in 2004. Still, not quite as bad as in 2005. Look for something in between- .275, 9, 55, 8.

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