Adrian Gonzalez's start to this season has been fantastic. He started of with 5 home Runs in 3 games setting a record, and although he has not hit a home run since he is still on a great hot streak. In the first eleven games he's gotten a hit every day and reached base at least twice in ten of these games. Using a new evaluating program I made in which a players stats are used to randomly run the outcomes of an inning 1,000,000 times I found that a lineup of just nine Adrian Gonzalez's would average about 18.2 runs per nine inning game.
What does this mean for his season? While it's clear that A-Gon won't continue this whole season on the course he's currently running. This incredible start is a great sign that the aging first baseman can still hit like he did in his prime, and he definitely has a shot at keeping the RBI crown he won last year with 116 (five above Mike Trout).
This season is the first year in a long time that Miguel Cabrera started the year not considered one of the favorites for the AL MVP, but after two weeks he has been playing just like he did when he won the honor two seasons in a row (2012 and 2013), and got the triple crown for the first time since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. He has reached base 25 times in his first 11 games giving him an OBP of .510. This performance focus's around the 4 game stretch from April 10-13 in which he was 13 for 18 with 2 home runs and a walk. His start has been less impressive than A-Gon's but with an average R/9 of 11.4 he is still of to the second best start in the majors.
Many reds fans were displeased with Joey Votto last season, who was criticized for taking a spending a long time on the DL, but I personally think that he is still one of the best players in baseball. The worry that he won't be worth the $192M he is owed from 2016-24 is valid, as he will be 40 by the 2024 season. However Joey Votto is a superstar with a career OBP of .418 by far the best of all active players, and 20th all-time. Votto also has an incredible ability to work the count which is a huge reason why I think he is still one of the most valuable players in baseball. Click here to see an entry I wrote on 12/1/2014 explaining why he will remain among the elite first basemen for numerous years to come. This season Votto has shown that like Miggy, and A-Gon he can still play like he used to. He has hit four home runs, and walked 10 times. But the most impressive part is that a lineup of just him would average 11.1 runs per nine innings, and the other team would have to throw 236 pitches to finish those nine innings.
What does this mean for this season? I along with every Reds fan, hope that this hot start shows a return to top form for the first baseman. He, like A-gon, and Cabrera will not keep performing like he is now, but I believe that Votto has the ability to take back the title of most valuable first baseman or perhaps even player in the national league.
Jake Lamb is off to a great start to his first full season in the majors. He has reached base in each of his first 10 games, and so far this year a lineup of just him would score an impressive 10.9 runs per nine innings.
What does this mean for this season? While impressive these ten games represent a small sample, while at the optimistic end it is possible that Lamb represents a sleeper candidate for NL Rookie of the Year, it is much more likely that he cools down and plays somewhere around replacement level baseball as the D-Backs third baseman.
DJ Lemahieu has been hitting very well for the first few weeks this year. He is usually about average offensively although he makes up for it with his stellar glove, which won him gold glove last year. He has gotten a hit in 10 of 11 games this season, and is batting .463. He is fifth best because he has produced 10.1 runs per nine innings so far.
What does this mean for this season? In his career Lemahieu has had an oWAR of 0.0, this means offensively he has not helped his teams at all, however he has had a dWAR of 4.7, if he can pick up his offense he could make himself an important piece of the rebuilding Rockies, and at 26 he has the prime of his career ahead of him. I'm not saying a breakout season is likely, but is a possibility and would help the Rockies lineup that already has great hitters such as Troy Tulowitzki, Corey Dickerson, Carlos Gonzalez, and Justin Morneau. It is also possible that he settles in the group with the Rockies other streaky player, including Charlie Blackmon (slashed .374/.418/.616 in the first month last season) and Nolan Arenado (had a 28 game hit streak last April to May last season).