Early Season Numbers

Early Season Numbers

As an owner, it is difficult to know is how much to read into the first week of the season.  The first week leaves many owners perplexed why their “great team” is struggling.  Conversely, other owners celebrate the first week unaware of their team’s eventual mediocrity.

Last season, Sports Weekly released the “Tuffy Awards,” which honors the player who opens the season with stellar numbers which will not continue.  The award is named after Tuffy Rhodes, who hit three home runs on opening day in 1994…only to hit 8 more the rest of his career (not counting Japan).  Other examples include…

  • 2009: Emilio Bonifacio being the game’s best player the first week of last season. 
  • 2006: Chris Shelton hiting 9 homers in the first 13 games. 
  • 2005: Clint Barmes batting .456 on April 17, 2005.   

There is no clear winner in 2010 because no mediocre player has been that dominating, but at the end of this season, here are some numbers that probably will not last …

  • Jason Frasor (Toronto) and Matt Capps (Washington) will not be among the league’s leaders in saves;
  • Jeff Franceur will not have one of the league’s 10 best On-Base Percentages; and
  • Alex Gonzalez will not continue his pace of 108 home runs. 

So how should ”Tuffy-purchasers” react to the first week of the season?  Some would reccomend immediately trying to trade the player to an inexperienced owner, but I believe the best strategy is to avoid serious roster moves during the first few weeks.  It is wrong to say early-season exploits are always misleading.  For example, people dismissed Fernando Tatis’ surprising April in 1999, but Tatis had an excellent season, hitting 34 home runs and 107 RBI’s.  Last year, Marco Scutaro’s start foreshadowed a surprisingly good season. 

If you purchased a “Tuffy Rhodes,” there is no definitive way of knowing whether a player’s hot start is foreshadowing a huge season.  You might have a bargain, so assuming you do not get an incredible offer, my advice would be to “stay put” and hope for the best.  On the other hand, always avoid trading for players this early in the season based upon an amazing start.