By David Kerr
We are just over a week into the 2013 season and there has been plenty of craziness already. Yu Darvish almost threw a perfect game, Justin Upton, Chris Davis, and Michael Morse have been killing the ball, and Roy Halladay’s spring training struggles have carried over into the regular season. Over the next two days, I want to take a look at six guys and their performances to date, followed by a recommendation for the rest of the season. First the guys that have started hot.
Justin Upton has been the hottest hitter from a power standpoint in the National League since the start of the season. He already has six home runs and if this type of production keeps up, he could easily finish April with ten or more. Upton is a guy that everyone has always been waiting on to break out. I believe that truly happens this year. He’s going to drive in the most runs of his career and will finish with his highest average to date. Who knows how many home runs he will hit, but 40 isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Recommendation: HOLD or BUY. This will be Upton’s career year to date. You will want to be along for this ride. His value is high right now, but if he cools down for a short period, pounce and don’t look back.
Chris Davis played out of his mind over the first four games of the season, hitting four homers and driving in 16 runs. That will easily be his best week of the season. Davis is a streaky hitter that strikes out a ton. He’s prone to slumps and will definitely go through his fair share this season. With that said, he should have no problem hitting 30 home runs again. He has one of the best power bats in the game. If I owned him and could turn him into an injured Freddie Freeman, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Carrying over from his strong spring, Clay Buchholz has looked sharp in his first two starts of the season. He sports a 0.64 ERA to go along with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Can he sustain? I’m skeptical. Since his breakout of 2010, he’s been often injured or under-performing. To date his batting average against is .184. That is 66 points lower than his career BAA number of .250. There is no way that will continue. Buchholz has also stranded every runner he’s allowed on base this year. His only run allowed was from a home run. Once these numbers even out, everything will be going up, except of course, the strikeouts. I’d look to move him.
Recommendation: SELL. If you could trade Buchholz for a starter such as Brandon Morrow, Ian Kennedy, or Doug Fister, I’d pull the trigger immediately. He may have his best season since 2010, but I’d rather invest in a starting pitcher that I know will put up good numbers.
I’ll be back tomorrow with three players that have started ice cold and my recommendations for them for the rest of the year.
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