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The Best Unknown Players: 1st Week Flashes

At this point in the season, flashes-in-the-pan from the first week have been written off as flukes.  One need only recall the praise Marlins' 3B Emilio Bonifacio was receiving then and what is being said now.  This week let's look at some players whose season-to-date efforts may been overlooked thanks to the rebound effect of having a great start.

CF Jordan Schafer, Atltanta Braves:  Schafer hit a HR in the first game of the season.  It was a no doubt about it shot to CF.  Right now he has two HRs.  What makes Schafer's season notable is he has drawn twelve walks so far.  Despite 19 Ks, a .397 OBP will keep Schafer in CF.

SP Erik Bedard, Seattle Mariners:  A shoulder injury that cut short Bedard's 2008 season was discovered to be a cyst that some say should have been played through.  As a result, Bedard carried the mantra of "soft" all off-season.  When he pitched a gem in his first start, the criticism intesified.  Four starts into the 2009 season, Bedard has walked just three batters while striking out 29.

RF Jeff Francouer, Atlanta Braves:  Francouer endured a truly awful 2008.  To open 2009, Francouer was professing to have found a new batting stance that would increase his ability to take pitches.  In the first game, he homered and his bandwagon began to slowly fill-up.  Just three weeks into the season, Frenchy has drawn three walks.  However, he is hitting over .300 with just 6 Ks in 71 plate appearances.  Something improved even if it wasn't his walk totals.

SP Chris Young, San Diego Padres:  An injury shortened 2008 combined with a horrendous 2009 Spring Training left Young as an unwanted San Diego Padres starting pitcher.  In just 16.2 innings, he allowed 24 earned runs, 31 hits, 9 walks and just 8 Ks.  After four 2009 starts, Young has a 17:8 K:BB in 23.2 innings with a 3.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.

SP Chris Volstad, Florida Marlins:  The towering right-hander opened the season with 7 Ks in six innings of work after striking out just 52 in 84.1 rookie innings.  He now has 22 Ks through 23.1 innings and looks to have discovered the ability to strike out hitters.  I do question whether the 3 HRs allowed so far, which matched last season's total, is a harbinger of a return to last season's HR-resistant ways.