SP Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: A 4-0 record following eight shutout innings and 9 Ks. So far, King Felix has picked a bad time to have a breakout season. If his Mariners can finish atop the Al West, he should be able to overcome the competition for the 2009 Cy Young.
2B Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies: The poster child for "Hip Surgery Is Safe For Your Career" hit two HRs to bring his April total to 7. An even better testament are the month's 12 walks. His career high is just 69.
3B Chone Figgins, Los Angeles Angels: Figgins stole two more bases and now has 9 on the season. Like Utley, his is drawing walks at a career-high setting pace. For the season he has drawn 14. In his career, he has never taken more than 65.
This is good as his power appears to be completely gone. A career-low SLG of .318 last season has been followed-up by an embaraasing .290 this year.
CR Jorge Cantu, Florida Marlins: With two more HRs, Cantu has five for the season. Looks like his has permanently recovered whatever he lost following his 2005 season. Like Utley and Figgins, but to a lesser extent, he has found some plate discipline with 6 walks. While that may project to just 66 or so, his career-best was was set last year when he took 40 in more than 650 plate appearances. Ex 2009, he drew just 112 in more than 2,000 plate appearances.
SP Brad Penny, Boston Red Sox: Another start, another bombing. Penny pitched just 2.2 innings and was charged with 7 runs and 4 earned ones to bring his season ERA to 8.66. I'm not even sure that ERA is the most distressing stat. He has also allowed 5 HRs and has 11 walks and just six Ks. The low cost/high upside signing should be mercifully put to an end when Daisuke Matsuzaka returns.
SP Phil Hughes, New York Yankees: The 22-year-old post-hype prospect threw six shutout innings to win his first start of 2009. Expect to hear the drums of Joba Chamberlain going back to the bullpen beat louder and louder with every decent Hughes start.
In my AL-Only 4x4 league, Hughes fetched 50% of a team's FAAB.
OF Corey Hart, Milwaukee Brewers: Sticking with the increased walks theme, Hart drew three in last night's contest to bring his season total to 12. After drawing just 27 in 2008 and 36 in 2007, Hart is ready to shatter both marks. Considering he stole 23 bases in each of those seasons, one should expect better in 2009 despite the early season SB struggles (2-5).
OF/1B Andruw Jones, Texas Rangers: With rumblings getting stronger that OF Josh Hamilton will hit the DL, Jones' early season success takes on more prominence given he has has hit clean-up in the games he has started. With two more walks yesterday, he has drawn nine on the year in just 38 plate appearances. While he has shown he could draw walks previously, the rate was typically one every 10 plate appearances.
SP Chad Gaudin, San Diego Padres: In his Padres debut, the Chicago Cubs cast-off threw five shutout innings in Colorado and allowed no runs despite four walks. He did strikeout five though. For those looking for ERA and K help at no cost, one can do worse than a pitcher with decent stuff starting half his games at Petco Park.
OF Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays: With a pinch-hit HR off closer Joe Nathan, Zobrist now has 4 HRs. Read this post on what Zobrist did to go from a light-hitting utility infield-type to a Tony Phillips one without becoming a teammate of Jose Canseco.
8th Inning Set-Up: Matt Thorton Chicago White Sox (3), Scot Shields Los Angeles Angels (4), Leo Nunez Florida Marlins (4), Todd Coffey Milwaukee Brewers (3), Jose Mijares Minnesota Twins (1)
Saves: Booby Jenks Chicago White Sox (4), Mike Gonzalez Atlanta Braves (3), Matt Linstrom Florida Marlins (4), Brien Fuentes Los Angeles Angels (4), Trevor Hoffman Milwaukee Brewers (1), Frank Francisco (6), Heath Bell San Diego (8), Will Ohman Los Angeles Dodgers (1)
Blown Saves: Joe Nathan Minnesota Twins (1), Jonathan Broxton Los Angeles Dodgers (1)