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NL Only fantasy thoughts: Early 2013 Surprises

Ray Guilfoyle highlights some of the early surprise performances from an NL only league perspective.


This weekly series takes a look at the fantasy happenings for those of you in NL-only leagues. Today, I will take a look at three hitters and three pitchers who are having a surprising start to the 2013 season. One month does not make a season, so I will offer my thoughts on whether we can expect the player to continue to outperform or not.


Hyun-Jin Ryu

As I write this piece, I am watching Ryu thoroughly dominate the Rockies, as he has limited them to just two runs on 3 hits, 2 walks and 12 strikeouts. Assuming he won the game, he will move his record to 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a 46-10 strikeout to walk rate in 36.2 innings of work. He has more strikeouts this season than Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainwright and Matt Moore, to name a few. I can see the league catching up to him at some point, so I wouldn't expect him to continue to pitch this well all season.

A.J. Burnett

Burnett had an excellent 2012 season, winning 16 games with a mid-3s ERA. Some fantasy writers felt that last season was his career year, and that his age and the league would catch up to him this season. Not the case so far. Burnett has been even more dominant, as he is striking out almost 33% of the hitters he faces. He is currently 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a 48-14 strikeout to walk rate in 36 innings. He may not continue striking out batters at a 12.34 K/9 rate, but he should provide fantasy owners with a low 3s ERA and double digit wins this season.

Shelby Miller

Miller had his share of problems in AAA last season, so much so, that his prospect stock was dropping faster than Apple stock did recently. But he turned his season around, eventually getting a cup of coffee with the big club. This spring, he won a rotation spot, and has looked great thus far. He is 3-2 with a 2.05 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a 33-10 strikeout to walk rate in 30.2 innings in April. His 9.69 K/9 ranks 13th in all of baseball. He will have his ups and downs this season, but he should continue to strike out 9+ batter per nine and provide owners with a 3.50ish ERA.


Wilin Rosario

ESPN's Keith Law once wrote that Rosario has 30 home run power, but has a lot of swing and miss in his swing and rarely takes a walk. I was skeptical, but Rosario made Law look good last season by hitting 28 home runs and 71 RBI. This season, he is off to a hot start at the plate, as he is hitting .350-.373-.650 with 7 HRs, 12 runs, 19 RBI and 3 stolen bases thus far. The power appears to be real, but I don't see Rosario hitting .300 this season. The average will drop from here, but I see a 30+ home run season from him.

Jean Segura

Where did he come from? Segura is an exciting young shortstop off to a very hot start, hitting .367-.418-.567 with 3 HRs, 13 runs, 9 RBI and 7 stolen bases so far this season. Segura currently bats in the two hole in the Brewers lineup but I see him eventually moving up to the leadoff spot. Hitting in Milwaukee, he could put up double digit home runs and steal 40 bases this season.

Brandon Crawford

Another hitter who is off to a very good start. Where did the power come from? Crawford is hitting .272-.346-.511 with 5 HRs, 16 runs and 14 RBI in April. His 26.3% HR/FB rate is not sustainable, especially when compared against his 3.9% HR/FB rate in 2012. Crawford is not this good, and it appears the power will regress going forward.

Question for readers: Are there other hitters or pitchers that are having a fast start to the 2013 season that you would like me to address?