Nate McLouth, Gabe Kapler, others grabbing all of the headlines

This always happens. Some very random players always have a hot streak in the beginning of the season, getting their hot streaks out of the way early. It happened with Chris Shelton in 2006. It happened with one of my simulated seasons of MVP Baseball 2005 with Estaban German once. Right now, Nate McLouth, a Pittsburgh Pirate, and Gabe Kapler, a player who has had a very interesting career going from a 57th round pick by the Tigers to a Minor League Player of the year, decent 15-20 home run guy to a career bench player with the Rockies, Rangers and Red Sox after his stats fell off his age 25 season, sucking in Japan, winning a WS ring in 2004, to a manager for a Red Sox to a comeback with the Brewers. I will also put Carlos Pena in here because although he is hitting under the Mendoza Line, he leads the league with 6 homers, and chicks dig the longball. I will also put in White Sox third baseman Joe Crede, who has basically told everyone to screw off with trade rumors.

Nate McLouth – Pirates

As McLouth is approaching his age-26 season, he has already hit safely in 13 games with a .383 average, continuing hot hitting from Spring Training. Players sometimes break out in their age-26 seasons, but anyone would be laughed out of Vegas if they were predicting McLouth to be one of those players before Spring Training. He was a decent hitter in the minors, hitting .292/.362/.427/.789 and probably projecting as a bench player in 2004, but, although an early prediction, McLouth could breakout for real for one or two years, like this one and his age-27 year and then fade out into .260s numbers. He will not keep up a .383 pace, but, unless he slumps or gets injured, I do expect him to be around .270s to the .280s and an OPS at where he usually is, about the .780s or so. I think that would be a reasonable prediction for him.

Gabe Kapler – Brewers

Gabe Kapler has four homers and is hitting .423 in 11 games, providing the offense for the Milwaukee Brewers, and although I do not think he will keep this up, he has definitely solidified himself in that Brewers bench, and unless he goes to the slump of life, he will stay around with the Brewers. Kapler, Jason Kendall, and Corey Hart are the only three starters hitting over .250 on that team. I have already mentioned his life story, but what he has done this year is nothing short of really, really cool, because Kapler has always been a fun player to watch, and all of us would love to see a guy like him play well. I wonder where he will be this year.

Joe Crede – White Sox

Crede has hit .313 with 4 homers and leading the majors with 16 RBI, and for now he looking like a good choice for trade bait in the midseason to a contender. It is also good to see Crede play well again, with him being a fan favorite for the White Sox. If he plays well and we see the White Sox up there by September (in which it can happen), he could be the AL Comeback Player of the year. A little lofty, but that is entire plausible.

Carlos Pena – Rays

I mean Pena is hitting an awful .191 right now, but those six home runs the lead the league cannot be ignored. Two-thirds of his 9 hits have been home runs, which is probably the craziest stat of the year by far. But he also has 18 strikeouts, which also leads the league. If you can hit them, hit them long I guess?

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