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We have officially moved out of April and into May. With all teams having played anywhere from nineteen to twenty-two games, we are entering the time where it is possible to draw from a substantial sample size. Hopefully through this sample we can begin to see trends forming. As such, a thirty-day and/or month-long data collection is helpful in seeing where player projections may be going in the near future. Every player will go through highs and lows, for example, a three-game hitting or a four-game hitless streak. However, if that player can maintain those positive or negative results over a bigger period it could mean something more in the long run. Hence, examining thirty days’ worth of stats is important. All that being said, here are the leaders for each of the ten main categories in traditional leagues with some personal interpretation.

Home Runs

Anthony Rizzo has already doubled his barrel rate from last season, but his Home vs Away splits suggest some incoming regression…..C.J. Cron continues to exploit his Coors Field advantage and while he is a must-start when at home, he is nowhere near that on the road…..despite having six home runs in April, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. only hit one after April 15th while striking out eleven times…..Mike Trout continues to prove he is still among the game’s elite, but he has transitioned into a four-category profile with no steals or attempts…..Nolan Arenado has been great, but his power has cooled off substantially since he hit five home runs in the first week of the season…..Jurickson Profar looks to be seeing the ball better thus far, as he’s walking at a career-high rate and hitting the ball head-on with four barrels thus far (he had eight last season)…..Manny Machado has been a five-category stud in April and one of the best players in baseball…..Jeremy Peña looks to be every bit the part thus far and a mainstay in the Astros’ lineup.

Runs Batted In

Josh Bell is benefitting from hitting after Juan Soto, as having a runner on base is always helpful for driving them in…..Pete Alonso is hitting the ball hard, but his strikeout rate and walk rate aren’t quite where they were last year, though it could just be early season mechanical issues…..Despite struggling out of the gate, Kyle Tucker has an xBA that is more than 100 points higher than his actual average, which should mean better days are ahead for the first-round draft pick…..Eric Hosmer is connecting with the baseball and somehow finding ways to succeed, despite minimal barreling and a low launch angle; it’s unclear how long his success continues…..Sean Murphy has slowly regressed since a hot start, but he’s still capable of being a valuable catcher in two-catcher leagues…..Patrick Wisdom has been driving in runs when it counts, but with a strikeout rate hovering around 40%, his value remains limited to the deepest of leagues.

Runs

Myles Straw has found a way to get on base and in position to score, as he had the hot Steven Kwan and the always steady Jose Ramirez driving him in all month…..George Springer has hit the ball harder than ever before, a stable force for the Blue Jays, and should continue to be if he remains healthy…..Willy Adames is walking at a career-high rate, but is struggling to hit at home again; keep an eye on this, perhaps it’s not just a Tampa Bay thing…..Those who invested early in a catcher may not be ecstatic about the results, but J.T. Realmuto has been a solid contributor in runs and stolen bases…..Connor Joe has had himself a good first month of the season, but his home numbers severely outweigh his road numbers, making him bench-able when Colorado is on the road…..Both Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts have had a tremendous start to the season and are arguably the best left side of the infield in all of fantasy baseball…..Austin Riley has struggled to start the season, but a look at his expected stats shows that he’s been unlucky.

Stolen Bases

It’s incredible that Julio Rodriguez leads the league in stolen bases, despite batting near .200; it’s been well-documented that he has been unlucky with called third strikes, so brighter days should be ahead for him when he starts making better contact…..Harrison Bader is stealing bases at a career-high rate, but it’s still fair to wonder if his bat is good enough to continue getting on base as much as he has…..Tommy Edman has displayed some power/speed potential and is demonstrating some career-best patience and discipline at the plate…..Jazz Chisholm Jr. has been electric for the Marlins, but he has hit almost exclusively against right-handed pitchers, which will limit his playing time…..Bobby Witt Jr. needs to show more patience at the plate but has made the most of his opportunities when he does get on base…..Wander Franco is hitting everything everywhere and looks poised to be one of the game’s elite by season’s end…..This isn’t the first list that Thairo Estrada has been on, but a look under the hood suggests that the next 30 days may be a struggle.

Batting Average

Andrew Benintendi has been a solid contributor at the plate by spraying the field with singles; he has not been hitting the ball hard at all, mind you, and his xBA shows that he has been lucky…..The eyes of Ty France have been incredible this season, as he’s been patient and efficient while providing a return on the investment made on draft day…..Randall Grichuk has been solid at both home and away while providing more power outside of Coors Field…..Sheldon Neuse is seeing the ball better and connecting harder, but it remains to be seen how long this trend continues…..DJ LeMahieu is healthy and is once again providing solid everyday contact and getting on base…..Luis Arraez came into camp with a trim physique and early on this season, he’s back to getting on base and hitting the ball, but doesn’t provide much else in fantasy…..Nathaniel Lowe isn’t hitting the ball hard like last year and his barrels are down, but he is getting on base.

Wins

Alek Manoah has looked dominant at times and every bit the part that he was projected to be…..Pablo Lopez has pitched three consecutive scoreless outings and has given the Marlins everything they needed to win in those games…..Carlos Rodon has looked like baseball’s best pitcher at times, proving how much the Giants know when it comes to their reclamation projects…..Chad Kuhl has utilized his slider to near-perfection (.033 BA) and has an ERA under 2.00 despite a career ERA more than double that…..Dylan Bundy continues his tradition of succeeding every second year, but it’s unclear how sustainable this really is…..Justin Verlander looks like his former self, despite his old age, and has shown no signs of slowing down…..Merrill Kelly worked on his changeup in the offseason and has seen an uptick in velocity in April, but it’s fair to assume that if that slows itself down, so will his win total.

ERA

Logan Gilbert has led the charge for the Mariners this year and has lowered his walk rate, but his xERA and xBA against show that there’s a decent chance of regression…..Joe Ryan was labeled as a two-pitch pitcher, but the added velocity and horizontal movement have helped him start the season off well…..Tylor Megill is in the midst of a breakout, and his improved slider is a big reason why…..Eric Lauer has dominated the last half of April with a significant velocity improvement that is overpowering batters unable to catch up with his immense stuff…..Despite diminished velocity, Shane Bieber has been good at keeping runs off the board, but it’s unknown how long that (and his health) will continue…..Martin Perez looks to be another benefactor of the deadened ball, as he was carrying a perfect game as of late…..Max Fried started off slowly, but has given up just one earned run over his last thirteen innings.

WHIP

While Brad Keller is still giving up hard contact, it’s encouraging that he has cut his walk rate in half, thus minimizing the number of runners on base…..Kyle Wright has made major adjustments that have resulted in added velocity everywhere; he looks to be breaking out if this can continue, his current WHIP is far below his career average…..Miles Mikolas isn’t striking out many batters, but his tremendous command of the strike zone has been a nice addition to a questionable Cardinals rotation…..Aaron Nola has settled down after a rocky start to the season and could be coming back into the form of a starter worthy of being drafted early…..Shane McClanahan looks to be as good as advertised and has been dominant thus far in 2022…..Anyone that was worried about Walker Buehler has to be encouraged by his last start, which is hopefully the beginning of a dominant rest of the season.

Strikeouts

Jesus Luzardo came out firing on all cylinders and has maintained that momentum throughout the entire month of April, but will likely need his velocity to remain high in order to succeed…..Despite maintaining last year’s velocity readings, Gerrit Cole has struggled to be his once-dominant self with a low strikeout rate and high walk rate…..After a tremendous Opening Day masterpiece, Adam Wainwright has struggled to keep runs off the board and strike out batters with any sort of consistency…..The move to Seattle was thought to be an upgrade for Robbie Ray, but instead, the walk rate has risen and the strikeout rate has plummeted…..Tyler Mahle continues to struggle at home and pitch better on the road (if we ignore the ERA), as evidenced by the high strikeout rate.

Saves

Josh Hader has been the best closer in baseball and has made the most of every opportunity…..Jordan Romano has shut the door and dominated when called upon, and only relented save opportunities on pre-determined days off…..Daniel Bard is currently closing for the Rockies, despite their expensive offseason signing of Alex Colome, who is lower on this list…..Anthony Bender looks to be running away with the job in Miami…..Aroldis Chapman is the closer for the Yankees, but others have been granted an opportunity (as seen on this list) and may continue to get them throughout the season…..Dany Jimenez has done a formidable job for the Athletics in the absence of Lou Trivino and may hold onto that job even after Trivino returns…..Giovanny Gallegos is the current closer for the Cardinals, but should he be inconsistent, Ryan Helsley has looked very sharp this season…..Emmanuel Clase and Liam Hendriks should continue to save games once their teams play well enough to give them that opportunity.

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Dave Funnell (@sportz_nutt51)

Dave Funnell (@sportz_nutt51)

Father, Teacher, Sports Fan. Follow me, Dave Funnell, on Twitter @sportz_nutt51

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