Free Agent Hot Starts

Last year's free agent hot starts included Derek Lowe, Juan Cruz, and Braden Looper, so clearly we shouldn't draw conclusions on one month of the season.  Still, let's take a look at free agents off to solid starts in 2010.  It'll be interesting to look back at the end of the season and see what holds up.

  • Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: Johnson has a .286/.393/.743 line and leads the NL with eight home runs.  We named him one of the ten best free agent signings of the offseason, and he's under team control for 2011.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers: He's at .368/.424/.513, and he even played a game in right field.
  • Marlon Byrd, Cubs: He sports a .333/.352/.548 line, plus yesterday's no-look catch.
  • Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays: He's shown more power than expected with five home runs and a .582 SLG so far.
  • Johnny Damon, Tigers: He doesn't have a home run yet, but a .430 OBP will work.
  • Scott Podsednik, Royals: He's also homerless, but has a .429 OBP on the young season.
  • Bengie Molina, Giants: Like Podsednik, he's racking up hits and it's keeping his OBP over .400.
  • Andruw Jones, White Sox: Jones has six home runs in just 61 plate appearances.  He's logged 90 innings in the outfield, too.  He's only had 51 plate appearances, but Austin Kearns deserves a nod too.
  • Miguel Olivo, Rockies: His .314/.357/.647 makes him hard to sit, and the Rockies had enough faith to demote Chris Iannetta.
  • Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals: Pudge's .400/.422/.517 start makes his much-maligned contract easier to stomach for now.
  • Livan Hernandez, Nationals: Despite a 2.9 K/9, Livan has allowed three runs in 31 innings.
  • Brad Penny, Cardinals: He's allowed only three earned runs, three walks, and zero home runs in 28.6 innings.  His newfound 53% groundball rate is promising.
  • Andy Pettitte, Yankees: He's still rolling at age 37 with four runs allowed in 28 innings.
  • Justin Duchscherer, Athletics: He missed all of '09 but has a 1.82 ERA early on in 2010.
  • Jon Garland, Padres: Like Duchscherer, the peripherals don't quite match up, but Garland has a 2.57 ERA in his first five starts.
  • Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, and Colby Lewis have also gotten the job done so far.
  • Matt Capps, Nationals: The Nats have created opportunities, and Capps has taken advantage by saving all ten.  The Nationals can retain him for 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player.  Plenty of other relievers are having early success, including Rafael Soriano, Kevin Gregg, and Jose Valverde.

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