10 position players off to surprisingly hot starts in 2024 MLB season

Apr 14, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Colton Cowser (17) celebrates
Apr 14, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Colton Cowser (17) celebrates / Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports
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Two weeks into the season is too early to reliably project the big surprises for the full course of the 2024 season. Unless you’re a fan. In that case, it’s the nature of what you do.

This is a look at 10 position players whose performances over the season’s first two weeks have been off-the-chart surprising. Each of them came into the season with, at best, modest expectations, but each to date has been a team catalyst.

10 position players who've been surprising catalysts in 2024

Michael Busch, Chicago Cubs first baseman. Although he earned Dodgers’ minor league player of the year honors, Busch’s major league path was blocked by Freddie Freeman, so they gifted him to the Cubs in an offseason deal. It hasn’t taken long for Busch to solidify his status as an offensive centerpiece.

He entered play Monday night with a .327 batting average, a 1.087 OPS and five home runs, four of them in consecutive games. With Seiya Suzuki, he co-leads the team in positional WAR; he also leads all regulars in batting average, on base percentage (.393) and slugging (.694).

Colton Cowser, Baltimore Orioles outfielder. Cowser is a rookie who made the team out of spring training as a bench player, but graduated to something approaching full-time duty last week. In the six games since that promotion, he’s hitting .435 with four homers and a dozen RBI…that’s two per game.

Despite his late start, Cowser leads the team in homers (four), and is tied for the RBI lead (13). His Bondsian 1.444 OPS isn’t sustainable, but for the present, it ranks No. 1 in all of MLB.

Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians second baseman. The word on Gimenez entering 2024 was a nice, polite middle infielder on a nice, polite AL Central lightweight team. The truth on both counts has been anything but.

The Guardians are off to an 11-5 start that has them first in their division, and Gimenez is a big reason why. He’s batting .310 – that’s 50 points above his career average – with an .813 OPS that is 60 points above his career norm.