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
3 of 3

Jurickson Profar, San Diego Padres left fielder. Once the game’s hottest prospect, Profar at age 31 now profiles as a useful journeyman. Yet his hot start is one of the principal reasons why the Padres, 9-9, remain competitive in the NL West. He showed it again Sunday, delivering the hit that brought down the Dodgers.

Through 18 games, Profar is hitting .321 with a .960 OPS. That leads a team whose lineup includes Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts and Fernando Tatis Jr. Only Tatis leads him in hits, and only Jake Cronenworth leads him in RBI.

Spencer Steer, Cincinnati Reds left fielder. The Reds are a team full of surprises. Journeyman Nick Martini has found a powerful home at DH, Elly De La Cruz is making it at shortstop, and Frankie Montas has blossomed as the staff’s elder statesman. But nobody has made a bigger contribution to the team’s start than Steer.

The second-year outfielder (after a 28-game cameo in 2022) is hitting .346 with an imposing .477 on base average and a .677 slugging rate. In 15 games, he’s already driven in 18 runs. Stretch that over a full season – which Steer won’t – and you’ve got 194 RBI, breaking Hack Wilson’s record of 191. His 18 base hits, more than one per game, includes 10 for extra bases.

Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees shortstop. Coming off his .209 rookie season, the assumption was that Volpe’s defense was good enough to justify a .250 average, if he could produce it. Volpe thus far has blown through that assumption.

Fifteen games into the season, he’s batting .382, not bad in a  lineup that also includes Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and a cast of thousands. Volpe also leads the Yanks in on base, slugging and OPS; in other words, every offensive category that counts. He also leads in defensive runs saved.

Jesse Winker, Washington Nationals outfielder. The Nats signed Winker in February as potential midseason trade bait. Two weeks in, the market may never be hotter.

Winker is off to a .341 start for his new team, leading the league in on base average at .482. This from a guy who hit .199 last season in Milwaukee. Winker already has nearly half as many hits as he had all last season with the Brewers, and those have come in just a quarter of his 2023 at bats. On top of that, he’s walked once every six plate appearances, the fuel for that on base average.

The 10 greatest games of all-time hitting great Hank Aaron (calltothepen.com)