Early concerns about Stanton, Wilson 

April, 13, 2012

SweetSpot editor/writer David Schoenfield and I taped a video the other day about players off to slow starts, and we discussed our level of concern for Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkilis, among others. It just so happens that in those cases, we didn't seem particularly worried about any of these veterans. For now, they seem healthy, and perhaps we just need to lower expectations some. The sample size is awfully small on their struggles. But certainly even one week into the season I can say there are some players fantasy owners should be watching closer than others.

[+] EnlargeGiancarlo Stanton
AP Photo/Tom DiPaceHealth and a potentially unfriendly home stadium could stifle some of Giancarlo Stanton's numbers.
Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, for example, is clearly not right. I watched him play in Philadelphia this week, and the lingering soreness in his left knee not only played the largest role in him sitting out Monday's game but seems to be affecting him at the plate, where he has one extra-base hit so far, and in the field, where he should be an above-average defender but dropped a fly ball Thursday. Stanton is hitting .240 with no walks; he seems jumpy at the plate, unable to drive the ball when he makes contact and certainly is less patient than normal. Last year Stanton earned 70 walks. However, if pitchers know he's hurting, they'll challenge him more. So far Stanton is seeing 3.2 pitches per plate appearance; last year he saw 3.96. It's not enough time to proclaim him as wild as Vladimir Guerrero, but still.