This article is part of our MLB Barometer series.
The season is no longer young, yet the leaderboards are still filled with some surprising names. Look at the wRC+ leaderboard, for example, and you'll find the following players in the top 20: Josh Bell (3rd), Willson Contreras (6th), Daniel Vogelbach (7th), Jorge Polanco (8th), Paul DeJong (11th), Tommy La Stella (12th) and Hunter Dozier (15th). What do we do with these apparent breakouts? How do we value them as potential sell-highs or possibly even buy-highs?
Let's look at a list of similarly surprising names from last season. We'll compare a set of early season standouts through May 20 last season next to their wRC+ the rest of the way. I've added each player's BABIP for both stretches to help gauge the flukiness of their performances. BABIP does tend to oversimplify things, and there's always more to the picture, but if I were ever given a 30-second ultimatum to accept or reject a trade offer, it's the first stat I'd look at after checking out the player's surface-level statistics.