Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/20/14

As the early season gives us frauds, it also gives us the real deals. Many believe that Matt Harvey is the real deal and that Jackie Bradley, Jr. might have been brought up too soon. Which trends are believable and which ones will turn out to be like Saved By The Bell – just not that good in retrospect? Here are some that I believe will continue as the season progresses.  P.S. I added one to this list just for fun. Betcha can’t guess which one!Note: All stats taken through Wednesday, April 17.11. Roy Halladay and Ubaldo Jimenez will continue to declineThree years ago, Halladay and Jimenez were two of the best pitchers in the MLB. Last year, both started to show some signs of decline. Halladay had his worst ERA of his career and Jimenez proved that his 2011 disappointment wasn’t a fluke. This season, not much has changed. Save for a “win” over the hapless Marlins, Halladay has been terrible and Jimenez has been equally as bad. They are both done folks, and will have that one start here and there that makes you want to believe in them once again.10. The Red Sox starting pitchers’ ERA will continue to be one of the best in the ALIf the beginning of the season is any indication most, if not all, of the Red Sox have put the ugliness that was 2012 in their rear-view mirror. Exit Bobby Valentine and enter former pitching coach John Farrell. When Farrell served under Terry Francona, the staff (Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz) all had a sub-3.50 ERA. John Lackey still sucks out loud, but Lester and Buchholz are on fire early on as Boston leads the AL in team ERA (2.64).  I think the Sox will continue to be one of the better pitching teams in the league this season.9. The Marlins will be devoid of fantasy relevanceSure, they have Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, but who else? Stanton has been hurt and horrible early on, but that can also be attributed to having zero protection in the lineup. His name has already been whispered in trade rumors to the Mets and Rangers. He’ll be slightly better once he gets fully healthy. In regards to Fernandez, he’ll still be good but unfortunately for him the wins will be hard to come by because…8. Jose Fernandez will become the new Felix HernandezBoth pitchers broke into the league as youngsters with dynamite stuff. They were diamonds on teams full of donkey dookie.  Fernandez is winless in his first two starts, but he’s pitched well enough in both games to win. He has fanned 13 and walked only three batters, but the Marlins’ offense and bullpen match each other in ineptitude. Fernandez is a guy with a lot of hype around him, but until the rest of the Marlins improve, he’ll just be a guy who has to win 2-1 or 3-2 every time he takes the mound.7. Jim Henderson will remain the Brewers’ closerIf you drafted John Axford this year, shame on you. He’s already imploded and lost his job to Jim Henderson. While he may not have the flashiest of names, Henderson (1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP) has already proven his mettle, notching two saves and a win in six appearances. If I’ve already grown tired of Axford’s Jekyll and Hyde nature, then Milwaukee skipper Ron Roenicke has to be done with the man with a cool last name as his closer.6. Fernando Rodney will continue his descent into obscurityLooking at Rodney’s “Body of Proof (or work)” would make Dana Delaney go insane. He’s had one good season (last year) and has had 7 of his 10 seasons end with an ERA over 4.00. That’s not what you want in a closer. I think he might have just been keeping the seat warm Kyle “Don’t call me Hubert” Farnsworth, otherwise known as the guy who closed games in Tampa when they were good. His ERA is friggin’ 10 right now! How long will he continue to get work? Maybe he should curl his hat and wear it straight from now on.5. Justin Upton will be the best OF in AtlantaIn my opinion, this one was already a no-brainer before the season started. And guess what? He’s proven it in fewer than three weeks in Hotlanta. He already has 8 HR, 12 RBI and is hitting .340. Jason Heyward and brother B.J. combined don’t even have half of the homers Justin does. B.J. might have to play the part of the Bear in the passenger seats as Justin drives the Braves’ Big Rig throughout the season.4. Matt Carpenter will be a valuable part of your teamHe’s not going to blast 40 homers or steal 40 bases, but in the St. Louis lineup Matt Carpenter will surely be a good source of runs, doubles and average in standard leagues. He also has eligibility (depending on what site you use) at 1B, 2B, 3B and OF while mainly manning 2B for the Cards.  If he’s available, go grab him and enjoy the free production.3. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Hishashi Iwakuma will be the next Japanese-leaguers to find success in the MLBIn three starts thus far, Ryu is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 20 K and 3 BB. In his three starts, Iwakuma is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, 16 K, and 1 BB. By the end of the year, Street Fighter won’t be the only game with a really good Ryu (and I guess that makes Iwakuma E. Honda).2. Jerry Remy will continue to pronounce words ending in “A” with “ER” insteadThis is a special one for those local to Boston. If I worked for Amica Insurance, I would be furious that the loved Sox announcer continues to mispronounce my company’s name. Numerous times throughout a game, Remy and Don Orsillo check out the “Amica Pitch Zone” or in Remy’s case, “Ameeker Pitch Zone.”  He also calls Dustin Pedroia, one of the few remaining bastions of pre-Valentine Sox, “Pedroi-er.” C’mon, Rem Dog! Just kidding! We all wish Remy well in all his endeavors.1. The Braves will continue to lead the MLB in team ERA/WHIPThe epic collapse of 2011. Losing the one-game playoff last year to the Cardinals. Add water. The first two ingredients had to have lit a fire under both Fredi Gonzalez and the rest of the Tomahawks. If the first few weeks of the season are any indication, the Braves are playing for keeps this season. They are 12-2, have the best team ERA in the MLB (1.83) and the best team WHIP (1.01). Kris Medlen and Mike Minor are for real and Paul Maholm has been revitalized in Atlanta after his trade south last year. I would be shocked if the Braves didn’t make the playoffs and have a deep run.

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