MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
Dale Zanine / USA TODAY Sports

It's even harder to judge hitters in a small sample size than it is pitchers, which makes our task difficult at this point in the MLB season. We don't want to just ignore everything we're seeing, obviously, because moves have to be made, and a player you pick up in April could make a huge impact on how the rest of your season goes.

But we also don't want to overreact.  We're talking about tiny sample sizes here, and nothing you've seen in three or four games should be enough to change how you feel about just about any player.

But we can read some tea leaves and look for, if not trends, perhaps the start of trends. Here are five hitters doing some interesting stuff in the season's first week: 

Ronald Acuña looks like himself

It's too early for a victory lap, but I'm pleased with everything I'm seeing from Acuña so far, as he was my No. 1 overall player in Roto entering the season. . He's struck out just twice in 20 trips to the plate and has hit nine of his 15 batted balls at least 95 mph, which is to say, he's crushing it right now. He's also attempted a couple of steals through four games, a good sign that he's going to be taking advantage of the new rules intended to make stolen bases more prevalent – his first steal came immediately after Patrick Corbin threw over twice, limiting his ability to try to pick Acuña off. That's exactly the impact we expected that rule change to have, and it's good to see Acuña taking advantage of it. Acuña told reporters after his big game Monday that he's 100% healthy this year, and we're already seeing the upside here.

Jorge Soler is crushing the ball

Soler has the third-hardest hit ball of the season so far, which isn't necessarily a surprise – he's had a batted ball of at least 117.6 mph in each of his previous two seasons. He hits the ball hard; it's what he does. But Soler is on a different level right now, with an average exit velocity on 14 batted balls of – and this is not a typo – 100.0 mph. He's hit nine of those batted balls at least 95 mph, and he's doing it while elevating the ball and making his usual amount of contact. That is, relatively speaking, a pretty low amount of contact, because Soler is always going to have a lot of swing and miss in his game, but he's been locked in early. In fact, there are even some pretty good signs in his plate discipline metrics, as Soler has both the highest swing rate on pitches in the zone of his career and the lowest out-of-zone chase rate. We're dealing with really small sample sizes here, just 84 pitches total, so it's way too early to say there's any kind of skills change here. However, Soler is doing what we want from him early on, and knowing how hot he gets when he's locked in, this is an exciting start.

The Orioles are running wild

The Orioles stole 95 bases all year in 2022; they're up to 11 through four games. Jorge Mateo and Cedric Mullins each have four steals, while Adam Frazier, Austin Hays, and Ryan McKenna each have one. We haven't seen Gunnar Henderson take part in the action yet, which is a bit disappointing, but given the green light the rest of the squad has had, I think he'll get in on the fun before long. It's worth noting that 10 of the 11 steals came in the first two games, three of them off reliever Ryan Brasier in quick succession, so there's surely some kind of matchup-dependent thing going on there. Even having said that, this kind of aggression on the basepaths is rare, and the kind of thing that I think suggests a higher than usual tolerance for the risk of getting caught. And, given that the risk of getting caught is seemingly lower than ever with these new rules – league-wide stolen base success rate is up to 84% in the early going, compared to 75.4% last year – it seems like the Orioles are going to be a big source of speed this year, even if their current pace isn't sustainable. 

Yoan Moncada looks like himself again

Moncada has always had the physical skills necessary to be a star, but early on in his career he hadn't quite figured out how to put it all together, while injuries frequently derailed his attempts otherwise. He's healthy right now and looks like the best version of himself in the very early going, sporting an elite 95.3 mph average exit velocity on 14 batted balls. Last year was an especially strange season for Moncada, as he really struggled to hit right-handed pitching, sporting a .582 OPS; his career mark is .782. Now, to be fair, his two homers were pretty cheap ones, hit to the Crawford boxes in Houston, both less than 365 feet from home plate. To be even more fair, he also had a 391-foot double that likely would have been a home run in a different park; when the sample sizes are this small, something as relatively minor as, "Which park are you playing in?" can make a player look a lot better or a lot worse. The key here is, Moncada is hitting the ball with authority, and that's what we want to see from him after three straight lackluster seasons. He's worth adding. 

Adam Duvall looks like a perfect fit for Fenway Park

Duvall has a tendency to hit the ball in the air and a tendency to hit the ball to the pull side, and we thought that would be a pretty good combination for Fenway Park. And so far, it has been, with Duvall hitting two homers to the pull side plus a double and a single off the wall. Duvall has just been hot to open the season as well, striking out just three times in his first 20 plate appearances and spotting a 90.6 mph average exit velocity that would be his best since 2019. But this is a guy we've seen post a 38-homer season in 2021, and his new home park should be very conducive to his skill set, as we've seen already. He's a viable option in five-OF leagues.