Every year there are a handful of players who shock us in the season’s opening weeks.

There are nobodies, rookies, and washed-up veterans who emerge as the game’s top players by May, while some of baseball’s biggest stars make their fans embarrassed to don their jerseys.

In this week’s Featured Columnist poll, 16 of Bleacher Report’s top baseball writers weighed in on which hot hands and slow starters we should begin idolizing or start worrying about, respectively.

This slideshow showcases 10 cold starters (the hot-starter results were published yesterday), each with a rating of “false alarm,” “he’s not this bad,” or “time to panic” (the results were curved, so the majority/plurality answer did not always win).

Instead of featuring two opposite positions for each player, each slide features either a “ball of sunshine” to explain why he or she thinks the player’s early success is legitimate, or a “little raincloud” to argue for why his hot start is unsustainable.

Half the players got optimists, half got pessimists.

For a subject in which there is often no obvious truth, I thought fewer, more developed analysis would be more interesting than a smattering of sound-bites.

Thank you to all who participated! I hope this is as fun to read as it was to put together.

Note: I sent this survey only to the Featured Columnists who have been active in previous polls.

If you are a new FC or you have changed your mind about wanting to participate, send me a message and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop for next time!

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