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Original post here.
Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, step right up and see the greatest show in baseball. Mr. Toronto (as I am starting to call him) Jose Bautista is bringing baseball to the masses in Canada. Yes, hockey is the sport of choice in Canada, and the Montreal Expos failed as a long-standing baseball franchise, but Bautista is making people all around our nation and theirs turn on their televisions and watch him crank one ball after another down the left field line. Suffice it to say, he is still, number one.
1. Jose Bautista-OF-Toronto Blue Jays
He is still on top of the home run standings, now with 20 home runs on the season. He is second behind the no-namer, Matt Joyce, with a .360 average and is slowly climbing the RBI ladder, now with 40. That finally puts him at a 2:1 RBI to HR ratio, substantially better than what he had been doing previously. The Blue Jays are starting to play as if they think they can win that division, just 3.5 games out of first and one game over .500. They are playing good, solid baseball and Bautista is consistently keeping them in games, even if it seems at times that he is the only one. Just keep watching, he's going to keep hitting and it is going to be another exciting season.
2. Lance Berkman-OF/1B-St. Louis Cardinals
Well, Berkman has finally started to level off, but is still playing great baseball in the twilight of his career. He is still hitting for a .335 average with 12 home runs and 39 RBI. I don't want to say that without Berkman, the Cardinals would not be sitting on top of the NL Central, but there is a chance that statement may hold some water, especially in the early goings of the season. He has had a great season thus far and should garner some All-Star votes this season. I don't know if it will be enough to get him into the game, but there are a lot of Cardinals fans scattered out there. I think he would be deserving of the votes, but if he continues to decline, his chance may slip away.
3. Miguel Cabrera-1B-Detroit Tigers
Now, I don't necessarily want to go back and look, but I am almost positive that Cabrera has yet to drop out of our top 10 ranking since the very beginning of the season. This just goes to show you that the Tigers have one of the best, most consistent first baseman in the game today. Cabrera has hit two more home runs and driven in six in the past week, which has helped bump him up from the number five spot back into the top three. Cabrera is one of those players that some would consider building a team around, and you couldn't really blame them. He is on pace for about a 30+ home run and 95+ RBI season. Yeah, he's okay I guess.
4. Curtis Granderson-OF-New York Yankees
Mr. Granderson. An example of a guy who has taken advantage of an opportunity is Curtis Granderson. Maybe this is the Matrix in his mind, where he can do whatever he wants, even defy the odds stacked against him. He has always been too small to hit for power. His average has always been too low to be a consistent starter and threat on the base paths. Well, he worked and got better, tied for second in the majors with 17 home runs, and has improved his average to .278, which is respectable amongst players such as him. Granderson has also stolen eight bases. He gives the Yankees a threat that has not been seen in recent years out there in center field, and with a new stadium comes a new outlook on his career. He is in for big things in the Big Apple.
5. Matt Joyce-OF-Tampa Bay Rays
Until he stops hitting, the Rays just can't take him out. He is still leading the majors with a .364 average and he has already tied his home run total from last season (10). I think he will get to his career high (12) and might even hit for around .300 this season, even though his career average sits around .250, for now. He has sparked this offense and continues to do so day in and day out. There wasn't a lot of excitement when Joyce went out there early in the season, but now those fans have something to look forward to. Maybe this will give them a reason to come out and support their Rays, who always look so sad when you look out into the stands.
6. Matt Holliday-OF-St. Louis Cardinals
Holliday has gone 0 for his last eight at bats and just two for his last 14. This is the main reason he has dropped, he just hasn't been hitting when he is supposed to. He is still having a great season for the Cardinals, and batting .342 is nothing to scoff at. Holliday is one of the glue pieces to the St. Louis puzzle and they will need him to keep ahead in the NL Central. He has been one of the more effective and productive hitters to this point of the season, but things seem to be slowing down quite a bit for the hot-hitting Holliday. Look for him to get some of it back this week.
7. Jay Bruce-OF-Cincinnati Reds
Is there a hotter hitter in baseball right now than Jay Bruce? He has the best month of May that I have ever in my lifetime seen and definitely had the best May this year of any player, far and away. He has started off the month of June nicely, raising his average to .294. I cannot remember the last time Bruce hit anywhere close to .300. He has moved himself from pure obscurity to second in the league in home runs (17) and RBI (46). This year needed to be a big year for Bruce, who signed a new contract and knew that he needed to help his cohort, Joey Votto, if the Reds were to have any chance of winning that division. Jay Bruce, welcome to the game.
8. Ryan Braun-OF-Milwaukee Brewers
He dropped one spot, but Bruce just had to fit in right there. Braun is still having a monster year thus far for the Brewers, with 12 homers and 40 RBI to go along with 13 stolen bases. He has driven in over 100 runs in his last three season, so expect that trend to continue on here. You can probably expect about his 2009 numbers (32 HR, 114 RBI, 20 SB), and maybe even a little better, definitely in the stolen base department. He has been hitting slightly over .300 for most of the season, so at least he has been consistent. Things are looking up for Braun and this Brewers club, as they look to rely on him to keep them in the race for the division crown.
9. Prince Fielder-1B-Milwaukee Brewers
Just like last week, these two are right there, back to back. Prince's home run numbers have caught up to Braun's (both tied at 12) and his RBI count has always been a little higher (tied for third in the league with 44). Fielder is going to be a free agent at the end of this season, so it would only make sense that he would have a killer year. Not that his season's aren't often killer, but this year could be an especially large one. I am imagining that Fielder will keep this up and will probably bring his .292 average up a bit more soon. If the Brewers are to stand a chance, it's up to these two guys.
10. Matt Kemp-OF-Los Angeles Dodgers
I was wondering when we were going to see Kemp in here again. All of the talk so far this season has been about his counterpart, Andre Ethier, and his 30-game hitting streak. Well, Kemp has been not so quietly having a great season. He is easily in line for a 20-20 (home runs-steals) season, and might even make it a 30-30 year. Many have been waiting to see Kemp reach his seemingly limitless potential and this just might be the year. Kemp will be an All-Star and is playing like one.