The Best Hitters Up to the All Star Break

Lance Berkman

This one surprised me, I was expecting to see either Atlanta’s 3B Chipper Jones* or CF Josh Hamilton** of the Rangers on top of this list, but instead, we find Houston’s 1B Lance Berkman** just edging out Hamilton. In fact, Jones doesn’t even make this top 20 list as he has begun to come down to earth. The big difference between Hamilton and Berkman seems to be stolen bases, average and OBP as the differences in runs scored HRs and RBIs seem to offset themselves.

Rounding out the remaining top 5 spots are the Ranger’s 2B Ian Kinsler*, Phillies 1B Ryan Howard and their 2B Chase Utley**. Please, no booing, he doesn’t like it and I can’t say that I blame him.

Numbers 6 to 20 are as follows: the Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez**, Pirates CF Nate McLouth*, Mets CF Carlos Beltran, White Sox LF Carlos Quentin*, Indians CF Grady Sizemore* and the Mets 3B David Wright*. Then we have the Mets SS Jose Reyes, the Cardinals OF Ryan Ludwick*, Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez* and Brewers LF Ryan Braun**. Then there were the Cubs 1B Carlos Lee and the Reds 2B Brandon Phillips who are both having All Star type of years, but hey, they can’t all play in the game. Returning to the All Star cast is Marlins 2B Dan Uggla* who might have wished that Phillips was selected in his place (his 3 errors in the game set a new All Star game record) and Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez*. Lastly, we have D’Backs 3B Mark Reynolds.

The Fall Guys

These are the players in which I expect to fall out of this top 20 list by the end of the season:

Lance Berkman**: I may be wrong, he may just slip to the end of this list due to his great first half. I still do not see him maintaining these type of numbers for a whole year, same thing applies to these next four players except that I do not expect to see them on this list at all come October: Nate McLouth*, Carlos Quentin*,  Dan Uggla* and Mark Reynolds.

The Real Deals

These are the players in which I think will either keep up these numbers, fall just shy of them or might even improve upon them.

Josh Hamilton** may not hit 40 HRs and knock in 180 RBIs, but he should be good for at least 35 HRs (and may still hit 40) and 120-130 RBIs with a .300+ average and .360+ OBP. I expect Howards’ average to climb back to a more respectable figure (like say maybe .250) and Utley* will make a MVP run. Hanley Ramirez** and Grady Sizemore* are right on track to where they should be but I don’t think they’ll go 40/40, the HRs may not get that high. Beltran, Reyes, Wright*, Phillips, Lee and Aramis Ramirez* should also all stay the course with their current numbers.

*All of these players where reserves on the 2008 All Star team.

**All of these players where elected or selected starters in the 2008 All Star game.

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