With the All-Star Break upon us, now is a good time to look at those players who have completely surprised. These are players who have been in the majors for a while and have produced at levels not previously seen. It is not a list of MVP candidates.
To me these are the Top Five Hitting Surprises of the 1st Half and the pertinent production.
1. 2B Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers - 83 R .335 14 HR 23 SB
2. CF Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh Pirates - 4th in R with 68, .902 OPS, 19 HR, 65 RBI, 10 SB
3. RF J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox - .303 17 HR 55 RBI
4. CF Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians - 23 HR, 22 SB 54 RBI
5. CF David Dejesus, Kansas City Royals - .307 10 HR 51 RBI 7 SB
CF BJ Upton, Tampa Bay Rays - 61 BB 27 SB. Coming into 2008, he had an outside shot at 40/40 with the SB being the bigger if. With 6 HRs, Upton looks like a stretch to go 20/40.
RF Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals - 20 HR 64 RBI. .818 OPS in 2007 vs a .954 in 2008. Given he has produced somewhat similar power numbers this year as he did in 2007 in the same number of ABs, I didn't put him in the Top 5
1B Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox - .555 SLG 15 HR 63 RBI. With a career .452 SLG, One wonders if the Semitic God of Walks has establoished a new level. (Is "Semitic' more fair than "Greek" given Youkilis is Jewish and the proximity of Greece to Asia Minor?)