I took a few weeks off of my midseason position rankings, but here are some quick thoughts on my MIdseason Top 12 Hitters, or hitters who will be taken in the first 2-3 rounds in 2012. Noticeably absent is Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who is having a down season at the plate, at this point. His power is still there, unbelievably really, but his triple slash line has dropped across the board.
Note that the stats reflected in the writeups are through Saturday August 6th.
1. Matt Kemp, LAD-coming into the season, I was worried ithat Kemp woiuld not perform well hitting cleanup this year, but he has performed very well, even in the Dodgers poor lineup. He is hitting .317-.394-.580 with 26 HRs, 84 RBIs, 67 runs, and 28 SBs in 32 attempts. He has also reduce his K rate from 25% to 22% and has improved his BB rate from 8% to 11%. Kemp is a strong candidate for NL MVP this season.
2. Jose Batutista, TOR-Bautista is proving all his non-beleivers wrong this season. The MLB leader in WAR is hitting .317-.452-.650 with 33 HRs, 74 RBIs, 81 runs and is walking more than he is striking out. He is having a Pujols-esque season at the plate.
3. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS-Gonzalez is hitting like many thought he would moving out of Petco Park as he is hitting .352-.413-.560 with 18 HRs, 91 RBIs and 78 runs scored. Along with teammate Jacoby Ellsbury, Gonzalez is a leading candidate for AL MVP this season.
More Top 12 hitters after the jump:
4. Ryan Braun, MIL-Braun is hitting .330-.400-.584 with 21 HRs, 74 RBIs, 75 runs and 20 SBs this season. I wondered if he could return to being a 30 HR hitter this season and he is on pace to hit exactly 30 HRs and steal 29 bases. He is definitely a first round pick in 2012.
5. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS-I mentioned in a Roto Roundup a few days ago that Ellsbury is an MVP candidate in the AL, and looking at his stats, it will be hard not to vote for him. He is hitting .321-.377-.522 with 17 HRs, 72 RBIs, 84 runs and 31 SBs thus far, and this after an injury prone 2010 season where some questioned how injured he was.
6. Dustin Pedroia, BOS-one could also make the case that Pedroia should be in the talk for AL MVP as well this season. Pedroia is having a great season, hitting .310-.401-.481 with 15 HRs, 59 RBIs, 73 runs and 22 SBs thus far. He is another hitter who is walking more than he is striking out.
7. Curtis Granderson, NYY-Granderson is having his best season in his big league career, hitting .275-.364-.564 with 28 HRs, 86 RBIs, 100 runs, and 20 SBs. He already has career highs in HRs, RBIs and ISO, and is close to career highs in runs scored and stole bases.
8. Miguel Cabrera, DET-Miggy is quietly having a solid season, hitting .316-.424-.554 with 22 HRs, 70 RBIs, 76 runs and a 66-75 K/BB rate thus far this season. I keep thinking he will hit 40 HRs one of these seasons, but 2011 seems out of the question unless he goes on a major tear.
9. Jose Reyes, NYM- before he got hurt, Reyes was in the talk for NL MVP. He is hitting .337-.378-.508 with 5 HRs, 37RBIs, 80 runs, and 34 SBs this season and is probably the #1 shortstop for 2012.
10. Justin Upton, ARI-Upton is putting things together at the plate this season as he has cut down on his strikeouts, and is hitting .298-.374-.547 with 22 HRs, 68 RBIs, 71 runs and 16 SBs. After striking out 152 times in 495 at bats in 2010, he is on pace to strikeout just 129 times in 600+ at bats.
11. Prince Fielder, MIL-Fielder is having his "on" year in 2011, as he is hitting .304-.420-.571 with 26 HRs an 85 RBIs this season. He is on pace for a 37-120 season and a huge contract this offseason. If the Brewers go far in the playoffs, and they could, there will be plenty of pressure on the front office to re-sign their slugging first baseman.
12. Andrew McCutchen, PIT-McCutchen has slumped lately, but is having a terrific season at the plate, hitting .273-.375-.465 with 15 HRs, 64 RBIs, 60 runs and 17 SBs. I thought McCutchen would steal more bases this season, but he is on pace for a 22-93-25 season.