Just to be clear, these rankings will be a combination of the players previous performance and some projection on how they’ll continue to perform.
#1 Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers: Braun is completely destroying the world right now. I don’t know what to make of a .724 slugging percentage. He had a monster May and I don’t see any reason he will keep on hitting like this all year. By the way, he’s leading the NL in homers with 10 and has the best K/BB walk ratio of his career. If he keeps this up he could be in the MVP talks, especially if he’s able to push the Brewers into the playoffs. I said he had the potential to unseat Youkilis at number one and he has so far, we’ll see what next month brings.
#2 Kevin Youkilis, 3B, Boston Red Sox: Youk is off to a slow start…is something Red Sox fans keep saying for some reason. That batting average of .218 is a lot less ugly when its couple to a .392 on-base percentage and a .487 slugging percentage. Youk is fine, the average will climb in due time. Unfortunately for Youk, regardless of his stats, he’s still ugly as sin and NESN’s high def feed does him no favors. He looks like he should be in a biker gang, perhaps Hell’s Misshapen Heads or the Bags on Heads Angels.
#3 Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers: His average is down and his power is up, which seems to be the pattern throughout his career. The good news is that he always walks, so the low average/high power Kinsler is actually a lot more useful than the high average version seen last season. He already has 5 homers compared to 9 last year. If he keeps it up all season the Rangers will be one of the few teams with a true power threat from their middle infield.
#4 Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets: The guy I forgot about at the start of season got off to a blazing start hitting .337/.414/.600. It’s still early, but he’s young enough that he could be starting his breakout season in his sophomore year. He’ll be someone to keep an eye to see if he starts slipping, but right now he’s one of the few bright spots on a dismal Mets season.
#5 Jason Marquis, SP, Washington Nationals: Off to a great start with Nats with a 3-0 record, 2.62 ERA and 24 strikeouts against just 5 walks. If he keeps this up, it’ll be his best season ever. He won’t, but it’d be nice for him to climb back to his previous career of a occasionally borderline All-Star player. Regardless, he’s providing quality innings on a team that has been starved for them in recent seasons.
#6 Sam Fuld, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: In my last post I said he could become a folk hero type player in Tampa, and that’s exactly what he has become. The legend of Sam Fuld grows with each passing day as he makes diving plays in the outfield and maintains his solid batting line of .289/.358/.433. His success is still surprising and his age makes me question how long he can keep it up. I’ve seen too many hot Aprils followed by months of struggles to fully commit to Fuld, but the ride will be nice however long it lasts.
#7 Danny Valencia, 3B, Minnesota Twins: The definition of struggling right now, hitting just .217/.294/.315. The only saving grace at the plate is his strikeout to walk ratio which is about 1 to 1, which indicates he isn’t totally lost up there. I’d expect him to rebound soon, but if his struggles continue the bench could be in his future.
#8 Craig Breslow, RP, Oakland Athletics: 4.00 ERA in 9 innings, still a solid part of the A’s league leading pitching staff, but isn’t striking many people out yet, something to keep an eye on going forward.
#9 John Grabow, RP, Chicago Cubs: 4.63 ERA in 11 innings with 8 strikeouts and 7 walks. He’s ERA doesn’t burn the eyes yet, but give it time and it’ll likely creep past 5.00.
#10 Scott Feldman, SP, Texas Rangers: Still out with a knee injury, still hasn’t pitched yet this season and I still almost put him ahead of Grabow.
#11 Ryan Kalish, OF, Boston Red Sox: He’s still in the minors and off to a slow start in Pawtucket, batting .236/.300/.309. I still expect him to see some time in Boston this season, but maybe I’ll be waiting until next year for my Kalish dreams to come true.