All-Star Balloting: Berkman Finds the Top Spot in the NL as the Season Wears On

Lance Berkman

Lance Berkman has had an impressive season.

As the MLB season continues into summer, pitchers and hitters are beginning to find their groove. While some have shown that they would not live up to their April projections, others are vying for the top spot as they step up. May is wrapping up, and time will tell what June, and the rest of the summer, has in store for the best hitters in the National League. These are the power rankings of the best bats in the National League as of May 29.

1) Lance Berkman – STL (Last Week: 5)

One of the few stars in the National League that has not hit the brakes in May, Berkman did not have as productive a month as he did in April, but still hit a respectable .293, putting his overall average to .354. The production has declined, however, with only 3 home runs this month, compared to 8 in April. The RBI numbers have seen some decline as well, but Berkman is still the best the NL has to offer.

2) Joey Votto – CIN (LW: 1)

Hitting .333 on the year has not saved the slumping Cincinnati Reds. Votto’s power draught in May has hurt the Reds’ chances; Votto has still gone yard only once in the May. He has still hit consistently over the season, but the Reds may need more production out of him, Brandon Philips, and the suddenly red-hot Jay Bruce to bring themselves out of their current funk.

3) Matt Holliday – STL (LW: 2)

While Holliday is hitting over 100 points lower than what he was able to do in April, he has still hit a respectable .284 this month, remaining a key factor in the St. Louis lineup. His home run production has been sporadic, spreading out 6 this season, so if you are looking for power in your Fantasy Baseball League, you may want to look elsewhere.

4) Ryan Braun – MIL (LW: 6)

Braun saw a rough stretch early in May, but his average has since been climbing as the Brewers are beginning to find their stride. The Brew Crew are 16-5 since a 7 game losing streak to start the month of May, and the production of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder has been a big reason why. Look for Braun to play a key role in the Brewers season.

5) Matt Kemp – LAD (LW: 4)

Kemp has stayed in the mix of the best National League players all season long. After a tremendous April, however, the Dodger centerfielder has seen his May average drop over 100 points, down to .250 in May. His production has stayed consistent, hitting 6 home runs in each of the season’s first two months, and spreading 35 RBIs over the course of the year.

6) Prince Fielder – MIL (LW: 3)

Prince Fielder has been hard to figure out this season, putting up multiple hits in some games and going 0-for the next. While Fielder is a must-play in any Fantasy Baseball League, he can be somewhat of a frustrating all-or-nothing option. Keep an eye on Fielder to see if he hits more consistently for the streaking Brewers.

7) Gaby Sanchez – FLA (LW: 7)

Floating his way towards the top of this list has been Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez has dragged his overall average up to .314 by hitting .333 in the month of May. After knocking in only 10 runs in April, Sanchez has more than doubled that production with 21 RBIs in May, and has become the centerpiece to the Marlins’ lineup.

8) Jay Bruce – CIN (LW: NR)

The hottest hitter in this week’s power rankings, and perhaps the hottest hitter in the National League, is the Reds’ Jay Bruce. After sputtering to start the season, Bruce has whacked 10 home runs in May, bringing his total to 15, good enough for the top spot in the NL. Paired with those homers, he has 29 RBIs in May alone, and needs to start for any fantasy team.

9) Jose Reyes – NYM (LW: 9)

Reyes keeps on hitting, and keeps improving his trade value. While the run production and power are nothing to speak of, Reyes gets on base and steals bases, with 19 swipes so far this season. It will be interesting to see where Reyes may end up if the Mets’ self-destructing front office decides to deal him away.

10) Hunter Pence – HOU (LW: NR)

While the Astros are proving no one wrong with their lack of wins, Hunter Pence has turned some heads with what he is able to do for the struggling ‘Stros lineup. Hitting a respectable .304, fans may be surprised to see that Pence is 4th in the league in RBIs with 38. One has to wonder what he would do with a better team, and question that may be answered soon enough.

 

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