The Brewers have fallen off and the St. Louis Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the National League. Led by two superb bats that do not belong to Albert Pujols, the Cards have one of the scariest lineups in the game. But the Cardinal bats are not the only ones showing what they can do. There are a few established superstars continuing their good work, as well as some surprises taking fantasy baseball by storm. This is a list of the hottest bats in the National League as of May 9th.
1) Lance Berkman – STL (Last Week: 2)
Berkman has been the surprise of the 2011 season. Hitting an incredible .374 into the month of April, the 25-year old leads the Majors with 32 runs batted in, and ranks among the top sluggers with 10 home runs early on. Time will tell if the veteran can keep up his good work for the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals, who also leads the league in slugging percentage and OPS.
2) Matt Holliday – STL (LW: 5)
Not to be outdone by his veteran counterpart, Holliday is leading the Majors in batting average, with a mark of .398. Some thought that Holliday was just off to a hot start that may begin to fade away after missing the first few games of the season; he has proven the doubters wrong. Holliday could legitimately have a shot at not only winning the batting title, but perhaps eclipsing the .400 mark.
3) Ryan Braun – MIL (LW: 1)
The Milwaukee Brewers are struggling, and as much as he is trying to hold them up, Ryan Braun has hit a bit of a bump along with them. However, Braun’s stats have not completely fallen off. He is still sporting an average over .300 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs, but in the month of May, he has only 2 hits in 25 at-bats, so look out for Braun’s fantasy baseball numbers over the next few weeks.
4) Andre Ethier – LAD (LW: 8)
With his 30-game hit streak at an end, the buzz surrounding Ethier may begin to wear off. However, baseball fans should keep an eye on Ethier as he continues to hit and hit well. Ethier did not scratch by as his streak progressed, accumulating eleven multi-hit games during his streak. With the streak over, look for Ethier to continue his good work, improving his stalwart .371 batting average.
5) Placido Polanco – PHI (LW: 9)
Polanco has filled the void in the lineup that second baseman Chase Utley has left admirably. The 35-year-old third baseman in hitting a remarkable .364 so far this season, a mark that should only get better once the Phillies lineup can get healthy. Look for Polanco to keep up the good work as a centerpiece in the Philadelphia lineup.
6) Joey Votto – CIN (LW: 4)
The MVP is beginning to drop off a bit, but that does not keep his numbers from looking impressive. The slugging first baseman is hitting .333, but the power numbers remain low. Votto still has only 5 home runs, and has not hit one since April 27. He also has only 18 RBIs. While the Cincinnati Reds are happy with what Votto has produced, they would like a little more.
7) Matt Kemp – LAD (LW: 3)
Matt Kemp has been outshined by the hitting streak that Andre Ethier was able to put together, but Kemp has been a key piece to the Dodgers lineup, outshining Ethier in both home runs and RBIs. Kemp is hitting an impressive .338 with 6 home runs, and 21 runs knocked in. Kemp may take over the spotlight in LA as Ethier’s streak concludes.
8) Prince Fielder – MIL (LW: 6)
Prince Fielder has been struggling right along with Ryan Braun and the rest of the Brewers. With only 2 hits in 25 at-bats in May, Fielder is a contributing factor in the Brewers 1-7 record over that span. Fielder and the Brewers will find a way out of their current slump, and his fantasy baseball numbers will start to bounce back up in due time.
9) Ike Davis – NYM (LW: NR)
The sophomore first baseman for the Mets has continued to impress for the last-place New York Mets. Along with Jose Reyes, Davis has been a key piece of Mets production. Once David Wright, Jason Bay, and Carlos Beltran can start hitting for a little more consistency, Davis’ numbers may start to inflate, so keep an eye on the young slugger.
10) Ryan Howard – PHI (LW: NR)
Howard keeps on finding a way to impress. While the home run numbers may be falling, Howard is showing his maturity, finding a way to drive in runs with more than just the long ball. Second in the league with 30 RBIs, Howard continues to be the big bat that supports the Phillies offense. Look for Howard to produce another good year.