The American League has always been home to some of baseball’s greatest hitters. So far in this 2011 season, there have been MVPs playing as well as they always have. There have been young hitters looking to prove that they belong. There has been some just trying to show the league that they still deserve some respect. This is a list of the most productive hitters in the American League as of May 2nd.
1) Jose Bautista – TOR
Bautista is out to prove that his 54 home runs in 2010 was no accident, and so far, he has proved any doubters wrong. Bautista has blasted 9 home runs, which is once again good for tops in the American League. In addition to his phenomenal power numbers, he is hitting a healthy .357 on the year. His RBI total is of some concern however, with only 16 to go with his 9 bombs, but he is tops in the league with 25 runs scored.
2) Miguel Cabrera – DET
Despite some off-the-field issues early on, Cabrera has proven his worth to the Tigers. The former MVP candidate is in the running again, sporting a .350 batting average for a Tigers team that could use all of the production it can get. Assuming Cabrera can stay focused on the field, look for him to impact the race for the AL Central title.
3) Ben Zobrist – TB
Zobrist has been the catalyst for the Rays’ offense this season, knocking in 25 runs, which is the best mark in the AL. Paired with 7 home runs, the Rays are willing to forgive his relatively low batting average of .260. His average has been climbing, however, after he’s spent 15 games this season with an average in the .100s.
4) Alex Gordon – KC
Somewhat of a surprise out of Kansas City so far has been the play of outfielder Alex Gordon. Gordon has hovered in the mid-.300s all season, and is currently hitting .339. Although Gordon does not showcase much power, look for him to stay a consistent bright spot in the Royal’s lineup. Watch out for his numbers to decline, however, as the Royals may be beginning to slump.
5) Paul Konerko – CHW
Konerko has played well for the struggling White Sox, batting .304 with 8 home runs and 24 runs knocked in. One has to wonder what his numbers will look like if the Sox can start to play better baseball. Konerko has been a consistent bat in Chicago’s lineup all season long, and he should continue t hit.
6) Robinson Cano – NYY
Last season’s MVP candidate is one of the most productive bats in the Yankee lineup, and that is saying something. He is hitting right along with his career average, a healthy .308. He has shown off his power, notching 6 homers and 19 RBIs. An area of concern is his walks, or lack of them. In 91 at-bats, Cano has walked only once. Regardless of that minor concern, Cano is still going to be a staple in fantasy baseball lineups for years to come.
7) Adrian Beltre – TEX
The big off-season acquisition for the Rangers has played up to expectations. The slugger has belted 7 home runs and batted in 23 runs. His average and on-base percentage have been unimpressive, however, hitting only .252 and reaching base at a .292 clip. If he can hit a little more consistently, he and the Rangers will benefit mightily.
8) Jeff Francoeur – KC
Could Francoeur finally be making a comeback? The former rookie-of-the-year candidate has spent a few dreadful years bouncing around the league. Perhaps he has finally found a spot that suits him in Kansas City, as he is hitting .308 so far. His walks are still down, and strikeouts can be an issue, but this kind of production out of Francoeur is good to see.
9) Michael Young – TEX
After he was almost dealt by the Rangers, Young started the season slumping. Since then, however, he has turned on the hits and has improved his stats drastically. Young is now batting .337 with 16 runs batted in. An area of concern, however, is his lack of long balls. In 101 at-bats this season, Young has yet to leave the yard.
10) Howard Kendrick – LAA
Kendrick has always been a solid bat for the Angels, but this year, he is looking to prove that he can provide a little more for the Halos. Never hitting more than 10 home runs in a season, Kendrick already has 6 in this young 2011 season. While his RBI numbers remain low, with only 12, he is batting a solid .304, and is worth keeping an eye on.