Joey Votto and the 5 Best Left-Handed Hitters in MLB

John AltamuraContributor IIJuly 5, 2012

Joey Votto and the 5 Best Left-Handed Hitters in MLB

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    The 2012 MLB All-Star Game will showcase some of the best left-handed hitting talent in the game today. Players such as the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton and the New York Yankees' Robinson Cano will share the spotlight next Tuesday evening at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City. 

    Here are five of the best left-handed hitters who will be making an appearance at this year's Midsummer Classic. 

David Ortiz: 1B/DH, Boston Red Sox

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    One of the most consistent left-handed hitters in the American League over the years has been David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox.

    The 16-year veteran has put up respectable numbers in 2012, posting a .302 batting average with 22 homers and 55 RBI. 

    Ortiz is still a run-producing force, as he is currently second in MLB in runs scored (60), seventh in doubles (24) and sixth in OPS (.997).

    He even draws a significant amount of intentional walks, as he is currently tied for second (10) with David Wright of the New York Mets. 

    The seven-time All-Star has a career .284 batting average with 400 home runs and a .926 OPS. At 36, Ortiz is still an offensive force, but he is mostly limited to DH duty at this point in his career.  

Carlos Gonzalez: LF, Colorado Rockies

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    The Colorado Rockies have had a tough 2012 season to this point, posting a disappointing 31-50 record through play on Wednesday.

    One of the bright spots, however, has been the continued emergence of Carlos Gonzalez.

    The left-handed slugger has posted strong numbers in 2012 (.340 BA, 17 HR, 58 RBI). He is also third in MLB in runs scored (59), sixth in hits (102) and eighth in OPS (.994).

    His stellar first half has earned him his first appearance in the All-Star Game that will take place at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City next week.

    Gonzalez has a career .304 batting average in five seasons with the Rockies and the Oakland A's.

Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees

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    There are only a handful of left-handed hitters who hit for both average and power.

    One of those hitters is Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees. 

    Cano is putting up another season of impressive numbers, posting a .316 batting average with 20 home runs and 50 RBI.

    He also provides a well-balanced offensive attack, as he is currently seventh in hits (100), eighth in home runs (20) and ninth in runs scored (55). 

    He is one of the most versatile players in the Yankees' lineup, as manager Joe Girardi has successfully moved him up and down the batting order.

    Cano is a lifetime .308 hitter with an .851 OPS. He will be making his fourth appearance in the All-Star Game next week. 

Josh Hamilton: CF, Texas Rangers

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    One of the most feared left-handed hitters in baseball today is Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.

    He is once again putting up strong numbers in Arlington, posting a .318 batting average with 26 home runs and 74 RBI. 

    Hamilton is close to the top in several statistical categories, as he is second in home runs (26), first in RBI (74) and second in OPS (1.037).

    With a fifth All-Star appearance on the horizon and one AL MVP already in the trophy cabinet, it is safe to say Hamilton is one of the best.

    Hamilton has a .310 career batting average and 144 home runs in six seasons with the Rangers and the Cincinnati Reds. 

Joey Votto: 1B, Cincinnati Reds

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    One of the most consistent left-handed hitters over the past five seasons in MLB has been Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

    Votto has been the force powering the Big Red Machine this season, as he has posted a .350 batting average with 14 home runs and 47 RBI.

    Votto is close to the top in many statistical categories this season—he leads the majors in OPS (1.097) and doubles (34), is fourth in batting average (.350) and second in walks (60).

    These numbers have helped the Reds during the first half of the season. They enter play Thursday with a 44-37 record—one game behind the NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates.  

    Votto has a .317 career batting average with one NL MVP (2010) in his trophy case. He has averaged 31 home runs and 104 RBI during his six-year career with the Reds.

    The Canadian-born slugger will also be making his third All-Star appearance next week at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City.