MLB Out of the Box - Biggest Performances of Week One
The first week of the 2009 Major League Baseball season is in the books. The division races are close and all teams are trying to play their best baseball after Spring Training has come to an end.
Here is some much-deserved love for the top players in each division that are helping their teams off to a great start. If these players keep playing at such an esteemed level, their team will keep putting up numbers in the win column.
AL East - Evan Longoria - 3B - Tampa Bay Rays
Coming off his Rookie of the Year season, Longoria picked right back up where he started. In a tough AL East division, the Rays will be battling all year for a playoff spot. If Longoria keeps it up, they will see the postseason.
Longoria is in the top five of all offensive categories in the American League so far (batting average, home runs, RBI, slugging, OBP, and OBS) and he is first in home runs (5) and slugging (1.185)
He is batting .481 and has even shown some speed when he stole a base against the Orioles on Sunday. Too early to make any MVP predictions, but I'm going to be watching Longoria all season.
AL Central - Miguel Cabrera - 1B - Detroit Tigers
At only 25 years old, Cabrera has already established himself as one of the most feared batters to face in the entire country.
So far this year, he is batting .520 and has had five games with at least two hits. He is in the top three in the American League in batting average, RBI (10), slugging (.960), home runs (3), OPS (1.546), and leads the league in on-base percentage (.586).
The 2009 Tiger team is stacked with offensive power—Carlos Guillen, Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez—but it is Cabrera that is leading the way this season.
AL West - Endy Chavez - OF - Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are off to a hot start, 5-2, and the credit is mostly due to the little-known outfielder by the name of Endy Chavez.
Though only average career numbers, Chavez is off to his best start in 2009. He has gotten a hit in all seven of the Mariners games including two games with three hits apiece.
Because he bats from the lead-off spot, his RBI are way down, but he is doing his part. It is up to his supporting cast to bring him around to score. He has been on-base 13 times so far but has only scored four runs.
Chavez has also stolen three bases so far this year, good enough for second in the American League.
It is also worth noting that none other than Ken Griffey Jr. is back in Seattle. Though his batting average is miserable, .133, it almost brought tears to my eyes to see him smack one out of the park in his first game back in a Mariners uniform.
NL East - Emilio Bonifacio - 2B - Florida Marlins
What an opening day it was for this Dominican-born middle in-fielder! Batting lead-off against the Washington Nationals, he went 4-for-5 while knocking in two runs and scoring four of his own.
He also recorded his first career home run off of Tavarez in the fourth inning. Oh yea, he also stole three bases in the game.
After six games of play, the Marlins are 5-1 and Bonifacio is the key to their fast start. He is batting .500 in the lead-off spot and leads the National League with nine runs and four stolen bases.
NL Central - Ryan Theriot - SS - Chicago Cubs
Will this be the year the Cubbies finally break the curse? Probably not, but their playing well to start the season off and much of it has to do with Theriot.
This Baton Rouge native is riding a six game hit streak to start the season off ( his last five games he's recorded two hits apiece). The Cubs are 4-2 so far and Theriot is playing the best baseball of his career.
He is first in the National League in batting average (.550), on-base percentage (.615), and OPS (1.315). He has also stolen a pair of bases and has shown great plate discipline on his way to five walks so far this year.
If the Cubs want to break the curse, Theriot must continue to get on base and the rest of the Cubbies must bring him in. He has been on base 16 times but has only scored four runs.
Where you are you, Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez? Alfonso Soriano, keep up the good work (four home runs and seven RBI).
NL West - Troy Tulowitzki - SS - Colorado Rockies
Tulowitzki is playing exceptionally well in a weak NL West division. His Rockies are off to a slow start however, 3-3, but that average record has little to do with his performance so far.
He is leading the NL in home runs (3) and is second in slugging percentage (.842). He has been on-base in each of the Rockies six games and has scored five runs, good enough for ninth in the National League.
If other players on his team step up, the rockies will explode for more runs than Coors Field has ever seen. I'm talking to you, Garrett Atkins and Todd Helton.