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Updating the Top 100 Hitters in Baseball

Doug MeadCorrespondent IMay 28, 2013

Updating the Top 100 Hitters in Baseball

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    If one were to peruse the Internet looking for lists of the 100 greatest hitters in MLB, they would find a myriad of charts and rankings.

    This particular list will have a bit of a different twist.

    Instead of choosing hitters based on previous exploits, awards, etc., the criteria for selection is that only statistics for the current year will be used.

    Throw away everything that happened before 2013, as this is about the here and now.

    For that reason, some surprise names don't make the cut. Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, Aramis Ramirez and others may be on many other lists, but not this one. Poor performance or injuries keep them on the outside looking in.

    Here is a list of the top 100 hitters in MLB right now.

Nos. 100-96

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    100. Jon Jay, St. Louis Cardinals

    Even though Jay has a hot prospect breathing down his neck and looking for his job in Oscar Taveras, he's putting those thoughts aside and producing thus far. Jay struggled in the month of April, causing manager Mike Matheny to drop him from the leadoff spot in the order. He's since shined, hitting a robust .321 in May with a healthy .834 OPS.

     

    99. John Buck, New York Mets

    While he's tailed off considerably in the month of May, Buck is still putting up numbers worthy of inclusion on this list. With 11 home runs and 33 RBI, Buck is well on his way to becoming the most productive catcher for the Mets since Mike Piazza.

     

    98. Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres

    The San Diego Padres haven't featured an explosive offense in the 2013, but first baseman Alonso is easily on a pace to surpass last year's numbers (.273 BA, 9 HR, 62 RBI). Alonso is hitting .282 with six home runs and 29 RBI, and a 20 HR/85 RBI season isn't out of the question.

     

    97. Garrett Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates

    He may not have a permanent home in the field, but it hasn't affected Jones at the plate for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alternating between first base and right field, Jones is currently hitting .279 with five home runs and 26 RBI—a pace that will have him close to matching last year's career highs (27 HR, 86 RBI).

    Jones isn't flashy nor the featured batter on his team, but his consistency at the plate is a trait that the Pirates certainly admire.

     

    96. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles

    Injuries last year kept Markakis from enjoying the first postseason in 15 years in Baltimore. So far in 2013, he's been injury free and producing once again. Hitting .305 with five home runs and 29 RBI, Markakis is a steady and consistent presence for the O's.

Nos. 95-91

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    95. Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

    While the power still hasn't returned, Morneau is at least producing. With 13 doubles and 33 RBI, Morneau is giving the Twins value offensively. Considering he's playing out his contract, he's providing thought for contending teams at this point.

     

    94. Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay Rays

    If Joyce can stay healthy, he's on track to put up better numbers (.263 BA, 8 HR, 20 RBI) than his lone All-Star season of 2011 (19 HR, 75 RBI). The Rays aren't a team that will blow past opponents solely with their bats, but Joyce at least gives them a solid presence in the middle of the order.

     

    93. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels

    The Angels have heated up over the past week despite the potent bats of Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols remaining largely silent. Kendrick has been a steady and consistent producer in the Angels lineup since 2009, and he's currently on pace to produce career highs in both home runs and RBI.

    With seven home runs and 29 RBI, Kendrick has been outstanding in providing protection from the No. 6 hole in the batting order.

     

    92. Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals

    Aside from David Ortiz, Butler has been one of the most consistent hitters as a DH over the past three years. That hasn't changed in 2013, either. While his .262 average is 36 points lower than his career mark, he's on pace to challenge last year's mark of 107 RBI with 30 runs driven in thus far.

     

    91. Torii Hunter, Detroit Tigers

    Hunter posted the best batting average of his career last year (.313), and he's matching that in 2013 already. Currently hitting just a point higher, Hunter has given the Tigers a terrific effort from the No. 2 spot in the batting order. The Tigers hit just .257 from the second spot in the order last year.

Nos. 90-86

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    90. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

    Bruce has become a main cog that helps drive the Reds offense, and this year is no different. Bruce has already produced 23 extra-base hits, including 16 doubles. His home-run power is down slightly, but on his current pace, Bruce could break the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his career.

     

    89. Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies

    Rosario is out to prove that his fourth-place finish in last year's National League Rookie of the Year balloting was not a fluke. His 28 home runs in the 2012 season were tops among all catchers, and he's already got nine home runs with 27 RBI through a third of this season as well.

     

    88. Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers

    Infante is obviously liking being back with the team that gave him his start in professional baseball. Infante traveled southeast for a few seasons with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins before coming back to Motown. In his second stint with the Tigers, he's hitting a healthy .308 and giving Detroit a solid presence in the middle of the infield.

     

    87. Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants

    Pence has not had a season that stands out offensively, but the numbers thus far give him a spot on this list. With seven home runs and 26 RBI through 51 games, Pence is on a pace that will have him finishing at or near his career 162-game averages of 25 home runs and 93 RBI.

     

    86. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

    Defensive issues aside, Zimmerman is still a threat with the bat. While his current numbers (.278 BA, 3 HR, 24 RBI) are on a pace a bit below his normal season stats (.287 BA, 25 HR, 97 RBI), Zimmerman is still a positive presence in a Nationals offense that has struggled mightily for much of the season.

Nos. 85-81

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    85. Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals

    Through the first third of the 2013 season, the St. Louis Cardinals have been the best team in baseball, and their pitching has been the main reason why. They haven't been too shabby on the offensive side, either, but Holliday still has yet to fully hit his stride.

    His .253 average is nearly 60 points off his career mark, and his six home runs with 28 RBI are also below his single-season norms. But even with diminished numbers, Holliday is worthy of a spot on this list.

     

    84. Nate McLouth, Baltimore Orioles

    The Baltimore Orioles brought McLouth back on a one-year, $2 million contract after he helped spark the O's to their first postseason berth in 15 seasons last year. It turns out his deal may be a vast underpay.

    Thus far, McLouth is hitting .289 and leading the American League with 15 steals. McLouth has been terrific at the top of the batting order, giving the middle of the batting order ample opportunity to be productive.

     

    83. Michael Bourn, Cleveland Indians

    Although he missed three weeks with a lacerated finger, Bourn has been everything the Indians envisioned when they signed him this offseason. His current .303 average is a major plus, and he's added eight steals at the top of the order to give the Indians an added dimension offensively.

     

    82. Vernon Wells, New York Yankees

    If anyone thought that Wells would have had a prominent spot on this list at the start of the season, they likely would have been deemed crazy. Yet Wells has been an important part of the Yankees offense with injuries to Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

    Wells will continue to be inserted in the lineup daily now that Granderson's back on the disabled list.

     

    81. Seth Smith, Oakland Athletics

    While he was expected to get most of his at-bats as a platoon option at designated hitter, Smith has largely played every day due to injuries to Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Young and Josh Reddick. Smith has made the most of those opportunities, now hitting .287 with five home runs and 23 RBI.

    While not the main cog in the A's offense, Smith has been a consistent producer throughout the first third of the season.

Nos. 80-76

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    80. Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres

    At 26 years of age, Cabrera has arrived. Leading the National League last year with 44 stolen bases in just 115 games, Cabrera is leading the majors with 19 thefts already in 2013, easily on pace to shatter last year's high-water mark.

    A .351 OBP and better plate discipline at the top of the batting order has been a plus as well.

     

    79. Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics

    While hitting just .242, Moss is supplying some power once again for the A's. His 26 RBI are second on the team behind Josh Donaldson. The 54 strikeouts are a concern, averaging one every three at-bats. But manager Bob Melvin would probably consider the solid production a decent trade-off.

     

    78. Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals

    Craig may not be bashing home runs for the Cardinals thus far with just three, but his .302 batting average with 36 RBI are indeed welcomed.

     

    77. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers

    After a tumultuous two years in Boston and working on recovering from Tommy John surgery, Crawford is back to being his pesky self at the top of the order for the Dodgers. Now hitting .308 with five home runs, 13 RBI and nine stolen bases, Crawford has certainly been a welcomed addition to a Dodgers lineup starving for a solid presence from the leadoff spot.

     

    76. Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals

    Cain has been a pleasant surprise for the Royals after an injury-riddled 2012 campaign. Cain is hitting .295 with one home run, 22 RBI and eight stolen bases thus far. 

    Manager Ned Yost has inserted Cain at every spot in the lineup except for third or cleanup, and Cain has continued producing no matter where he hits.

Nos. 75-71

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    75. Russell Martin, Pittsburgh Pirates

    After a horrible start to the season in which he hit just .086 in his first 11 games, Martin has righted the ship. Martin is now hitting .256 with six home runs and 12 RBI, and he has done a fabulous job in working with his new pitching staff through the first third of the season.

     

    74. Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays

    After being sent to Triple-A last season to work on his hitting mechanics, Lind seems to have straightened things out. He's currently hitting .304 with four home runs and 11 RBI. The production will come for Lind as long as he continues making progress with his swing.

     

    73. Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

    Brantley has been a bright spot in the batting order for the Indians. Hitting .323 in the month of May, Brantley has hiked his batting average up to .304 with 11 extra-base hits thus far. Brantley won't supply much power, but manager Terry Francona will take the average with a .356 OBP.

     

    72. Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics

    Just keeping Lowrie healthy is a challenge, and he's been able to keep himself on the field for the majority of the season thus far. In 47 games, Lowrie is hitting a healthy .302 with three home runs and 21 RBI. His .382 OBP is good for 15th in the American League as well.

     

    71. Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays

    After a breakout year in 2012 (.280 BA, 42 HR, 110 RBI), Encarnacion is producing once again. A five-RBI night against the Atlanta Braves certainly helped, and he's now hitting .256 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI.

Nos. 70-66

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    70. Daniel Murphy, New York Mets

    There aren't many bright spots in the Mets offense thus far in the 2013 season, but second baseman Murphy is at least trying. Hitting .299 with four home runs and 23 RBI, Murphy is one of a few bats in the lineup that manager Terry Collins can truly count on at this point.

     

    69. Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants

    Much like Jed Lowrie earlier on this list, keeping Sandoval healthy can be a challenge. But, again like Lowrie, Sandoval has indeed seen good health. In 50 games, he's hitting .290 with eight home runs and 34 RBI.

    If he maintains his health, Sandoval could possibly surpass his career highs of 25 home runs and 90 RBI set back in 2009.

     

    68. Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants

    A somewhat slow start to the 2013 season is a distant memory for Scutaro. He's now hitting a team-leading .323 with one home run and 12 RBI. Scutaro at 37 years of age is hitting better than he ever has at any point in his career.

     

    67. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

    With Utley now on the disabled list with an oblique strain, the Phillies will look to replace his offense. Utley was hitting .272 with seven home runs and 25 RBI at the time of his injury. Freddy Galvis will take the bulk of starts at second base in his absence.

     

    66. Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies

    After a 1-for-3 effort with two walks in Monday's 12-inning affair against the Houston Astros, Fowler is now hitting .279 with eight home runs and 18 RBI. Fowler came into his own last year with a .300 average, 13 home runs and 53 RBI. His current pace has him surpassing those numbers.

Nos. 65-61

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    65. Chris Johnson, Atlanta Braves

    Johnson's offensive efforts thus far have been absolutely terrific, especially considering he's splitting time at third base with Juan Francisco. Johnson is hitting .349 with three home runs and 14 RBI.

     

    64. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

    With two hits on Monday night, Freeman is now hitting .294 with three homers and 30 RBI. While the power hasn't materialized as of yet, Freeman could come close to matching his production of 94 RBI last season.

     

    63. Kendrys Morales, Seattle Mariners

    Morales played a major role in the Mariners' 9-0 whitewashing of the San Diego Padres on Monday. Morales collected three hits, scored twice and drove in two runs.

    His efforts raised his season numbers to .301 with six home runs, 28 RBI and a .859 OPS. Morales is clearly right at home playing at Safeco Field.

     

    62. Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners

    Seager did not collect a hit in the 9-0 win over the Padres, but his .270 average with six home runs and 23 RBI along with 16 doubles have him squarely on this list right beside his teammate Morales.

     

    61. Nick Punto, Los Angeles Dodgers

    While the Los Angeles Dodgers have been besieged by subpar efforts and injuries, a throwaway in last year's trade between the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox has been a bright spot offensively.

    Punto's .327 average and ability to help out on the left side of the infield have been a couple bright spots in an otherwise dismal season thus far for the Dodgers.

Nos. 60-56

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    60. Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox

    Having to settle on a $5 million deal rather than a lucrative $39 million contract because of hip concerns, Napoli thus far is making that deal look like a steal for the Red Sox.

    With a homer and two RBI in Monday's win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Napoli is now hitting .262 with eight home runs and 39 RBI on the season.

     

    59. David DeJesus, Chicago Cubs

    Not too many Cubs have made this list, but DeJesus gives them at least one of two solid names on this list. With 19 extra-base hits, DeJesus gives the Cubs an option beyond just getting on base.

     

    58. Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants

    It might have been hard to imagine seeing Crawford on a list like this at the beginning of the season. However, his offensive play in the first third of the season has been a pleasant surprise.

    Crawford is now hitting .286 with five home runs and 25 RBI after his 1-for-3 effort against the Oakland A's on Monday.

     

    57. Chase Headley, San Diego Padres

    With an offense that's been far from productive, it's not hard to believe that Chase Headley is the top Padre on this list, despite missing much of the first month of the season.

    Despite being held in check by Mariners pitcher Aaron Harang on Monday, Headley is hitting .262 with four home runs and 15 RBI. While well off last year's pace, the month of June should see Headley heating up quickly.

     

    56. Kelly Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays

    Johnson had himself a pretty special Memorial Day. Johnson homered twice and drove in six runs in the Rays' 10-6 win over the Miami Marlins. The superlative effort lifted Johnson's season totals to a .296 average with 10 home runs, 32 RBI and a .928 OPS.

Nos. 55-51

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    55. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

    Learning the nuances of a new position hasn't slowed down Carpenter's bat much. His 2-for-4 effort against the Kansas City Royals on Monday put him above the .300 mark (.303) with three home runs, 17 RBI and an .824 OPS for the season. Carpenter is now hitting .344 in the month of May.

     

    54. Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers

    Moreland is on track to set career highs with his current 10 home runs and 24 RBI. His .877 OPS, if sustained over the entire season, would also represent a career best.

     

    53. Lance Berkman, Texas Rangers

    Berkman has clearly shaken off the rust collected when he played in just 32 games last season. Now with a .288 average, four home runs, 28 RBI and an .835 OPS, Berkman has given the Rangers a solid option as the designated hitter.

     

    52. Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics

    Crisp has given the A's a great presence at the top of their batting order. His .383 OBP is certainly a plus, as well as his 18 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases.

     

    51. Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee Brewers

    Aoki doesn't do anything flashy on the field, nor does he give jazzy postgame interviews like fellow Japanese star Munenori Kawasaki. Aoki is once again displaying great skills and patience at the plate, hitting .307 with 18 walks against just 12 strikeouts.

Nos. 50-46

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    50. Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves

    The part-time player with an incredible story cracks the top 50 on this list. Playing interleague games definitely helps Gattis, who went 3-for-4 with a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. Gattis is now hitting .271 with 11 home runs, 31 RBI and a .931 OPS.

     

    49. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

    Rizzo continues to impress at the tender age of 23. The Cubs thought enough of Rizzo to sign him through at least the 2019 season, and he's thus far showing his appreciation with a .263 average, 10 home runs and 35 RBI.

     

    48. Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks

    At the beginning of the season, it appeared that Parra was a man without an everyday job, destined to start maybe once or twice a week and be used as a defensive replacement.

    But injuries to both Adam Eaton and Cody Ross at the start of the season saw Parra in the lineup every day, and his play has kept him there. Parra is now hitting .307 with four home runs and 13 RBI.

    Manager Kirk Gibson will have some decisions to make when all of his outfielders are completely healthy.

     

    47. Didi Gregorius, Arizona Diamondbacks

    Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers knew that Gregorius was an outstanding defensive shortstop when he acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds this offseason. But the bat was somewhat of an issue.

    Thus far, Gregorius is quieting those concerns. He is now hitting .324 with four home runs and 11 RBI, making Towers look very smart in the process.

     

    46. Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians

    Swisher hasn't just provided solid production thus far, he's absolutely helped in bringing a new attitude to Cleveland. Now hitting .273 with seven home runs, 19 RBI and an .867 OPS, Swisher has given the Indians the same steady production he provided over the past several seasons with the New York Yankees.

Nos. 45-41

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    45. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

    He's the shortest member of his team, yet he stands tall among other members of the Houston Astros. As the only Astro to crack this list, Altuve has hit .311 with two home runs and 21 RBI. He could well be the only All-Star representative for the Astros once again.

     

    44. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

    A trip to the disabled list doesn't keep Kinsler off this list. In fact, he was well on his way to an outstanding season before being hobbled by a rib injury, hitting .302 with seven home runs and 20 RBI.

     

    43. Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

    In his first full major league season, Marte is quickly proving to be a perfect complement to Andrew McCutchen in the Pirates outfield. In fact, Marte has developed into a five-tool player with his .305 average, five home runs, 18 RBI, .829 OPS and 13 stolen bases.

     

    42. Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers

    With his four-hit effort against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, Peralta vaulted himself up into the top five batters in the American League. His .341 average is now tied for second in the American League. Not too shabby for a guy playing for a contract.

     

    41. Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels

    Trumbo is once again supplying plenty of power for the Angels. Shuffling between designated hitter, first base and both corner outfield spots hasn't hurt Trumbo at all, now hitting .274 with 11 home runs, 34 RBI and an .838 OPS.

Nos. 40-36

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    40. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

    A slow start to the 2013 season was a complete reversal for McCutchen. Considering his second-half slowdowns of the past two seasons, McCutchen dug himself into a hole offensively far earlier this year.

    However, he's started to turn things around, now hitting .293 with seven home runs, 27 RBI and an .830 OPS.

     

    39. Eric Chavez, Arizona Diamondbacks

    Although he was signed as a backup this offseason, a case could be made for Chavez as the offensive MVP for the Diamondbacks through the first third of the season.

    Chavez hasn't played full-time, but he's delivered numbers that are worthy of any full-time player with a .325 average, seven home runs and 25 RBI.

     

    38. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles

    Jones continues to help drive the Orioles offense, but this year he's been supplanted by Chris Davis as the chief offensive weapon. That's not to say that Jones has struggled, as a .324 average, 10 home runs, 35 RBI and .896 OPS would hardly be called struggling by any definition.

     

    37. Travis Hafner, New York Yankees

    Considering his injury history over the past five seasons, you would have been excused if you thought that Hafner wouldn't sniff this list. However, Hafner has remained healthy, and the Yankees are reaping the benefits. Hafner is hitting .260 with eight home runs, 25 RBI and an .893 OPS thus far.

     

    36. James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays

    "Wow" is the word that would describe Loney's performance thus far. He signed a low-ball contract with the Rays in hopes he could play himself into a larger deal down the road.

    Loney is now hitting .335 with four home runs, 24 RBI and an .892 OPS. If he had put up those kind of numbers last year, he would likely still be a Dodger.

Nos. 35-31

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    35. Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox

    The White Sox may be at or near the bottom of several offensive categories in the American League, but it's certainly not the fault of Rios' play.

    He's hitting .289 with 10 home runs, 28 RBI and an .867 OPS, and he has arguably been the most consistent producer offensively for the White Sox in the first third of the season.

     

    34. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles

    In just his first full MLB season, Machado has already drawn comparisons to fellow young prodigies Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. With another three hits against the Washington Nationals on Monday, Machado is now hitting .335 with five home runs, 28 RBI and an .888 OPS.

     

    33. Daniel Nava, Boston Red Sox

    Thrust into the everyday lineup due to injuries and the poor play of rookie Jackie Bradley Jr., Nava has made the most of the opportunity.

    Nava is hitting .289 with six home runs, 32 RBI and an .856 OPS. Being able to stay healthy and provide solid production will continue to give Nava plenty of opportunities to prove he's worthy of selection to this list.

     

    32. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds

    While not necessarily a prototypical cleanup hitter, Phillips is certainly producing like one. Phillips leads the National League with 43 RBI and has proven to be a terrific option in the No. 4 spot in the batting order for the Reds.

     

    31. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

    Santana has cooled considerably in the month of May with a .198 average, but the current .285 mark with eight home runs, 22 RBI and .919 OPS have certainly been a welcomed sight for the Indians.

Nos. 30-26

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    30. Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies

    Cuddyer was a steady offensive contributor throughout his time with the Minnesota Twins, and he's proving to be the same for the Rockies.

    Cuddyer was first slowed by a neck injury, and he was slowed this week by a wrist injury. However, he's still hitting .323 with eight home runs, 29 RBI and a .994 OPS.

     

    29. Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds

    If you were to poll Reds fans about whether they think Choo has been a nice addition for the Reds, I'd gather to say that 95 percent would answer in the affirmative.

    Choo has contributed a .290 average, 10 home runs and 20 RBI with a .967 OPS. The Reds will take that from their leadoff hitter any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

     

    28. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

    The hitting machine is at it again. Mauer is fourth in the American League in hitting with a .339 average. He's contributed four home runs, 16 RBI and 17 doubles as well. His current .415 on-base percentage is exactly what he produced last year when he led the American League.

     

    27. Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians

    Reynolds has given the Indians plenty of pop with 12 home runs and 40 RBI, easily in the top 10 in both categories in the American League. The strikeout rate is even a tad lower as well.

     

    26. Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers

    Now the focal point of the offense with the departures of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli, Beltre is on pace to post his third consecutive season with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI.

    Currently with a .288 average, 10 home runs and 31 RBI, Beltre has given the Rangers exactly what they were looking for offensively thus far.

25. Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals

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    At 36 years of age, Carlos Beltran is past his prime—but his body hasn't gotten that message yet.

    Beltran is now hitting .289 with 10 home runs, 29 RBI and an .826 OPS. Even though little nagging injuries get in his way, Beltran pushes forward and produces nonetheless.

    At this rate, Beltran could earn himself at least one more nice contact before he rides off into the sunset.

24. Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals

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    While the Kansas City Royals have stumbled through the month of May with a 7-17 record, blame can't be laid at the feet of left fielder Alex Gordon.

    Gordon delivered another two hits in Monday's loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Currently with a .338 average, Gordon ranks fifth in the American League. He's also added six home runs, 31 RBI and 19 extra-base hits.

23. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

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    The St. Louis Cardinals are at the top of the standings in the majors, and catcher Yadier Molina is once again showing his worth offensively as well as defensively.

    Molina sparked his team with a two-run home run on Monday in the first inning of the Cardinals game against the Kansas City Royals.

    Molina later doubled and ended his day with four runs batted in. Now hitting .346 with three home runs and 27 RBI, Molina is much more than just a pretty face behind the plate.

22. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    While the Los Angeles Dodgers are stumbling along and just about everyone on the planet is wondering about Don Mattingly's job security, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is doing his part to make sure his team remains somewhat credible.

    Gonzalez had a banner night against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday, going 4-for-4 while scoring four runs.

    That brought Gonzalez's average up to .337, good for fourth in the National League. His six home runs, 37 RBI and .910 OPS have also been welcomed additions to a team desperate for offense.

21. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

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    Dustin Pedroia has yet to miss a game this season for the Boston Red Sox. Judging by the way he's playing, it's likely he won't miss a day anytime soon.

    Pedroia connected for a two-run home run off Philadelphia Phllies pitcher Tyler Cloyd in the first inning Monday, leading the Red Sox to a 9-3 victory.

    Pedroia is now hitting .333 with three home runs, 27 RBI and an .873 OPS. He is once again a force in the offense in leading the Red Sox to a 32-20 record and first-place standing in the AL East.

20. Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers

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    Speaking of not missing any games, Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder has been a modern-day iron man of sorts. He's missed just one game in the past four-plus seasons, and his production hasn't faltered because of it.

    Fielder is third in the American League with 42 RBI, 15 behind teammate Miguel Cabrera. His .275 average has tailed off since his torrid start, but he's absolutely on pace for yet another 30 HR/100 RBI season.

    Along with Miguel Cabrera, it's difficult to find another hitting tandem more productive in the majors.

19. Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers

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    In several years, the trade that saw Zack Greinke dealt to the Los Angeles Angels could be looked at as one of the most lopsided in MLB history.

    That is, if Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura continues to play like he has over the first two months of this season.

    The Angels swapped out three of their top-25 organizational prospects for Greinke's services last July. Segura was the player the Brewers most wanted, and for good reason.

    Thus far, Segura sits second in the National League with a .347 batting average, just four points behind league leader Joey Votto. He's also tied for second with 14 stolen bases, and 10th with a .942 OPS.

    It's safe to say the Brewers are more than pleased with the results of that trade thus far.

18. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

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    Bryce Harper is currently dealing with bursitis in his left knee and will miss at least the first two games of the interleague series with the Baltimore Orioles.

    That's bad news for the Washington Nationals, who continue to sputter offensively.

    Harper has already dealt with injuries this season, mainly because of a meeting with an immovable object—yet he's still hitting .287 with 12 home runs, 23 RBI and a .973 OPS.

    Now that's one tough hombre.

17. David Wright, New York Mets

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    New York Mets third baseman David Wright is watching his team sink further and further away from postseason contention, and there's little he can do about it.

    But he's certainly trying.

    Wright continues to produce despite his team's woes, hitting .291 with seven home runs and 29 RBI. He's played in every game thus far, leading his team by example with his all-around hustle and gritty style of play.

    Too bad it hasn't rubbed off on his teammates.

16. Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics

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    Not enough can be said about the offensive exploits of third baseman Josh Donaldson thus far in the 2013 season.

    He won the third base job outright at midseason last year and has elevated his game in 2013.

    Donaldson is now fourth in the AL with a .950 OPS, which is pretty heady stuff for a guy who's been a regular contributor on an everyday basis for less than a year.

15. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

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    After winning the National League batting title and Most Valuable Player Award last year, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is again giving a quality effort offensively.

    His .310 average is 10th in the league, and his seven home runs and 30 RBI have him on a pace close to last year's 24 homers and 103 RBI.

    Add to that 12 doubles and a .926 OPS, and it's clear that Posey continues to show he's one of the elite hitters in the majors.

14. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

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    On pace for a 30 HR/100 RBI season, New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is stating a case for a lucrative long-term contract.

    While his teammates are having a hard time staying healthy around him, Cano has yet to miss a game and has been his usual steady self offensively, hitting .290 with 13 home runs and 34 RBI.

    It's hard to imagine the Yankees passing on signing Cano to a multi-year deal, but you can bet your bottom dollar that many other teams are salivating at the chances.

13. Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers

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    The Milwaukee Brewers feature a pitching staff that's literally falling apart. Their 4.58 ERA is the worst in the National League, and their 5.29 ERA from the starting rotation is at the bottom as well.

    But offensively, they've found a star in center fielder Carlos Gomez.

    Gomez collected another two hits in Monday's loss to the Minnesota Twins, including his 10th home run of the season.

    He's now fifth in the NL with a .331 average and fourth with a .987 OPS.

    With a 19-30 record, it's hard to imagine the Brewers making the postseason with the current cast of characters on their pitching staff.

    But fans can at least watch the continuing emergence of Gomez as a legitimate star in MLB.

12. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

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    Despite not having enough at-bats to qualify for offensive leader boards, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is already among league leaders in several categories.

    He's averaging over an RBI a game thus far, and his .346 average would place him second in the American League.

    His cranky Achilles tendons don't appear to be much of an issue—Ortiz stole third base twice last week, the only times he's ever done so in his entire career.

11. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Returning from wrist surgery last August, Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista is picking up right where he left off.

    No one has hit more home runs in the past three seasons, and Bautista is continuing to put balls out of the park at a decent clip. He's currently hit 11 long balls along with 27 RBI and a robust .968 OPS.

    Any fears of lingering effects from last year's wrist woes have certainly died down for Bautista.

10. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

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    With three players among the top 25 on this list, the Milwaukee Brewers are certainly well-represented.

    Tops among them is left fielder Ryan Braun, who continues to shine offensively.

    Braun is hitting .310 with nine home runs, 33 RBI and a .947 OPS. While this pace would have him a bit lower than his 162-game average for those statistics, they're certainly good enough to land him high on this list.

9. Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves

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    While he's cooled off in the month of May, Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton still leads the National League with 14 home runs. Upton is just three bombs away from matching last year's home-run production.

    The Braves haven't had to rely on his production as much this month—with others such as Evan Gattis, Brian McCann and Chris Johnson making significant contributions as well—but much of Atlanta's hot start can be attributed to Upton, and he's on pace to share career highs in several offensive categories.

8. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

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    A note to all opponents of the Los Angeles Angels: Watch out, because Mike Trout is beginning to heat up.

    Trout got off to a somewhat slow start, considering what he delivered last season. But he's been red-hot in the month of May, hitting .354 with eight home runs, 21 RBI, eight stolen bases and a 1.161 OPS.

    Add to that hitting for the cycle for the first time in his career and you have a player on fire.

    Trout's 36 RBI now have him seventh in the American League, his .950 OPS is fifth and 12 stolen bases are fourth.

    And it's still early. Scary.

7. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Thus far in the 2013 season, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is putting up all-around numbers worthy of MVP consideration.

    Longoria is now hitting .323 with nine home runs, 30 RBI and a .941 OPS.

    Just imagine what the Rays offense would look like without Longoria in the lineup. The Rays were two games under .500 without him last year.

6. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

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    In years past, Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez took a lot of criticism for his extreme home/road splits.

    The same can't be said of this year, however.

    After a 3-for-6 effort against the Houston Astros on Monday, Gonzalez is now hitting a robust .340 away from Coors Field with eight home runs and 15 RBI. His OPS away from home (1.049) is over 100 points higher than his .930 OPS at home.

    Well, scratch that weakness off his list.

5. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

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    Joey Votto's ability to find a way to get on base is at the forefront once again in the 2013 season.

    His .475 OBP easily leads the National League, and his 1.030 OPS is tops in the league as well.

    Oh, and his .353 batting average also happens to lead the NL.

    An on-base machine for sure, but Votto doesn't just rely on his major league-leading 44 walks to find his way on base—he can hit a little, too.

4. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

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    Troy Tulowitzki collected just one hit in six at-bats in Monday's 12-inning loss to the Houston Astros, but it hardly diminishes his accomplishments at the plate thus far.

    After a frustrating season that saw him miss 115 games with a groin injury, Tulowitzki is clearly back on track, now hitting .323 with 10 home runs, 39 RBI and a .975 OPS.

    Clearly the most productive shortstop in baseball, Tulowitzki is now stating a case as one of the best all-around players in MLB.

3. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    In just his second full season in the majors, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has clearly arrived.

    A .324 average, 12 home runs, 40 RBI and 1.002 OPS have Goldschmidt easily in the top 10 in each category.

    At just 25 years of age, Goldschmidt has already established himself not only as the main producer in the Diamondbacks offense, but also as an elite hitter in the majors.

2. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

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    When Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter gave infielder Chris Davis the chance to play every day, Davis shined, setting career highs last year with 33 home runs and 85 RBI.

    Thus far in 2013, he's on a pace to easily shatter those marks.

    Davis started out hot with four home runs and 16 RBI in his first four games. He hasn't slowed down much since. Davis is now hitting .337 with 16 home runs, 46 RBI and a 1.153 OPS.

    He attributes his recent success to a different approach at the plate, one preached to him by O's hitting coach Jim Presley.

    Davis told Chris Toman of MLB.com that Presley has taught him to let the ball come to him in the zone, rather than trying to pull everything.

    "I wasn't trying to pull everything; it wasn't by design," Davis said. "I just didn't know what it meant to let the ball travel and really go the other way."

    To break it down simply, Davis is letting the ball come to him. And he's making the most of it.

1. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

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    Come on, you didn't really think anyone else would be on top of this list, did you?

    Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is leading two of the three Triple Crown categories and is second in the other.

    Also consider that no player in baseball history has ever captured the Triple Crown back-to-back.

    Cabrera could be forging ahead with an epic season indeed.

     

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

    Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.

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