AL East: Top 10 Sluggers in the Division

Dustin HullAnalyst IMay 31, 2013

AL East: Top 10 Sluggers in the Division

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    The American League East is known for being the most dangerous division in all of baseball.

    And on the roster of these fine franchises is an assortment of intimidating hitters, guys who can spread their hits all over the field...and out of it as well.

    Among these premier batters is a good dose of power, with every team (Baltimore, Boston, New York, Tampa Bay, and Toronto) having a guy who hits pitches into the stands on a regular basis.

    There are several guys in the division with plenty of pop, but here are the top sluggers it has to offer.

10. Adam Jones, CF, Baltimore Orioles

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    Certainly one of the best young players in the division, Adam Jones has become a very complete player in Baltimore.

    His 6'3", 225 lbs frame (per Baseball Reference) explains why the athletic Jones has such a big power stroke. His swing is a thing of beauty, leading to the 32 home runs that Jones had in 2012.

    And his power hasn't faded this year, either. He is nearly at the same pace as he was last season, and his RBI totals (currently at 35) could end up exceeding the 82 he had in 2012.

    Jones may be only 27, but he is playing like an outfielder deep into his prime and should only increase his power numbers over the next few years.

9. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Evan Longoria has been a godsend for the Tampa Bay Rays.

    He provides great defense at third base, has hit for a high average (.311 after Thursday) and is the franchise cornerstone for the years to come.

    But his power has also been quite a lift for the Rays, as he's nearly reached double digits in home runs this season and hit 17 home runs in just 74 games last season.

    Longoria is finally 100 percent, and that is reason for Tampa Bay's rivals in the AL East to have major concerns now and in the future

8. David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox

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    David Ortiz had injury problems last year that limited him to only 90 games. This season, Big Papi has been able to stay healthy and has made the most of it.

    His home runs haven't come at the same rate as they have in the past, but he is once again making his presence known as one of the most feared hitters in the division.

    Ortiz has also managed to hit for a great average, showing even at 37 that he is one of the biggest forces to be reckoned with.

    Ortiz will be the key for the Red Sox's hopes of staying in the AL East race this season, and so far Ortiz has put his team in the thick of things.

7. Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees

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    If this list were based on the top hitters in all facets, Robinson Cano would be much higher.

    Cano has one of the most naturally beautiful swings in all of the game, and he has the proper uppercut to send baseballs over the fence across the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

    Cano finished with 33 home runs last year, a season after he had 114 RBI. He is a perennial All-Star and has more power than any other second baseman in the league.

    As the usual second hitter in the Yankees lineup, Cano has the perfect blend of hitting for contact and power, and his numbers should only increase when guys like Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter return from injury.

6. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees

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    Though he may not even be close to the same type of talent that he was in his heyday, Alex Rodriguez will certainly add a strong share of pop to the Yankee lineup when he returns.

    A-Rod hasn't come close to a full season since he played 158 games way back in 2007, and he hit 54 home runs that year.

    Since then, he was able to keep himself very productive but had only 18 home runs in 122 games last season. Even with his injuries, though, Rodriguez still is a huge threat to go yard any time he's healthy.

    And hopefully for A-Rod and the Yankees, that will be soon. After all, this is not only one of the better power hitters in the AL East, but also one of the best to ever play the game.

5. Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees

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    Mark Teixeira is yet another Yankee out of the lineup early this season, sucking away an immense amount of power from the Bronx Bombers.

    Teixeira has averaged nearly 34 home runs a year during his career, which has spanned over a decade (the last four in New York). But Teixeira played his lowest number of games in a year last season, and he will play even fewer in 2013.

    But with his return to the Yankees, New York will have another power source, one with 338 career home runs and 1,101 total RBI.

    Even though Teixeira is 33 and coming out of his premier years in the league, when healthy, he can be as dynamic a power hitter as anyone in the AL East.

4. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Edwin Encarnacion wasn't ever known as the biggest power supply in the Toronto lineup. But 2012 changed all of that.

    Encarnacion, after never having more than 26 home runs in a season, made the most of the career-best 151 games he played for the Jays in 2012.

    His 42 home runs and 110 RBI were an incredible boost to a lineup already packed with power bats. His 14 round-trippers this season put him close to being on pace for yet another 40-homer season.

    He forms an incredible 1-2 punch in the lineup with Jose Bautista, a tough task for any pitcher to get through. And they don't seem to be slowing down any whatsoever.

3. Curtis Granderson, CF, New York Yankees

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    Even on a big field like Comerica Park, Curtis Granderson was able to produce runs and knock balls out of the yard with frequency.

    Then he came to New York, and it was there that his home run potential was taken to the next level. Between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Granderson had an astonishing 84 home runs.

    The injury bug has kept Granderson off the field, striking again just when he was back in uniform. It will be another four weeks before he can return for the Yankees.

    And New York will be waiting, eager for the return of a player still in his prime, who can provide his club with the production to help it get over the top for its 28th World Series title.

2. Jose Bautista, RF, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Jose Bautista broke onto the scene with an incredible 2010 season, and he hasn't stopped launching baseballs into space since.

    He followed his 54 home runs of 2010 with 43 more in 2011, combining for 227 RBI in those two seasons and becoming considered by some as the best hitter in the game.

    Bautista, due to injury, played only 92 games in 2012, but he still managed 27 home runs in that short amount of time. And here in 2013, even though his power numbers have slightly declined, he is still smoking hits to every place in the park.

    He is still known as one of the most dangerous hitters in the game, and if Toronto is going to ascend out of the bottom of the AL East standings, it all starts with Bautista.

1. Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles

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    Welcome to the new age of the AL East, where every team is strong and every team has its star players.

    And Chris Davis is the next superstar in this division.

    Sure, he's already 27, but the next five to six years could easily be MVP-caliber ones for Davis. His 2012 (33 HRs, 85 RBI) was a sign of things to come, but not too many expected this.

    Davis leads the majors with 19 homers this season, with a mark of 50 RBI also near tops (if it weren't for some guy named Miguel Cabrera) in the AL.

    As part of a lineup that is growing and getting more talented by the day, Davis is the driving force for what will be a playoff-caliber team for years to come.

     

    (All stats in this story were compiled from Baseball-Reference)