If you are looking for Corey Hart's name on the 2010 All-Star ballot, have fun trying, because you won't find it.
That's right, because the Milwaukee outfielder with 17 home runs, 41 RBI, and a .610 slugging pct. was not in the Opening Day starting lineup, he is not on the fan ballot for the All-Star game.
In just 53 games, Hart already has five more home runs and seven fewer RBI than his 2009 totals. His 17 long balls lead the National League by three over Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Mark Reynolds, and Dan Uggla.
Hart's breakout season has not only resulted in runs, but has silenced his many critics. As recent as this offseason, fans and media alike were calling for his head and outraged when he won a $4.8 million salary in an arbitration case. Hart was not producing at all at the plate and was caught stealing six out of seventeen times. He was chasing deliberately thrown balls, resulting in 92 strikeouts in 115 games.
April was nothing special for Hart; he platooned with Jim Edmonds for the majority of the month. He hit three home runs and exited the month with a .798 OPS.
With some players, confidence comes before success, but for some, the antithesis is relevant. Corey Hart is a case of success before confidence.
This showed in May when Hart began to heat up. On May 15 and 16, he homered once in each game against Philadelphia, his first dingers of the month. The next night, he socked two against Cincinnati. That was just the beginning.
In 26 games, Hart is hitting .286 with an astounding 14 homers and 29 RBI. His OPS in that span is 1.134, up over .350 from the day before his binge began. Perhaps the highlights of his hot streak were during a weekend series against New York at the end of the month. Corey broke a 0-0 tie in a pitcher's duel featuring Yovani Gallardo and Johan Santana with a walk-off two run blast. He followed that shot up with his first career grand slam in the first inning the next game and with a two run blast in his next at-bat for three homers in three at bats.
Add on to this Hart's stellar play in the field. Throughout his streak, Corey has been all over right field making running grabs and playing with an extra step. He has only one error to date and four assists.
The confidence is definitely showing for the National League home run leader. Despite not being on the starter's ballot for the All-Star Game, he is well on his way to his second career All-Star appearance. He just goes to show that you gotta' have Hart.
The confidence is definitely showing in the NL home run leader.