MLB Power Rankings: A-Rod, Mark Teixiera and the AL's 7 Best Hitting Duos
Alex Rodriguez. Adrian Gonzalez. Even Jose Bautista.
The AL East is absolutely loaded with top of the line sluggers who put their team on their back and punish opposing pitchers.
Although many AL East fans won't admit it—there is life outside of their division.
In a piece released earlier this week examining the best one-two punches in the NL, it was determined that Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun make up the best duo in their respective league.
With the addition of the DH in the AL—each team has the chance to get an extra slugger in their lineup. But are they better than their counterparts in the NL?
You be the judge.
Here are the seven best hitting duos in the AL.
7. Eric Hosmer & Billy Butler: Kansas City Royals
A lot of people may disagree with the inclusion of Butler and Hosmer on this list—especially due to the fact Hosmer has been in the majors for a matter of weeks.
Hosmer is a big-time prospect who has flourished since being called up to be the every-day first baseman. He has already drawn comparisons to Mark Teixeira, and by the looks of it, his days of minor league ball are over. Hosmer is here to stay and will be a force in the AL Central for years to come.
Butler is one of the most underrated players in the game. He will never hit 30-plus homers in a season, but he should be able to reach 20-25 to go along with the 45-plus doubles he's averaged in his first two full seasons. Butler has been able to increase his walk-rate while reducing his strikeout rate each season and he is a lock to hit at least near .300.
6. Paul Konerko & Adam Dunn: Chicago White Sox
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When the White Sox inked Adam Dunn to a multi-year deal this past offseason they had high hopes for he and Paul Konerko in the heart of their order.
Dunn has been slow out of the gate so far this year, but I still wouldn't bet against him hitting 40 long-balls when it's all said and done. Dunn is one of the most consistent home run hitters to ever play the game—hitting between 38-40 homers each season since 2005.
That is the kind of production the White Sox were looking for when giving him a fat contract. It should be no problem for Dunn to rake at US Cellular Field.
Konerko has been like a good wine—better with age. Just when it seemed his career was winding down, Konerko came out and hit 39 homers with 111 RBI in 2010. His monster season earned him a nice contract extension with the White Sox and, so far in 2011, he has shown no signs of slowing down.
5. Josh Hamilton & Adrian Beltre: Texas Rangers
The Rangers boast one of baseballs most potent offenses—with or without Josh Hamilton in the lineup.
Guys like Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, and maybe even rookie Mitch Moreland, could all be considered for a spot on this list.
Hamilton—the reigning AL MVP—has been out for a few weeks this season but will return soon. When healthy, Hamilton bats for power and for average to all parts of the field. Had it not been for substance abuse, he could have gone down as one of the greatest to play the game.
Beltre was signed this past off-season and has proved to be worth every bit the Rangers are paying him. After raking with the Red Sox last season, Beltre has jacked 10 long-balls and leads the AL with 37 RBI to start the 2011 season.
4. Miguel Cabrera & Victor Martinez: Detroit Tigers
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It's crazy to think that Miguel Cabrera just recently turned 28 years old. He finally has a bash-brother in new teammate Victor Martinez.
Cabrera has been able to do it all—on and off the field. On the field, Cabrera has averaged more than 30 homers per season since 2004 along with owning a .313 career BA. Off the field, he lives a life most similar to Charlie Sheen. Best of both worlds?
Martinez provides a much needed addition to the lineup for the Tigers—who have lacked another potent bat since Magglio Ordonez began to show his age a few years ago. Even while battling injuries, Martinez has been one of the best offensive catchers in the league throughout his career. He has reached the 20 home run plateau five times.
3. Jose Bautista & Adam Lind: Toronto Blue Jays
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Jose Bautista and Adam Lind provide a solid one-two punch for the Toronto Blue Jays. Some people may argue that the Blue Jays sluggers should be ranked higher on this list. The problem is, other than Bautista, the Jays' don't have a consistent bat in the lineup.
Bautista is arguably the most feared bat currently in baseball. After crushing 54 homers last season, many people believed Bautista was due for a sharp decline. Instead, he is far and away the leading candidate for AL MVP.
Bautista leads the MLB with 16 home runs. He is batting a ridiculous .372 with a .522 OBP. More impressively, his walks are way up and his strikeouts are way down. Best of all—Bautista has his Blue Jays right in the thick of things in the AL East.
Lind was the breakout story of the 2009 season—where he smacked 35 homers while batting .305. He wasn't able to live up to the hype in 2010, but still managed to hit 23 long-balls. He has been on a tear so far in 2011 with 7 homers out of the gate while batting .313. Lind looks to return from the DL within the next week.
2. Adrian Gonzalez & David Ortiz: Boston Red Sox
Adrian Gonzalez—in my opinion—will probably end up taking home the AL MVP. This is assuming Bautista has a drop-off over the course of the season. Partnered with beloved Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, they form the second best one-two punch in the AL.
The Red Sox were finally able to pry A-Gon away from San Diego this past offseason and he has proven to be worth every prospect. We all knew Gonzalez would thrive at Fenway Park—but who thought he would be this good?
He has averaged around 34 home runs and 105 RBI per season since 2007—numbers he's on pace to surpass by mid-August this season. Getting A-Gon from San Diego may be GM, Theo Epstein's, best move yet.
Ortiz has continued to produce at a high-level for the Red Sox. Aside from a down year batting average-wise in 2009, Big Papi has still averaged almost 30 home runs per year with over 100 RBI over the past four seasons.
1. Alex Rodriguez & Mark Teixeira: New York Yankees
Rodriguez will surely go down as one of the all time greats. He will most likely reach 3,500 hits and has a good chance at taking down Barry Bonds' home run record in the process. A-Rod has continued to produce at a high-level regardless of age.
Teixeira, on the other hand, is the most potent bat in a powerful Yankees lineup. He has averaged 36 homers per season in his first two seasons with the Yanks' and has shown no signs of letting up any time soon. Hard to believe Tex' is already on his fourth team.
Respect to both Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano—who both look like viable candidates in their own right.
Check out the NL's Seven Best Hitting Duos—and then its up to you to decide who you'd rather have on your roster.
A-Rod and Teixeira or Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder?