Just a short blog on who I think will be the Top 3 players in the MLB for the rest of the season. This does not include pitchers.
1. 1B Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
Howard was hot the week before the All-Star break and he has been ever since, hitting .273 with four runs batted in during the 22 at-bats after the All-Star Game. These aren't the main reasons why I am picking Howard to have the best season of all positional players in the second half - it is that Howard has hit close to 60 second-half home runs in the past three years. That's about 20 home runs per year although I think that Howard may be able to hit even more than that. His .234 average is absolutely disgusting this year but I am not buying that low average. Howard hit .313 in his MVP 2006 season and hit a decent .268 in 2007. Howard was a snub for the All-Star Game this year but he may be the one laughing at the end of the season when he gets around 50 homers with 120-140 runs batted in.
Howard has a good glove at first base which often gets overlooked. Maybe it is because he is known for having very slow speed - he doesn't steal many bases but that is beside the subject. Howard doesn't have a real third baseman throwing to him but still does a nice job, he is very good on the short-hoppers.
All in all, Howard will be the best positional player for the second half of the season.
2. 3B Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
I find it very hard to keep the reigning American League MVP off the list. Even though 21 home runs and 61 runs batted in don't look like typical A-Rod numbers, you have to take i n the fact that he only has 303 at-bats this year due to injury. With those extra at-bats he could have gotten if he wasn't injured, he could very well be leading the league in home runs right now and be amongst the leaders in runs batted in. A .317 average looks good, well above his career average of .307 and his slugging percentage is shining at .591 while his OBP is at .397, all numbers that any player would kill to have.
If A-Rod can get 21 home runs in just over 300 at-bats, in the second half of the season he could get around 250 at-bats and that would shoot him up to close to 40 home runs and 120 at-bats. Hitting is basically A-Rod's only great aspect, I can assure you that his fielding is nothing short of average.
Rodriguez may just end up with 530 at-bats or so but that doesn't mean he can't put up great numbers. Besides, I'm just pointing to the second half here and A-Rod will have a great one.
3. 1B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Yes, another infielder. Call me a homer for picking Miguel Cabrera but I got some good reasons here. Cabby has raised his average to what was once under .270 to around .290. He has also been on fire in the power department. I was looking through the box scores of th the Detroit Tigers this morning and I noticed a big 71 in the RBI catagory. Some kind of misprint? I slided my finger over and saw the Cabrera was the one with those 71 ribbies. He has had 14 runs batted in during the last five games (I am not kidding, look it up). At this point in the season, Miguel has 17 home runs, 71 runs batted in with a .493 slugging percentage. Who said this guy was slumping? Looks like fantastic numbers to me, I'm telling you that this guy got robbed from the All-Star Game.
Miggy has great instincts at first base, he is a big improvement than what the Tigers had over there earlier - Carlos Guillen and a bag full of errors. I have seen Miguel make great plays at first base inlcuding jumping catches, diving plays, and recovering wild throws very easily.
From a dude that used to get booed at Tiger games, Cabrera has re-deemed himself and he will be one of the best players in the second half of the season. I gaurentee that.