Saturday, September 6, 2008

Great Seasons No One is Noticing (Hitters)

All the baseball people seem so enamored with Dustin Pedroia, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Ludwick, Nate McClouth, and Carlos Quentin that they are actually missing some remarkable seasons some guys are having. It's easy to see why these guys have been overlooked; they simply do not have a great story (Hamilton and drugs) or something completely unique (Pedroia's height). But nevertheless, there guys are having fantastic years and need to be recognized for it.

Mark DeRosa, 2b/3b/OF, Cubs
It was only a year ago when the Cubs signed DeRosa to a 3 year/$13 million dollar deal and I scoffed at it. I thought that there was no way this guy would ever produce the kind of numbers he did in Texas, which would then make this contract very foolish. But DeRosa has been superb for the Cubs. DeRosa is currently hitting .289 with 19 HR and 80 RBI for the first place Cubbies while playing 3 positions this season. And to top it all off, DeRosa has scored 90 runs this season and has a phenomenal .381 OBP, which is outstanding for a 2nd baseman.
He played OF when Soriano got hurt and has played a great second base when everyone has been healthy. DeRosa's ability to play everywhere is a huge plus to the Cubs because they know he can get the job done defensively and that his bat has made him a real force in the lineup; he's no longer a utility guy anymore.

Aubrey Huff, DH/1b/3b, Orioles
The 2008 season has put Aubrey Huff back on the map. Back in 2004, Huff was thought to have been a rising star in baseball with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Unfortunately for Huff, inconsistency has plagued him over the past 3 seasons (with the Devil Rays, Astros, and Orioles) and many baseball people wondered if would ever find his 2003-2004 form again. Well folks, he has bounced back in a big way. Huff is currently hitting .313 with 30 HR and 98 RBI for the last place Orioles. Huff is currently leading the AL in both extra base hits (76) and total bases (302). Because of Huff, the Orioles have put together one of the most feared lineups in the AL and they are tons of fun to watch. If the Orioles could ever get some pitching, watch out.

Fred Lewis, OF, Giants
Entering the season, no Giant had a bigger hole to fill than Lewis did. Fred Lewis had the task of replacing Barry Bonds this season in left field and you know what, he has played some great baseball along the way. Lewis is hitting .279 with 9 HR and 11 triples to go along with his .350 OBP and 80 runs scored. Lewis has hit leadoff for the Giants for most of the season and even though the Giants have a pathetic offense, Lewis has clearly been a bright spot. Barry's replacement will never hit 20 +HR, but having 30+ doubles, 10+ triples, 10+ HR, 30+ steals, and a .290 batting average is not out of the question in the future and would make Giants fans happy for many years.

Skip Schumaker, OF, Cardinals
Skip who? Where did this guy come from? Wherever it was, can you please send one of him to Flushing. This guy has been unreal. He currently sports a .305 batting average with 8 homers and 79 runs scored. Scumaker has been the Cardinals primary leadoff hitter and has excelled in setting the table for Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick (as shown by his .365 OBP). If Schumaker continues to get on base at that clip, he will score alot more runs with Phat Albert hitting behind him. Also, Schumaker is probably one of the hardest hitters to strike out (only 53 this season) and as he progresses, it will be interesting to note whether that number stays as low as it is right now.

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