I wrote on this topic 2 weeks ago, and Pat Burrell was on the top of the charts, with Miguel Cabrera and Jorge Posada nipping at his heels. Quick and dirty update as of 8/31/07:
1. Pat Burrell 1.144 (previously 1st)
Pat’s hitting. He’s hitting it all night long. His 4 homers during the Mets sweep couldn’t have come at a better time, and he continues to get on base at a healthy clip (.381 OBP in August), despite seeing a normal regression in the amount of balls that dropped in for singles. 16 of his 29 hits in August came in the form of doubles or round-trippers. No one, except maybe Marcus Hayes, can deny this man’s second half surge. Is there any reason to suspect he won’t finish up as the best offensive player in the majors since the All-Star break?
2. Milton Bradley 1.107 (8th)
As John Madden would say, here’s a guy who when he hits the ball, it goes far. He’s smacked 10 homers in the 2nd half in only 109 at bats and just the cutoff for 125 minimum plate appearances. He’s a much better player than he’s shown over the past few seasons, and it’s finally showing now that he’s healthy. The Padres got a HUGE addition to their offense for very very little. And let’s not overrate his aggressive nature. So he yells back at people and ‘shows up’ pitchers? So what, really? He hits and hits a lot.
3. David Wright 1.090 (unranked)
His 1.198 August and 6 multi-hit games in the last 8 have rocketed Wright to 3rd place in all of baseball for 2nd half OPS. Hell, outside of a bad April, Wright’s been one of the best third basemen in the Majors, behind only Miguel Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez for overall production. This guy’s young, polished and good behind the plate and in the field. He’d look damn good in some Phillies pinstripes…
4. Albert Pujols 1.086 (9th)
What more can you say about Mr. Pooholes that hasn’t already been said? He’s been the best hitter in baseball for 4 or 5 years now, and there’s nothing that’s slowed him down. He did start hacking a bit early in the season, but he seems to have gotten past that hiccup, amassing a .337 batting avg and .435 OBP in the 2nd half. He’s also hit 9 doubles and 14 homers to go along with the plate control, and is looking at another season where posts a 1.000+ OPS. Right now he’s at 981, but has been climbing steadily since May and actually hit 1.003 August 22nd before suffering a mini power slump.
5. Carlos Beltran 1.047 (unranked)
From July 25th to August 9th, Carlos wasn’t playing. But he’s been gangbusters since, sporting a 1.162 OPS and hitting 8 doubles and 6 homers in only 3 weeks time. Damn! He and David Wright have been two of the biggest things going right for the Mets offense in August, and Beltran looks to be in prime 2006 form. For all the flack he gets from some fans, he’s sporting a healthy 876 OPS over the season, which is darn good for a centerfielder, and he’s on the right side of that in the 2nd half.
6. Jorge Posada 1.036 (3)
He’s been the best hitting catcher in the major leagues, on the team with the most media coverage, and has been one of their most consistent hitters throughout the season (and in the past decade)…and gets absolutely NO PUB. His .444 OBP in the 2nd half, and a .413 OBP over the entire season. His .252 isolated power in the 2nd half is amazing for a catcher, and it’s especially amazing considering how much playing time he actually gets (5th largest workload for all major league catchers). Not bad for a guy who is essentially an old man for his position at age 36.
7. David Ortiz 1.029 (unranked)
Mr. Big Papi Ortiz has been one of baseball’s most consistent hitters, posting monthly OPS numbers of 1.017, .999, .978, .995, and 1.027 in August. He hasn’t gotten torrid hot like most of the other guys on this list, he’s just been himself, having the same all-star caliber output month after month. 11 doubles, 11 homers and a .418 OBP in the 2nd half are just ho-hum numbers for Ortiz. And you know you’re good when you EXPECT to get those totals.
8. Ryan Howard 1.028 (6th)
You’d have thought Howard was hitting .150 with no power with the way Phillies fans had been fearing his 2nd half at bats. While he’s certainly struggled over the month of August (361 OBP and .891 OPS) those numbers are still above-average! And the big man has certainly gotten hot again, as many power hitters tend to do,by hitting .500 with a .900 slugging percentage for a 1.431 OPS over the past week. Just a week ago it seemed as though the tide was beginning to turn against Howard, and then he starts hitting again. Fans just have to understand that power hitters are streaky, at least most of them (David Ortiz, I’m looking your way). Howard’s so good that even his so-so months are better than average, so strap in and enjoy the man’s career.
9. Robinson Cano 1.027 (4th)
His .354 avg and .415 OBP, along with his .612 slugging percentage, has been evidence of the second baseman’s rebirth in this 2nd half. His first half was utter dreck but he’s been able to raise his season-long OPS from 741 to 843. While probably an overrated player due to his penchant for singles-hitting and his lack of patience at the plate, he’s still having a heck of a time as of late. When this guy’s on with his hitting stroke, the baseball finds every single gap it can.
10th Jeff Kent 1.025 (unranked)
What?! Old man Kent is on this list? Yes, yes he is. His overall OPS is now 874, which is right around his output for the previous 6 seasons and right above his career OPS. He had a terrific July, a tough beginning to August, and has gotten hot again while hitting .500 in the past week. You just can’t keep this guy down, even when it looked like age might’ve caught up to him sometime around June.
Dropped from the list:
Miguel Cabrera (1.189 to 982)
He certainly hit a rough streak, but teammate Jeremy Hermida has helped pick up the slack. Cabrera’s still having a good 2nd half and a terrific season, but this reason slump has certainly put a damper on his spirits.
Jermaine Dye (1.135 to 1.018)
I’d just call this regression to the mean, because Dye’s still hitting well and ended up with fine August numbers (305 avg, 389 OBP, 600 slugging, 7 doubles and 7 homers) and he’s still hitting well over the past week. Still, his OPS just FINALLY passed .800 on August 10th and then hit it again on the 26th.
Hanley Ramirez (1.108 to .983)
He’s cooled off in an almost identical fashion as his teammate Miguel Cabrera, but again he’s still good. His 886 OPS in August is still great for a SS and he’s still producing well ove the past week. Basically, it was impossible to keep hitting at the level he was in July (1.263 OPS).