1. Philadelphia Phillies (49-30, 1st in NL East by 5.0 games)
No team has more wins than Philly, now imagine if Chase Utley starts to hit…
2. New York Yankees (45-31, 1st in AL East by 0.5 game)
The Yankees own baseball’s best run differential (+97), having scored 399 runs and given up only 302.
3. Boston Red Sox (45-32, 2nd in AL East, 0.5 GB)
The BoSox lead all of MLB in runs (405), batting average (.278), on base percentage (.353), and slugging (.450).
4. Milwaukee Brewers (44-35, 1st in NL Central by 3.0 games)
Ryan Braun (.308 avg, 16 hr, 59 rbi, 17 steals) and Prince Fielder (.305 avg, 21 hr, 68 rbi, 51 walks) are both on pace to have career years.
5. San Francisco Giants (44-34, 1st in NL West by 1.5 games)
The reigning champs continue to get outstanding pitching performances from their starters, and closer Brian Wilson is a legitimate contender for NL Cy Young (5-1, 2.50 ERA, 23/25 saves).
6. Tampa Bay Rays (44-34, 3rd in AL East, 2.0 GB)
Behind James Shields’ stellar season (6 complete games, 3 shutouts), the resurgent Rays find themselves 2 games back in the division, having won 8 of their last 10 contests.
7. Detroit Tigers (42-36, 1st in AL Central by 1.0 game)
Brennan Boesch has given the Tigers ample production out of left field, batting .299 with 10 homers and 38 runs batted in.
8. Cleveland Indians (40-36, 2nd in AL Central, 1.0 GB)
The Tribe seems to be treading water as of late, but continue to find ways to win thanks to breakout star Asdrubal Cabrera (.293 avg, 12 hr, 44 rbi).
9. Atlanta Braves (44-35, 2nd in NL East, 5.0 GB)
Jair Jurrjens is turning out to be yet another Atlanta ace, boasting a 10-3 record with a scintillating 2.07 ERA.
10. Texas Rangers (41-38, 1st in AL West by 2.0 games)
Despite losing three straight decisions, Rangers rookie Alexi Ogando (7-3) still boasts a 2.87 ERA and an even better 1.03 WHIP.
If the season ended today:
1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox
2. Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays
3. Curtis Granderson, CF, Yankees
1. Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers
2. Matt Kemp, CF, Dodgers
3. Ryan Braun, LF, Brewers
AL Cy Young
1. Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers
2. Jered Weaver, SP, Angels
3. James Shields, SP, Rays
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies
2. Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves
3. Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies
1. Philadelphia Phillies (35-24; 1st NL East)
No reason for the Phillies to move out of the top spot. Their pitching continues to be rock solid while the return of Chase Utley has sparked their once dormant offense.
2. Texas Rangers (34-26; 1st AL West)
Texas is a major league best 8-2 over their last 10 games. The return of Hamilton and Cruz have ignited the Ranger bats; and Elvis Andrus continues show why he’s one of the best young shortstops in the game.
3. Milwaukee Brewers (33-26; 2nd NL Central)
The Brewers are 19-6 since May 9th, the best record in all of baseball. Three straight 1-run victories on the road versus Florida seem to have dismissed any worries of Milwaukee’s road woes.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (36-25; 1st NL Central)
Albert Pujols seems to be back on track, hitting back-to-back walk-off homers to sink the Cubs. A weekend series at Miller Park should help clear the fuzzy picture atop the NL Central.
5. New York Yankees (33-24; 1st AL East)
The Yanks have regained sole possession of 1st place in baseball’s toughest division thanks to wins in 8 of their last 11 games. Next up is a home series with the Red Sox, who trail New York by 1 game in the standings.
6. Boston Red Sox (33-26; 2nd AL East)
Adrian Gonzalez is hitting a blistering .339 to go along with 12 home runs and a major league leading 50 runs batted in.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (33-27; 2nd NL West)
The D-backs continue to show pop in their lineup to go along with their surprising starting pitching.
8. Cleveland Indians (33-24; 1st AL Central)
The Tribe has cooled off a bit since their torrid start, but there’s no reason to believe that their 33 wins are an aberration.
9. San Francisco Giants (33-26; 1st NL West)
The defending World Champs may have lost their star catcher to injury, but their pitching is too solid for them to disappear just yet.
10. Florida Marlins (31-26; 2nd NL East)
Four straight loses have stymied the Fish, who have now dropped to 14-15 at Sun Life Stadium.
If the season ended today:
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – BOS
NL MVP: Ryan Braun – LF – MIL
AL Cy Young: Alexi Ogando – SP – TEX
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay – SP – PHI
The Milwaukee Brewers have a number of candidates who could come away with a National League Silver Slugger Award at season’s end. Let’s take a closer look.
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee’s cornerstone left fielder, should have no trouble winning his 4th consecutive Silver Slugger. The Hebrew Hammer has already smacked 12 home runs (tied for 2nd in the NL) and picked up 37 RBI (5th in NL), along with a steady .307 batting average. Braunie also leads the entire National League in total bases with 109.
Brewers all-star first baseman Prince Fielder is off to a torrid start as well, having collected 11 homers (tied for 3rd in the NL) to go along with an NL leading 41 RBI. His 102 total bases lead all NL first baseman and are good for 4th overall in the league. Prince won the award in 2007, the year he lead the NL in home runs while becoming the youngest player to ever hit 50 long balls in a season. That year Fielder also came finished 2nd in NL slugging percentage, trailing only Braun. Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols has won the Silver Slugger for NL first baseman the past 3 seasons; however his down year, Fielder is in prime position to snatch up the honor in 2011.
Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks sits tied for 5th in the NL with 101 total bases. Among NL second baseman, Weeks has scored the most runs (36), is tied for the most hits (58) and doubles (12), and is 1st with 9 homers. His 19 RBI are good for a 5th place tie. Rickie is also hitting at a career high .286 average. Dan Uggla, the 2010 recipient of the Silver Slugger for NL second baseman, is batting a paltry .183. With only 6 fewer at bats than Weeks, Uggla has 22 less hits and 35 fewer total bases (along with less home runs, RBI, runs, doubles, triples and walks). Chase Utley, the winner of the award from 2006-09, just returned from the disabled list this past week and has collected only 18 at-bats.
Yovani Gallardo, last years winner at NL pitcher, is off to another good start. Yo has 5 hits in 27 at-bats, with 1 HR and 3 RBI. However, Chicago Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano (who took home the award in ’06, ’08 and ’09) is currently leading the race for the Silver Slugger, batting .375 (9 for 24) with 1 HR and 4 RBI. His 14 total bases lead all major league pitchers, and are 6 more than any other hurler.
Emerging star Jonathan Lucroy leads all eligible major league catchers with a .328 batting average. Among NL backstops, Lucroy is tied for 2nd in both home runs (5) and RBI (23). But be on the lookout for Atlanta catcher Brian McCann (the NL winner 4 of the last 5 years, including the last 3 in a row), who leads NL catchers in RBI with 25 and is hitting a solid .281 with 4 long balls.
For the second straight year the Brew Crew could have multiple Silver Slugger Award winners. I’d count on two or three.