Player rater: Best hitters of 2008

Publish date:

Joe Mauer, Value: $16.52

The AL batting champ (.328) was also second in the AL in OBP (.413). On the year he had a superlative BB/K mark of 1.68 (84 BB, 50 K).

Brian McCann, $15.65

Clearly the best power option at catcher now that Jorge Posada is on the downside of his career. McCann hit 23 home runs with 87 RBIs and a .301 batting average for the Braves.

Russell Martin, $13.85

The only catcher who really runs anymore (18 steals), Martin also hit .280 while scoring 87 runs while knocking in 69.

Ryan Doumit, $11.17

Doumit finally, finally, contributed at the dish like the team always believed he could after he was drafted in the second round in 1999. Doumit hit .318-15-69-71 in 431 ABs.

Geovany Soto, $10.68

The likely NL ROY, Soto hit .285-23-86 with a .868 OPS as he fulfilled even the most optimistic of projections.

Bengie Molina, $7.43

You may not be aware of it, but the catcher with the most RBIs this season was Bengie Molina who knocked in 95 runs. He also hit .292 though because he runs in sand he only scored 46 runs.

Kelly Shoppach, $3.36

Shoppach blasted 21 long balls in just 352 ABs after taking over for an injured Victor Martinez. Shoppach did strike out 133 times though that power bat will play in '09.

Mike Napoli, $3.18

Talk about a power bat, Napoli hit 20 home runs in just 227 ABs and now has 46 home runs in 714 career at-bats.

A.J. Pierzynski, $2.95

Over each of the last six seasons A.J. has hit at least 11 home runs and 50 RBI, and he is the only catcher that can make that claim.

Chris Iannetta, $1.53

The Rockies catcher hit .264 with 18 home runs in 333 ABs this season and has a .249-24-102-84 line in 607 career ABs.

Albert Pujols, $39.69

Flat out the best hitter in baseball. Not many people seem to realize he was second in OBP (.462) and first in OPS (1.114).

Lance Berkman, $34.36

Stole more bases (18) this year than he has the past three seasons (14). Did fall one home run short of his third straight 30-home run, 100 RBIs season.

Mark Teixeira, $29.05

Was fourth at the position with 121 RBIs and was the only first baseman who hit .300-30-120 (he finished at .308-33-121).

Ryan Howard, $27.46

After an average .832 OPS prior to the All-Star break, his second half surge led to a .954 OPS in his last 66 appearances covering 246 ABs.

Kevin Youkilis, $25.99

Easily had the best season of his career with career-highs in the following categories: average (.312), home runs (29), RBIs (115), SLG (.569) and OPS (.958).

Miguel Cabrera, $25.95

Other than Ryan Howard, Cabrera was the only first baseman to hit at least 35 home runs (37) with 120 RBIs (127). Fell just short of qualifying at third base for next season with only 14 games played at the hot corner.

Adrian Gonzalez, $23.94

How is this for three year growth? Adrian hit 24 HR with 82 RBIs in 2006, 30-100 in '07 and 36-119 in '08.

Justin Morneau, $23.09

Though he hit .300 overall he struggled down the stretch hitting just .267 over his last 258 ABs.

Carlos Delgado, $22.22

Over his last 66 games he powered 21 long balls while knocking in 63 runs with a .991 OPS.

Prince Fielder, $19.37

Very infrequently is 34 home runs and 102 RBIs been viewed as such a poor effort as it was for Prince after his 50-home run, 119 RBIs effort in '07.

Dustin Pedroia, $31.68

The possible AL MVP ended the year as the most valuable performer at second base due to his tremendous overall effort (.326-17-83-118-20 with 54 doubles and 213 hits).

Chase Utley, $30.45

The class of the position in home runs (33), RBIs (104), Utley also led the position with a .915 OPS.

Ian Kinsler, $27.91

Kinsler was well on pace to leading the position in performance before being struck down by a sports hernia that helped limit him to 121 games. He still hit .319-18-71-102-26 in a tremendous all-around effort.

Brian Roberts, $25.63

This speedster led the position with 40 steals and has now racked up 90 steals the past to years, not to mention 210 runs and a .293 average.

Mark DeRosa, $17.33

Besides hitting .285-21-87-103-6, DeRosa played at least 20 games at second base, third base, left field and right field.

Dan Uggla, $17.07

Rumors of him being on his way out of Florida continue to grow though it has nothing to do with his on field production that has led to an average of 30 home runs, 90 RBIs and 105 runs scored the past three seasons.

Brandon Phillips, $16.07

Had a somewhat disappointing season cut short by an injured middle finger though he still produced a second straight 20/20 campaign with 21 home runs and 23 steals.

Jose Lopez, $15.29

How many second baseman had more than the 89 RBIs that Lopez knocked in this season? Try two in the "U-boys" of Utley (104) and Uggla (92).

Alexei Ramirez, $14.69

Turned out to be a tremendously potent weapon for a late round gamble finishing with a .290-21-77-65-13 line in under 500 ABs (480).

Kelly Johnson, $11.54

Blistered the ball to the tune of a .398 average in September on his way to another strong overall campaign (.287-12-69-86-11).

David Wright, $35.72

Just keeps getting better. Over each of the past four seasons he has hit at least .300-25-100-95-15. He is the only player in baseball that can make that claim regardless of position.

Alex Rodriguez, $33.10

One of the best run producers ever, A-Rod has scored at least 100-runs in 13-straight seasons with at least 100 RBIs in 11-straight.

Aubrey Huff, $26.50

From a late round gamble to the cream of the crop at third base, it was quite a season for Huff who used a .332 average in the second half to finish at .304-32-108-96 with a .912 OPS.

Chipper Jones, $23.78

The major league leader in average (.362), Jones has posted and OBP of at least .400 in 10 of the past 11 seasons and his OPS has been over 1.000 in each of the past three years.

Aramis Ramirez, $21.01

In five seasons in Chicago Aramis has never failed to hit at least 25 home runs while driving in at least 90 runs (he hit 27 HR with 111 RBIs this season).

Jorge Cantu, $18.67

A waiver-wire pickup in most leagues, Cantu had 29 home runs, 95 RBIs and 92 runs scored in a tremendous effort.

Melvin Mora, $15.49

Mora was fourth at the hot corner with his 104 RBIs thanks, in part, to what could have been a second half for the ages if he wasn't injured (.376-12-56 in just 48 games).

Garrett Atkins, $14.77

Had his worst effort in three seasons though he still hit .286-21-99 with 86 runs scored.

Mark Reynolds, $13.60

Though he had an all-time record 204 Ks, a simply ghastly total, he did hit 28 home runs with 97 RBIs, 87 runs and 11 steals.

Evan Longoria, $13.40

He started a bit late and also dealt with an injury but still hit .272-27-85 in a fantastic rookie season.

Hanley Ramirez, $37.93

Though his average fell .031 points from '07 down to .301, his OBP went up .014 points to a career best .400 thanks to a career-high 92 walks.

Jose Reyes, $37.81

Over the past three years Reyes' worst numbers in the five standard offensive categories are .280-12-57-113-56, and that would be one hell of a season.

Jimmy Rollins, $21.91

Though the perception is that he missed a ton of time resulting in his down production at the plate (.277-11-59-76), Rollins actually had 556 ABs which is just 33 fewer than Hanley Ramirez.

Jhonny Peralta, $15.58

Peralta was just the 12th shortstop in baseball history to hit 20 home runs (23) and 40 doubles (42). He also knocked in 89 runs while scoring 104.

Michael Young, $14.26

Had his worst season in six years but that effort still produced 183 hits, 102 runs, 82 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

Derek Jeter, $13.98

Even though he hit .344 over his last 49 games, Jeter still finished with his worst overall effort in his career (.300-11-69-88-11).

Stephen Drew, $13.29

Could be a major player in '09 after quietly being just one of two shortstops to hit at least .291 with 21 home runs (the other was Ramirez).

J.J. Hardy, $11.64

Second at the position with 24 home runs, Hardy has back-to-back efforts that resulted in at least 24 home runs, 74 RBIs, 75 runs and a .275 average.

Orlando Cabrera, $11.60

Likely on his way out of Chicago, Cabrera has recorded at least 90 runs in 3-three straight seasons and at least 19 steals in 4-straight.

Ryan Theriot, $11.32

Only one shortstop, Cristian Guzman (.316), had a higher average than Theriot's .307 mark. Toss in 85 runs and 22 steals and it was a heck of a campaign for the scrappy Cub.

Matt Holliday, $35.10

Failed to record his third straight season of at least 34 home runs and 114 RBIs with just 25 and 88, but he hit .321 while stealing a career-high 28 bases to help nullify the loss.

Manny Ramirez, $35.07

Since '95 Manny has knocked in at least 88 runs each season good for an average of 119 RBIs per year for the past 14 years (he had 121 this season).

Grady Sizemore, $32.53

Though he had four year lows in runs (101) and batting average (.268), Sizemore went 30/30 for the first time with 33 home runs and 38 steals, not to mention a career best 90 RBIs.

Carlos Beltran, $32.42

Went 25/25 for the Mets with 27 home runs and 25 steals, and he has averaged 34 home runs, 113 RBI, 112 runs and 22 steals the past three years.

Josh Hamilton, $31.78

Led the AL with 130 RBIs after a titanic first half that produced 21 home runs and 95 RBIs in 93 games before the All-Star break.

Ryan Ludwick, $28.99

One of, it not the, biggest out of nowhere performers on offense, Ludwick hit .299, tied Albert Pujols with 37 home runs and finished just three RBI behind his teammate with 113 RBIs.

Ryan Braun, $28.28

Braun had 160 more ABs this year than in his rookie season but he hit only three more home runs (37) with just nine more RBI (106) and only one more run scored (92).

Nate McLouth, $27.13

One of only seven outfielders who went 20/20 (26 home runs, 23 SB), McLouth was also third in the outfield with 113 runs scored and 46 doubles..

Bobby Abreu, $26.92

After hitting .274 with 10 home runs in his first 92 games, Abreu hit .327 with 10 home runs in his final 64 games to finish at .296-20-100-100-22.

Ichiro Suzuki, $26.69

There may have never been a more consistent threat than Ichiro who has scored at least 100-runs, with 200 hits, 30 steals and a .300 average in each of his eight major league seasons.

Matt Kemp, $26.65

Came up two home runs short of a 20/20 campaign. Strangely, he was a much more dangerous hitter at home with 14 home runs, 54 runs and 19 steals versus his work on the road (four home runs, 39 runs, 16 steals).

Jason Bay, $26.18

In three of the past four seasons Bay has socked at least 30 home runs with 100 RBIs, 100 runs and 10 steals after a .286-31-101-111-10 season.

Johnny Damon, $25.43

Damon has scored at least 90-runs in 11-straight seasons, the second longest active mark in baseball behind his teammate Alex Rodriguez (13).

Carlos Quentin, $25.08

After hitting 22 home runs in his first 91 games, Quentin was blasting right along with 14 home runs and a 1.117 OPS in 39 games after the All-Star break before breaking his wrist.

Shane Victorino, $24.75

Victorino hit for a better average (.293 compared to .281), with two more home runs (14), 12 more RBIs (58) and 24 more runs than in his 2007 season