So I've been promising the end of my Top 10 hitters article for a week, and with the lady asleep, I shall end my Jules like sabbatical (for I've been wandering the earth) and conclude this epic project, with my top 5 in baseball.
In defense (and quiet admiration, for I will never admit I am wrong), I have ""altered"" some of my previous picks for the AL and NL, and totally changed the lists (removed my own bias, and put in some different, more people friendly bias) at the quiet urging (vehement disagreeing and outrage) of the BtB readers. So here it is, in a VERY particular order.
1-Barry Bonds** I'm putting the asterisk, and whoever wants to can complain about it until they're blue in the face. As a chemist, I believe in absolutes, such as science, but as a statistician, I believe in numbers, and until I see proof of what I believe, I'll only be able to believe Barry cheated, so he's still number 1 on this list, and probably top 5 on any list all time.
So to clear this up: steroids, Martians, using black magic to harness souls for bat speed, whatever, when a healthy Barry Bonds has a bat in his hand, he is the absolute best hitter in baseball, and the best I've had the pleasure of seeing in my lifetime (although watching Miggy Cabrera and Miggy Tejada is slowly approaching that level, Miguel Pride!)
The line: .300/.443/.611 703 HRs
Peak: 69.6 (Read that again, and again, and holy crap).
He's also 6 steals over 500.
500/500 club. Holy. Crap.
2- Albert Pujols. Must be nice to be 25 and to be considered the second greatest at what you do. It's so hard to believe Pujols has been playing for 5 years, and he's already amassed such amazing numbers. Another year or 2, Pujols takes number 1 on this list, and any other, hands down.
Personally, what scares me, and Aaron Gleeman brought this up in a Twins roundtable when I mentioned Morneau had Pujols like potential. Pujols is 25, he hasn't peaked yet shudder, he's still adapting--He's still getting better.
The line: .333/.412/.622 171 HRs (I find the 204 2B even more impressive).
46.1 WARP3 (coincidentally, this being his fifth year, 46.1 is Pujols current peak, and with a 5.4 WARP3 this year that's sure to go up, we could be looked at a very early career 50+ peak).
As you look at his WARP3, just remember he's 25.
3- Alex Rodriguez. See kids, I removed personal bias twitch and gave twitch A-Rod his props, despite the fact I feel negatively (would gladly give my life to kill George Steinbrenner) about the Yankees.
However, my own scathing hatred aside, there's no denying A-Rod's abilities. He's a phenomenal hitting talent, and has been everywhere he's played. Seriously, 2004 is considered his down year, where he hit 36 HRs 106 RBIs and still batted .286. Let that process. That's his off year. Not to mention, in the steroid era, I feel A-Rod is a player above accusation (at least, realistically, much like a Todd Helton), and as much as I'd like to deny it, there's no hiding how sweet his swing is.
The line: .306/.382/.575 395 HRs Also a 75% success rate on SBs (158/211).
His peak of 61.4 is outright disgusting.
4- Manny Ramirez. This might be a homer pick (arguably, it could be Vlad here, but I'm going with Manny because of his pure talent, and his numbers, not to mention the fact he's probably the most feared hitter in the American League [not named A-Rod]. A case could be made David Ortiz belongs in that spot, but Papi shares the Mango Salsa, and Manny has been doing it for a longer time). And if you don't get the Mango Salsa reference, look around for David Ortiz's Comcast commercial. Both Marc and I are fairly certain his hitting prowess (as well as the rest of the team) comes from his Mango Salsa.
But I digress, Manny has been an absolute beast (and a first ballot HoFer) for about a decade. Check the numbers here:
The line: .313/.408/.595
EqA: .332 (all time adjusted)
Peak: 46.2 Pretty impressive.
5. Todd Helton- Last spot on the list goes to Mr. Coors, the Crown Prince of Purple, the Ruler of the Rockies (alliteration is cool!).
Todd's been bashing the ball since he escaped Tennessee, and, using my advanced powers of prognostication and statistics, I predict, he'll continue to be pretty good at hitting.
The line: .335/.429/.605 256 HRs
So that's the top 5, curious about the rest of the list?
6. Ichiro Suzuki (I seriously debated putting him on over Todd for about an hour, but in the end, I put him here. Let me explain. When I did this list, I was thinking of the hitters I feel have the ability to change ANY situation. The guy I want up down by 10 runs, in a hopeless situation, because I know at any moment, with one swing of his bat, momentum can change. I wanted the guy who steps in the box and strikes fear in the pitcher. I wanted that batter who forces the catcher to the mound just to talk about how to only get LIGHTLY burned by his bat. In the end, that wasn't Ichiro to me, despite the great numbers.
However, if we are talking pure hitting, the ability to put the bat on the ball, I cannot in the least argue Ichiro belongs at number 2, even number 1 ahead of Bonds on this list. I hope you can understand my perspective, and why I ruled the way I did.)
- Miguel Tejada
- Bobby Abreu
- Vladimir Guerrero (He went from number 1 on my AL list to number 5, I know, but after hearing reasonable discussion, I realize the people I put in front of him are much better).
- Miguel Cabrera (Ya, I had Chipper, but if I'm taking one bias pick on this list, I'm sneaking on Miggy, you can't stop me, it's already done!)
Entry link it for the poll!
P.S.- Richard, can you work some Friar magic with the Faithful Nation and heal Mark Loretta. My fantasy team misses him dearly.