Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer has always been a good hitter, but this year he’s been amazing. Mauer is currently batting an incredible .429 with 13 homeruns. The 13 homeruns ties a career high for the former 1st round pick. While Mauer probably won’t finish the year batting .400, he should be in the race for AL batting champ. This year, the former # 1 pick has found power to go with his plate discipline and should remain a scary prospect for American League pitchers.
Dontrelle Willis came to Detroit in a trade with the Florida Marlins. Willis has struggled so much this year, that he’s currently not in the starting rotation. In seven starts, Willis is 1-4 with a 7.49 ERA. Willis is young and has the talent, but I’m not sure he’ll ever be a successful American League pitcher. In two years with the Tigers, Willis has been injured and pitched badly, his days in Detroit may be numbered.
The Tampa Bay Rays are full of young talent, and Jason Bartlett is one of the most talented of the Rays young players. Bartlett came to the Rays via a trade with the Minnesota Twins. The young shortstop is in the midst of a career year. He’s batting .376 with 7 homeruns, a career high. In addition to his strong offensive numbers, Bartlett is spectacular in the field. Coming off a stint on the DL, Bartlett should continue having a career year.
After a horrible, controversial 2008 season, you wondered how Houston Astros star, Miguel Tejada would respond this year. To date, Tejada is having a career year, batting .348 with a .372 on base percentage, and 89 hits. Tejada has been the one of the few bright spots for the last place Astros. Tejada should continue to have success at the plate with Hunter Pence and Berkman batting after him in the lineup.
Zack Greinke the former 1st round draft pick is having a Cy young worthy year. The young pitcher has a phenomenal 8-2 record, 1.72 ERA with 97 strikeouts. It will be hard for Greinke to keep up his current pace. With the Royals struggling to score runs, wins may become hard to come by. While he may not finish the season with an ERA under 2.00, Greinke should finish with career highs in strikeouts and ERA. Greinke has become the face of the Kansas City Royals and a signal of hope for the future. The owner of 5 complete games, Greinke is pitching with a new found confidence.