Harper, Fielder, Upton: Who Is the Best Slugger Right Now in MLB?

Gary OusdahlCorrespondent IIApril 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13:  Justin Upton #8 of the Atlanta Braves bats against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 13, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Albert Pujols vs. Miguel Cabrera: Who is the better hitter?  This was a text sent to me the other day that had me thinking: Who is the better of the two?

Well suffice to say, at this early point in the season, neither one of those names would be at the top of my list of best slugger in baseball right now.  

It's without a doubt, that Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves is the hottest hitter in all of major league baseball.  Just take a look at his current stats: .333/.393/.852 with eight home runs, four doubles, 12 RBI and 13 runs scored.  Not only that, but he currently leads the majors in home runs and slugging.

One of the most surprising sluggers to have emerged this season, would have to be New York Mets catcher John Buck.

I'll bet you when the Blue Jays acquired him in the monster trade that sent him, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto, they never would have guessed that he would be hitting the way he is now.  

Buck came over to the Mets with a group of prospects in exchange for reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, and with the way Dickey is currently pitching for the Blue Jays, I'm sure they would much rather love to have Buck's bat in the lineup instead of a 38-year-old pitcher that currently has a 5.82 ERA.

Though Buck has always been a solid backup catcher and batter in his 10-year major league career, no one in baseball expected him to be hitting the way he currently is in Flushing Meadows.  With a .326/.327/.739 slash line, six home runs, 10 runs scored and a major league leading tie with 19 RBI, Buck looks amazing early on in the season and has continued to turn heads.

And then there's this guy named Prince Fielder, someone we all know is no stranger to a list of top sluggers in baseball.  

Fielder is also tied with Buck and two others (Brandon Phillips of the Reds and Chris Davis of the Orioles) for the major league lead in RBI.  Not only that, but he has a healthy .340/.439/.660 slash line with four home runs, five doubles and nine runs scored in 53 at-bats.  And while Buck's stats may eventually level off and come back down to earth, Fielder looks to be on fire in 2013 and will surely put up huge numbers as the season goes on.

Which leads me to Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, who as you know is already tied for the major league lead in RBI.  Not only that, but he leads the American League in slugging (.809) and home runs (6) and is tops in the majors with a 1.257 OPS.  Davis had a very good 2012 season, but nothing like the way he is currently performing in 2013.  If he keeps this up, don't be surprised to see his name discussed at the end of the year when MVP voting takes place.  

Finally, I think it's only fair to bring up 20-year-old phenom, Bryce Harper.  The reigning 2012 National League Rookie of the Year and Washington Nationals outfielder is proving to everyone in baseball that he is the next big thing and will be for many years to come.

And while he's not leading the league in any given category, he's compiled an impressive .364/.417/.673 slash line, five home runs, two doubles, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored in 55 at-bats.

Nationals fans should be overwhelmed with excitement right now with one of the deepest rotations in baseball and a lineup of powerful bats that should take them deep into the season and potentially to the playoffs.  

And if Harper can avoid the "sophomore slump," which he looks to have already gotten over, anything is possible for the Nats and this young superstar in the making.

So what are your thoughts?  Who did I miss?  Who would you add this list of sluggers?

Oh, and to answer the question: Pujols vs. Cabrera?  Although I love Pujols as a hitter and think he's one of the most dominating players to pick up a bat in the last decade, at the moment, how could you go against the reigning American League MVP and Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera.  

What do you think?