It's mid-June, and the 2008 MLB season is in full force. Many players around the league have underperformed thus far this season (see: Jones, Andruw; Zito, Barry; Kennedy, Adam), but there is, in fact, some players out there who have been just flat-out baller this season. There are great stories, amazing comebacks, 30-something-guys hitting above .400, and numerous other unprecedented occurrences this season. Here's the list of the best players thus far in '08.
Catcher- Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
That former .209 hitter is batting .294 with 3 home runs and 24 RBI's this season. That's much more than the Cardinals expect from him considering Molina is the best defensive catcher in the Majors and they would probably be satisfied if he were hitting sub-.100. Molina throws out an unprecedented percentage of would be base stealers, and he seems to be well on his way (finally) to winning his first Gold Glove.
Runner up- Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers
First Base- Lance Berkman, Houston Astros
Berkman was ridiculously on-fire during the month of May, and he's receiving some well-deserved attention from opposing pitchers because of it. Berkman is having his best season to date, as he's currently hitting .379 with 19 home runs and 56 runs batted in. He's carrying a (so far) overachieving Astros club, and looks to do so for the rest of the '08 campaign.
Runner up- Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Second Base- Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
This is probably the most no-brainer choice of all, as Utley is setting second-baseman records left and right, and he is currently the leading contender for the 2008 NL MVP. Utley is going to run away with the second base All-Star balloting, and he looks to become the third straight Phillie to win the MVP award.
Runner up- Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins
Third Base- Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves
Once again, a no-brainer. Many believe that Larry can become the first guy to hit .400 since Carl Yastrzemski, and he's doing all of this while in his mid-thirties. Jones seems to be like a fine wine, getting better with age, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Runner up- Garret Atkins, Colorado Rockies
Shortstop- Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs
I know. A Cub. But I had to put him on here, as he's batting .321, the best average in the Major Leagues among shortstops thus far. I don't expect him to keep it up, though, as I think Hanley Ramirez is overall the best shortstop in the big leagues (although his defense could use some work).
Runner up- Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros
Outfield- Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
I know. Finally, an American Leaguer. Hamilton is a serious contender for the Triple Crown in the AL, and he could be the first one to do so since Mickey Mantle. Hamilton is a great story, and he is certainly having an absolute break-out season for the Rangers.
Runner up- Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals
Pitcher- Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians
Lee was nearly released by Cleveland this off-season, but they decided to keep him, and it's paying major dividends. Lee has a sub-3 ERA and is second in the Majors with ten victories. For a struggling Cleveland ball club, Lee has definitely been a bright spot.
Runner up- Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds
Carlos Quention, Chicago White Sox
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Milton Bradley, Texas Rangers