Please note that these rankings are EXTREMELY early and there is a whole offseason worth of projections and analysis ahead.
1. Albert Pujols – Think this has been a down year for Pujols? .296/.366/.545 with 35 bombs ain’t too shabby. If he hadn’t have missed time with the wrist injury, his R and RBI numbers would be even better (94 and 93 respectively).
2. Adrian Gonzalez – A-Gon has gone gonzo hitting in Fenway Park, but he’s actually hit for more power on the road (.166 ISO at home, .267 ISO on the road). He should continue to mash as the main cog in that tremendous Red Sox lineup in 2012.
3. Miguel Cabrera – Almost undervalued it seems, M-Can has put up MVP type number in a year with a ton of strong candidates.
4. Joey Votto – Still on the verge of 30 homers, even though he has been pitched around all season long (105 walks plus 12 intentional walks).
5. Prince Fielder – We’ll see where he lands this offseason, not back in Milwaukee I guess, but it shouldn’t have too big of an impact on one of the game’s premier power hitters.
6. Mark Teixeira – The increasing fly-ball rate is worrisome, as is his struggles from the left-side over the past two seasons. It’s hard to hit almost 40 home runs and be considered a disappointment, but Tex’s AVG hurts. He’ll be 32 in April of 2012, so he’s not over the hill just yet. I’d be more than happy if he falls to the third round.
7. Michael Morse – He didn’t start the season as a full-time player, but he has ended it like a cornerstone of the Nats’ lineup. More caries some risk due to his aggressive approach — it wouldn’t surprise me to see his AVG drop to the .265-.275 range next year — but the power numbers are legit.
8. Paul Konerko – Not getting any younger, but has put together a late-career renaissance over the last two seasons.
9. Ryan Howard – The decline against lefties is worrisome, but you can still lock in 30 HR and 100-plus RBI.
10. Freddie Freeman/Eric Hosmer – I like both of these rookies and can’t make a decision for one over the other just yet. However, my gut might be leaning toward Hosmer.