Nothing is more disheartening for baseball fans than to see their team’s top slugger step up to the plate … to be intentionally walked. Unfortunately, if you are fans of some of these guys, this is a sight you are just going to have to get used to this season.
Here are some of the most feared hitters in Major League Baseball heading into the new season.
MIGUEL CABRERA (DETROIT TIGERS)
There is no doubt that Cabrera is the most dangerous hitter in baseball right now. Anyone that requires proof of that simply needs to look back to last year when he earned the Triple Crown — the first time a player has done so in the last 45 years. Cabrera is still relatively young, so he will not be slowing any time soon. This year, he looks to build on the 44 home runs and 139 RBIs he accumulated last year.
JOSH HAMILTON (LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM)
In terms of power hitters, Hamilton has the market cornered. He finished up last season with 43 home runs — that’s even in a season that saw its share of rough patches.
The former Texas Ranger will be suiting up for the Angels this season. However, just because the jersey is different does not mean his raw strength at the plate will be any different.
PRINCE FIELDER (DETROIT TIGERS)
The Tigers are stacked with power at the plate. Two years ago, picturing Prince Fielder as second fiddle in a line-up would have been ridiculous. But, with Cabrera anchoring the Tigers, Fielder is a formidable complement.
Make no mistake — Fielder can still do some damage. He capped last year with 30 home runs and 108 RBIs. He will continue to be effective because it is impossible to pitch around him. He shares the line-up with such firepower as Cabrera, Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson.
EDWIN ENCARNACION (TORONTO BLUE JAYS)
Here is a guy that may have flown under the radar last year, mainly because his team was less-than-stellar. Still, Encarnacion earned himself a nice contract extension by belting 42 home runs and driving in 110 runs. With a healthy Jose Bautista back in the line-up, opposing pitchers will not have to pick their poison.
RYAN BRAUN (MILWAUKEE BREWERS)
After being dogged with allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs early in the year last season, Braun bounced back to blast a National League-leading 41 home runs in addition to 112 RBIs. Braun is a power hitter trapped in a contact hitter’s body, as he recorded 30 stolen bases to boot.
Braun has cleared his name and cemented his reputation at the plate. Pitchers most likely have taken notice.
BRYCE HARPER (WASHINGTON NATIONALS)
While last year’s stats (22 home runs, 59 RBIs) might not be particularly jaw dropping for Bryce Harper, they come into context when you look at the fact he was still a teenager at the time. He is only going to get better. Just look at Washington’s season-opening game against the Miami Marlins — Harper parked two homeruns, which were his team’s only runs of the game.