10) Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Ichiro had his worst all around season since coming to America in 2011. He hit a career worst .272, which is 54 points below his career average. He had his first non 200 hit season and finished with 184 hits which was good for 9th in the AL last season. He still has his speed, stealing 40 bases last year which was 3rd in the league. Ichiro's steak of 10 straight Gold Gloves also ended last year, but he is still a good defender. Ichiro is 38 now and has 2428 hits in 11 seasons in the big leagues. He's less than 600 hits away from 3,000, but you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank.
9) Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Ethier battled through some injuries last year, but made his second All Star team in 2011. He did win his first Gold Glove as well. He batted .292 with a .368 OBP but his power numbers were down only hitting 11 home runs and 62 RBIs and slugging just .421. Just two years ago, Ethier had 31 home runs and 106 RBIs and finished 6th in MVP voting. The Dodgers are hoping he can regain his health and power in 2012.
8) Nelson Cruz, Rangers
The best part of Cruz's game is his power. He hit 29 home runs and drove in 87 runs and had a .509 slugging pct. last year. He batted .263 but had a subpar .312 OBP in 2011. He won the ALCS MVP in 2011 and hit 8 home runs and 16 RBIs during the postseason last year. Cruz already has 14 career postseason home runs in 33 games.
7) Nick Markakis, Orioles
Markakis has quietely been one of the majors best right fielders for the past five years, toiling in obscurity in Baltimore. He won his first Gold Glove in 2011 and had 12 outfield assists. He actually had a down year offensively for him, posting a career worst batting average at .284. His power was down as well, but he still hit 15 home runs and 31 doubles last year. But, this is a guy who had 4 straight 40 double seasons prior to last year, and has twice drove in over 100 runs.
6) Corey Hart, Brewers
Brewers manager Ron Roniecke was batting Hart at the leadoff spot in the second half of last season. That explains why his RBIs were down driving in only 63 runs after driving in 102 the previous season. Still, Hart had a good year batting .285 with a .356 OBP and a .510 slugging pct. and hit 26 home runs.
5) Jay Bruce, Reds
Bruce made his first All Star team with the Reds last year. He was 8th in the NL with 32 home runs and 8th in RBIs with 97. Bruce still strikes out alot, although not quite as much as former Red and strikeout machine Adam Dunn. Bruce is also a way better defensive player than Dunn is.
4) Hunter Pence, Phillies
Pence went from playing on a 100 loss team(Astros) to playing on a team that would win over 100 games last year. Pence was 4th in the National League with a .314 batting average, 8th with a .537 slugging ptc. 7th in total bases with 304 and 4th in doubles with 38. He also hit 22 home runs, 97 RBIs, and was 3rd in the NL with 11 outfield assists.
3) Mike Stanton, Marlins
In only his second year, Stanton hit 34 home runs playing his home games in a tough pitcher's park. He was also 5th in the NL with a .537 slugging pct. and had 10 outfield assists last year. Stanton is only 22, and is just scratching the surface of his potential.
2) Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
Upton rebounded from a off year in 2010 and helped lead his team to the postseason in 2011. Upton hit .289 with 31 home runs and 88 RBIs last year. He slugged .529 and was 5th in the NL with 313 total bases. Upton also finished 4th in MVP voting and made his second All Star team last year.
1) Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Bautista proved in 2011 he wasn't a fluke. He led the American League in slugging pct. with .608, was 2nd in OBP with .447, was 6th in total bases with 315, 6th in runs with 105, 10th in RBIs with 103, and led the AL in home runs again with 43. Bautista has hit 97 home runs the last 2 seasons, the most in the big leagues during that time. He also finished in the top five in MVP voting for the second straight year. Blue Jays hitting coach Dwayne Murphy deserves props for fixing Bautista's swing because he wasn't much of a hitter when he played for the Pirates.