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Ranking The Best 3-4 Hitting Combos in Baseball

by Photo of Andrew Lontos

Which dynamic duo is best?

Ranking The Best 3-4 Hitting Combos in Baseball

1. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

The righty-lefty combination reminds baseball fans of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz when they tore through the American League in Boston. They're that good. This year, Braun has a .402 on base percentage, with 13 home runs and 45 runs batted in. He's even stealing bases; his 14 swipes match last years total and are on pace to shatter his career high of 20. Fielder, like Braun, has been a stud since he came into the league.  He hit 50 home runs when he was just 23. Now, at 27, Prince is slugging .597 and his 17 home runs and 54 runs batted in lead the National League thus far.

2. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers

The only thing holding back this power hitting tandem is injury problems. Both Hamilton and Cruz have each only played 100 games in a season twice. But when they're on the field, look out.  Hamilton was the American League MVP last year, leading baseball with a 1.044 on base plus slugging. 2010 was a monster year for Cruz as well. He slugged .576 and hit 22 home runs in only 108 games. Each of these guys has already been on the disabled list this year, but they are both back and starting to heat up as the season gets into full swing.Today on ESPN, they showed great stats that display the impact these hitters have. With both in the lineup this year, the Rangers are 19-7 and score 6.0 runs per game. Without the two, they are 16-21 and score 3.9 runs per game.

3. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

In his first year with the Yankees in 2009, Teixeira finished second in the MVP voting and led the league with 39 home runs and 122 runs batted in. Despite a tough start to last season, he still finished with 33 home runs, 108 runs batted in, and led the league with 113 runs scored. Rodriguez, as if anyone disputes this, has been at the top of the game for over a decade. A-Rod has led the league in home runs in 5 of the last 10 seasons. His last was in 2007 when he hit 54, but his 35/103, 30/100, 30/125 in the last three years proves he's still a force to be reckoned with. It says a lot about the Yankees lineup that Robinson Cano might just be better than both of them.

4. Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox

Gonzalez has been one of the best hitters in the game the past 5 years. Playing in pitcher friendly Petco Park, his on base plus slugging in 2008, 2009, and 2010 was .871, .958, and .904.  Playing his first season with the Red Sox, Gonzalez is off to a tear, leading the league in hits, runs batted in, and total bases. Youkilis is holding this combo back right now. He's not off to a great start, hitting .255 with 8 home runs- although his on base plus slugging is a solid .850 considering. Let's see if he can return to form; in 2008 and 2009 he finished in the top ten in MVP voting.

5. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Carlos Gonzalez had a monster year in 2010. At 24, he finished 3rd in the MVP voting. His .336 average, 34 home runs, and 117 runs batted in have Colorado fans very excited. Throw in his 26 steals and you have a special player. Besides the fact that he plays an outstanding shortstop, Tulowitzki's .930 (10th) and .949 (4th) on base plus slugging the past 2 years is phenomenal. Plus, when he's hot, no one is better. Last September, the Rockies' franchise player hit 15 home runs and drove in 40 runs. Think about that.

Notables:

Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals

Pujols has been the best player in the game, so it's hard to keep him out of the top 5. But he got off to a slow start and hasn't had the consistent partner to form a dynamic duo. Holliday has been an outstanding hitter, but he's been injured and hasn't produced enough with Pujols. These two easily have the potential to be at the top of the list.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia left handers have been one of the best combos in baseball, but Utley's thumb injury plagued him last year and he has only played in 14 games so far in 2011.

Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

Votto was the National League MVP last year, but we need to see more from Bruce before they make the top 5. So far so good, as he's hitting a career high .299 and tied with Fielder for the National League lead with 17 home runs.

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