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Baseball's Best Cleanup Hitters

David Ortiz Boston Red Sox Fantasy Baseball
Keith Allison Flickr

When you are 40 years old and in the final year of your career, people expect you to slow down and contribute little, if anything throughout the season. However, David Ortiz has been the best cleanup hitter around the league this year. He hit .324 in April with five home runs and 19 RBI which I'm sure many people felt was fluky. But in May he has only gotten better, hitting .347 with a .414 OBP, nine home runs and a league best 12 doubles and 28 RBI.
Another older guy, who actually looked done in April,  is Albert Pujols. The Angels slugger hit just .176 with a .242 OBP in April, but this May, things turned around for Pujols. He hit 100 points better at .278 with a healthy OBP of .368. His 11 home runs and 36 RBI have him on pace for 35 and 114.

How happy are the Mets that they brought back Yoenis Cespedes? The man is one shy of the league lead in home runs with 15 and is hitting .288 with a .362 OBP out of the cleanup spot. He's on pace for 49 home runs, 117 RBI and 100 runs scored. I would say he's worth every penny of the $25 million he's making.

If anyone knows where Giancarlo Stanton is, please let him know the Miami Marlins are looking for their franchise player. Stanton has been dreadful in May to say the least. The Marlins cleanup man is hitting .216 with a .328 OBP. His home runs have been cut in half from April as he has just four in May and he has struck out 40% of his at-bats this month. The strikeouts got so bad that at one point this month, Stanton went 0-17 with 15 strikeouts in a five game span. 

What has happened to Colby Rasmus? In April it looked like this guy was finally going to put it together and have that breakout season. He hit .263 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in April but in May he is hitting under .200 with just one home run and has also struck out 33 times in 98 at-bats.

Isn't a cleanup hitter supposed to be a big power bat who drives in a ton of runs? Well don't tell that to the Pirates who have 6'1, 185 lbs Starling Marte hitting cleanup this year. Marte is hitting .325 with 4 home runs, 19 RBI and 17 stolen bases, just one behind Jonathan Villar who leads the league.

It's quite rare to see a catcher hit cleanup in any lineup, considering it's by far the weakest hitting position around baseball. However, Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy have been saving catchers the embarrassment as they both have been hitting well this year and their numbers are eerily similar. Lucroy is hitting .299 with 21 extra base hits including nine home runs and 28 RBI while Posey is batting .272 with 19 extra base hits including seven home runs and 24 RBI.

David OrtizRed Sox4015818255231132443232610.348251270
Nelson CruzMariners501832175490102835254900.295224224
Anthony RizzoCubs4616720741101102936302310.246224233
Todd FrazierWhite Sox421591813640132634203430.226196232
Albert PujolsAngels481832064150102233222420.224190205
Nolan ArenadoRockies341351533961112829171400.289189264
Yoenis CespedesMets361321493881132531152910.288189227
Giancarlo StantonMarlins421531813350122126256000.216169169
Victor MartinezTigers431661805310061628101800.319167198
Edwin EncarnacionBlue Jays411581763810071729164000.241163217
Adrian GonzalezDodgers36135157437051825203100.319161183
Starling MartePirates371551665014032315438130.323160197
Mike NapoliIndians36144158317172523145520.215159218
Colby RasmusAstros39150169356081531164810.233158175
Brandon PhillipsReds41159170431026202162230.270154163
Eric HosmerRoyals3413514245815192262840.333152238
Chris DavisOrioles35126149299062516234800.230149214
Jonathan LucroyBrewers34130144409151818112900.308139205
Adrian BeltreRangers3111812836806182281100.305138213
Miguel SanoTwins29101121316071819173800.307135194
Ryan ZimmermanNationals3213014130804201693200.231123185
Buster PoseyGiants2710611527615191681410.255119188
Steve PearceRays248498285071416141500.333114148
Danny ValenciaAthletics2710010731313171271500.310104152

Stats via FanGraphs

Singles - 1pt
Doubles - 2pts
Triples - 3pts
Home runs - 2pts
RBI - 2pts
Runs Scored - 2pts
Walks - 1pt
Stolen Bases - 1pt