THE UNLIKELIEST LEAGUE LEADER
And leading all of MLB in hits? Chipper? Berkman? Mauer? Ichiro? Nope. Cristian Guzman. In case you didn’t know, Guzman plays for the Washington Nationals. And he already has 100 hits this year.
Guzman did not even play in 2006. Before then, he was best known for using the turf at the Metrodome to amass doubles and triples, eschewing walks and pitch selection, and basically being an underachiever considering his talent.
He was a prized signing of Jim Bowden in 2005, when he signed a $16.8 million, four-year contract with the Nationals. He proceeded to have the worst year of his career, needing a stellar September to make it over the .200 mark. A shoulder injury sidelined him for the entire season. And since he came back last year? Red hot.
Last year he played in only 46 games, but hit .328/.380/.466. It was just 174 ABs, so it could have been viewed as an anomaly. But he’s continued his hot hitting into this year. He’s hitting .318, tied for fifth best in the NL. He’s 3rd in the NL in doubles. Tied for 9th in total bases. And has those 100 hits.
With the possible exception of teammate Jon Rauch–another great story in baseball this year–Guzman should be representing the Nationals at this year’s All-Star game.