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Center Stage  2008 Young Stars Center Stage 2008 Young Stars

Stand up and take notice! Hustling and all-around play brings attention to our productive batsmen

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Center Stage – 2008 Leading Young Batters


A look at what transpired in the major leagues in 2008. The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4 games to one in the 2008 World Series. Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves led the majors with a robust .364 batting average. Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins led the AL with a .328 batting average.


Leading Batsmen


Christian Guzman, Washington Nationals Shortstop – A line drive hitter, Christian Guzman overcame a serious of injuries that caused him to miss all of 2006 and most of 2007, and returned to full speed once again in 2008. Born in the Dominican Republic, Christian Guzman broke into the majors with the Minnesota Twins back in 1999 and had a .226 batting average in 131 games. In his sophomore season, 2000 he hit .247 had 25 doubles, stole 28 bases and led the majors with 20 triples.

In 2001 he hit .302 and led the AL with 14 triples. Christian Guzman signed a mega-dollar $$$, 5-year baseball contract with the Washington Nationals on 11.16.2004. Last year in 2008 his excellent batting discipline showed by batting over .300 all season-long, and ending with .316 in 138 games at the shortstop position.    


Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers Second Baseman – A slick-fielder, Ian Kinsler had a very solid batting year in 2008, his second major league season. Although he missed 40 games due to a hernia, out from Aug 18 thru the end of the season, Ian Kinsler compiled a .319 batting average, 4th highest in the American League, lined 41 doubles 10th highest, and 18 homers, stole 26 bases, scored 102 runs with 71 RBIs. Scouts give high ratings, and say he can be one of the leading all-around baseball players in the next couple of years.

Ian Kinsler started in professional baseball with Spokane of the NW League in 2003 and hit .277 in 51 games. He worked his way up the minor league ladder and as a rookie for the Texas Rangers in 2007 batted .263 with 22 Ds, 20 Hrs scored 96 runs, 61 RBIs and stole 23 bases.


2008 Hits Leaders


Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox 213… Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners 213


Jose Reyes, New York Mets 204… Jose Lopez, Seattle Mariners 191


Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers 190… David Wright, New York Mets 189


Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins 187… Orlando Cabrera, Chicago White Sox 186… Raul Ibanez, Seattle Mariners 186



Vernon Wells, Toronto Blue Jays Centerfielder RH - He took over the starting centerfielder role for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002 and immediately put up solid batting statistics. From 2002-2006 Vernon Wells has batted .275, .317, .272, .269 and .303 and has posted a very fine .335 on base percentage and has three seasons of over 100 RBI. In 2003 he led the American League with 215 hits and in doubles with 49. A noted clutch-hitter, he uses an open batting stance and displays patience as he waits for the pitch he wants. Vernon Wells quickly became a highly rated complete ballplayer. An all-around athlete, defensively Vernon Wells is one of the top centerfielders in the game. He can charge the ball well or he quickstep and cover the gaps and angels in every park with ease.

At age 30 in 2008 he batted .300 in 108 games despite being on the disabled list twice with a hamstring and wrist injury.


Raul Ibanez, Seattle Mariners Left-fielder – A very fine left-handed batsman, he was born in New York City and broke into the majors with the Seattle Mariners, playing in 4 games in 1997. His first full-season was 1999 when he batted .258 with 7 doubles, 9 homers in 209 at bats, despite being on the disabled list from May 18 thru June 3. He signed with the Kansas City Royals after the 2003 season and played OF/1B/3B for 3 seasons in KC, hitting .280, .299 and .299. After 2003 he signed with the Mariners again.

Although Raul Ibanez swings with power he has good command of the bat and has a fine ratio of strikeouts to at bats, strikes out once every 7 at bats. He powers the baseball to all fields and his compact batting swing has produced over 30 doubles every year from 2002 thru ’08 and had 5 seasons of over 20 homers, including career-high with 33 homers and 123 RBIs. In 2008 Raul Ibanez swung a red-hot hitting stick all thru the summer, batting .346 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs from the middle of June until Sept. He has notched over 100 RBIs the last 3 seasons for Seattle, 2006-08, with 123, 105 and 110. Then at age 36 Raul Ibanez waved good-bye to the Mariners and signed as a free agent with the Phillies on December 16, 2008.  

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