Best Of 2008

BEST RAY WHO SHOULD GET MORE LOVE: Akinori Iwamura

Akinori Iwamura

Amid third baseman Evan Longoria’s run toward Rookie of the Year, shortstop Jason Bartlett’s shoring up of the defense, catcher Dioner Navarro making the All-Star game, strong performances by virtually all of the starting pitchers, great bullpen work, and over-achieving role players like Eric Hinske, Gabe Gross, Ben Zobrist and Willie Aybar, sometimes we forget about Aki. He just happens to be a super-solid leadoff hitter and top-shelf second baseman (who made the switch from third base this year). While his stats don’t blow you away, he shows up game after game and performs. He’s a Japanese import we all should love — and show it. Hey Aki, luv ya, babe. Have someone translate.