Five up, five down for July

Updated: August 1, 2011, 1:30 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

On this fine first day of August, with the non-waiver trade deadline in our rear view mirror, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look on the field at hitting performances of July that could have taught us something that we can apply moving forward. So, here we go!

Five who shined in July

Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox: The former AL MVP seems right on track to do it again. In fact, using Wins Above Replacement from Fangraphs.com as a guide, the only better performer this season -- in either league -- is Jose Bautista. Pedroia not only hit .411 in July but swatted eight home runs, second in the majors. Pedroia has re-established himself as a top-20 overall player, with power and speed, as he and recovered Phillie Chase Utley (.941 OPS, 5 HR, 6 SB in July) make a strong case to join Robinson Cano as a trio of exciting second-round keystone draft picks in 2012.

Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago Cubs: He led the bigs with nine home runs, continuing his run from June when he swatted eight. I can't explain why Ramirez hit a entered June having hit only two home runs all season -- though he was always hitting for average -- nor does it make a ton of sense why he didn't want to play for a winning team (and thus wasn't traded), but I'd say we should all enjoy his first 30-home run season since 2006. He should hit in 2012, too.

Billy Butler, 1B/DH, Kansas City Royals: In truth, his July wasn't the story, but his past 10 days, as he hit six home runs. That matched his power output for the previous 15 weeks. Butler has essentially stopped taking walks and hitting doubles during this stretch, which might not be in everyone's best interests [e] but it's clear he can hit the home runs. I need to see more, because four walks against 24 whiffs in July is not Billy Butler. Perhaps six homers in 10 days isn't as well.