2. J.J. Hardy
Years as a Brewer: 2005-2009
James Jerry Hardy was the Brewers 2nd round pick in 2001 and quickly was added to the homegrown base of Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and Prince Fielder that would become the core of some very good Milwaukee teams.
J.J. was not fast, but he was a big shortstop that had great hands and had a very strong arm. If he touched the baseball, the hitter was usually going to be out. He was good enough defensively that he would later win 3 Gold Gloves after leaving the Milwaukee Brewers.
Hardy had his breakthrough season at the age of 24 in his 3rd season in Milwaukee. He slugged 26 home runs and knocked in 80, on his way to his first All-Star berth. The next season, the Brewers made the playoffs for the first time since 1982, and Hardy arguably had his best year. He increased his average to .283, slugged 24 more home runs, and attained a career best .821 OPS. Just like Listach in 1992, having great seasons on very good teams allows for a higher grade.
Hardy hit a performance wall in 2009. It got so bad that he was optioned to AAA and ended up hitting only .229 for the season. In a classic trade of struggling, yet talented players, Hardy was swapped to the Twins for Carlos Gomez that offseason. Hardy would later find his footing in Baltimore and would have many very good years there, including another All-Star berth and a Silver Slugger award.