For MLB players entering free agency, the season before they hit the open market is of upmost importance.
If they have a stellar statistical season, then the amount of money they can expect in a new contract goes up. If they have a down year, then the opposite is true.
Many people think that a player will try harder to put up big stats the year before they are scheduled for free agency. While that may be true, additional effort can be a double-edged sword. More effort can translate into better stats, but it can also lead to pressing at the plate or on the mound.
With that being said, here are 10 contract-year players who are off to scorching hot starts in 2012.