Remember Jonathan Sanchez?
He was this pitcher the San Francisco Giants had for a while. This one time he pitched a no-hitter, but a whole bunch of other times he didn't. During the offseason, the Giants traded Sanchez to the Kansas City Royals for Melky Cabrera. At the time, the trade was perceived as a rather even deal for both sides. In hindsight, it seems like highway robbery.
To say Melky Cabrera is on fire in 2012 is to pay fire a compliment. He has 102 hits, 49 runs and a .353 batting average. Those numbers are good for first, second and third overall in the National League.
Last week, Cabrera overtook reigning MVP Ryan Braun for the third starting spot in fan votes for the 2012 All-Star game. Meanwhile, Jonathan Sanchez is 1-3 with 5.70 ERA.
For a team that lost its star closer, has two starting pitchers struggling and not much in the way of a power offense, Cabrera has been a major reason they sit only three games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
Certainly, Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with, but some of his truly Herculean statistics will inevitably regress a bit in the latter half of the season.
Who, then, will the Giants count on to take them through the homestretch and back into October baseball?
Here are five candidates to be the Giant's second-half "Melky Cabrera."