MLB: 10 Names to Learn Before the Season Ends

Tim Stoeckle@@TimStoeckleContributor IIIJuly 30, 2012

MLB: 10 Names to Learn Before the Season Ends

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    As we prepare to enter August, the casual baseball fan has learned just about every name that needs to be learned in order to summarize the season to date.

    Mike Trout has turned into a household name, thanks to his unbelievable rookie season.

    Trout's teammate, Mark Trumbo, has earned the respect of the country with the numbers that he has put up for the Angels.

    Chris Sale and R.A. Dickey have gotten the attention that they deserve and are now well known throughout baseball.

    The following are ten guys whose names you may not be as familiar with.  If you want to impress your friends, bring up these names next time you're talking about baseball.

Alejandro De Aza

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    When asked to name hitters on the Chicago White Sox, a casual fan would list Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, A.J. Pierzynski, Kevin Youkilis, and maybe more before they even think of Alejandro De Aza.

    De Aza is hitting a respectable .278 and has an on-base percentage of .345, which puts him in the top 60 in baseball, above hitters like Curtis Granderson, Adrian Beltre and Jose Reyes.

    De Aza is a threat on the base paths as well, with 18 stolen bases for the year.

    Next time you and your friends are talking about the White Sox, show some love to De Aza.

Josh Reddick

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    The Oakland Athletics are leading the American League wild-card race, but as a team they are filled with unknown players.

    Josh Reddick has turned into one of the better power hitters in the game, with 22 home runs and 50 RBI. 

    Reddick can do more than hit the long ball, as he has a .270 batting average and an on-base percentage of .345.

    Reddick is one of the only guys on this list who may have an impact in the postseason, so it is even more important to learn his name.

Kyle Seager

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    Seattle's most well-known hitter is now playing for the Yankees, so it's now time to learn some new Mariners players.

    Kyle Seager has 62 RBI this year and is tied with Adrian Gonzalez for 23rd in the MLB.  

    His average is only .245, but his .311 on-base percentage isn't too bad.

    Seager is only 24, so he will be a force in this league for years to come.

Miguel Montero

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    Arizona's offense is full of firepower, but someone who flies under the radar a bit is Miguel Montero.

    Montero is second among catchers in baseball with 58 RBI.  He is 12th in home runs with 11, seventh in average at .282 and third in on-base percentage at .386.

    It's not like Montero came out of nowhere this year either.  He hit .282 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI last year in Arizona.

    I'm still convinced that the Diamondbacks will make a playoff run, so keep an eye on Montero for the remainder of the season.

Jason Kipnis

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    Cleveland's Jason Kipnis is a solid all-around player who deserves more attention around the league.

    Kipnis is 12th in the league with 21 steals and has driven in 56 runs; he has more steals than anyone else in the top 18 in the league.

    Those 56 RBI are tied with that of fellow second baseman Robinson Cano.

    Kipnis is very valuable to an Indians team that is still in the playoff race, and he is tied for second among second basemen in WAR at 2.6.

Mike Fiers

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    Mike Fiers hasn't pitched enough innings to qualify for the league lead in ERA or WHIP, but if he did, he'd lead the majors in ERA and be in the top 10 in WHIP.

    Fiers is 4-4 with a 1.77 ERA this year. He has given up four runs in his last 48 innings, which gives him an ERA of 0.75 since June 16th.

    Fiers won't put up huge strikeout numbers, but he does have 67 punch-outs in 66 innings pitched.

    Not only is Fiers a name that you should learn, but he is also a hidden gem in fantasy baseball.

Ryan Vogelsong

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    So, Ryan Vogelsong leads the MLB in ERA and is still the fifth most known starting pitcher on the Giants?

    Vogelsong has started 19 games this year, pitched 129.2 innings and has an ERA of 2.22.  

    Last year, Vogelsong returned to the MLB from Japan for the first time since 2006.  He went on to go 13-7 with an ERA of 2.71;  he still didn't get any attention.

    He came into 2012 picking up where he left off and still hasn't gotten any publicity.

    The 35-year old Vogelsong is a terrific success story and he deserves to be talked about; spread the word.

Scott Diamond

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    A true diamond in the rough (cheesy, I know), Scott Diamond has been the best pitcher for the Minnesota Twins this year.

    Diamond is 9-4 with a 2.88 ERA, which would put him at 14th in the Majors if he qualified.  

    The 26-year old had only 56 strikeouts in 100 innings pitched, but he has only walked 15 batters.

    Not that baseball fans outside of Minnesota talk about the Twins, but if you ever do, mention Diamond; you'll appear much smarter than you really are.

Tom Wilhelmsen

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    Since taking over as the closer in Seattle, Tom Wilhelmsen has converted 14 saves in 15 opportunities (he had one blown save on May 4 before he was the official closer).  

    Wilhelmsen's 53.2 innings pitched is the most of any player who has converted more than one save, and he still has an impressive 2.52 ERA.  

    From May 25th up to July 20th, Wilhelmsen did not allow an earned run in 23 innings pitched; he recorded eight saves during that time.

Ernesto Frieri

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    Ernesto Frieri made his Angels debut on May 5 and surrendered an earned run in only two games since joining the team.

    Frieri is 12 for 12 in save opportunities and also has six holds for the Angels.

    Frieri has pitched 30.1 innings in Los Angeles and has a 1.20 ERA.  He struck out 52 batters, more than Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman has in 70 innings pitched.

    As far as dominant relievers go this season, Frieri has to be towards the top of the list, but his name is still unknown throughout the country. 




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