5 MLB Players Who Are Finally Showing Signs of Life in 2012
The season goes 162 games for a reason, and the most important aspect you can find in a baseball player over such a long season is consistency, but those that can achieve this are few and far between.
Some guys on this list were expected to have great seasons, only to be slow out of the gates, while others are pleasantly surprising their own fans, soaring past their prior expectations.
As the fall rapidly approaches, these five guys will be crucial to their team's success if they want to be playing ball when October comes around.
Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
There hasn't been a lot of things for Padres fans to get excited about as of late, but one shining spot is Chase Headley, who has really turned it on as of late.
In comparison to his teammates, he has been hitting pretty well, but before his 0-for-5 performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 12th, Headley had hit five home runs with 13 RBI over seven games, and he was even named National League Player of the Week.
There is a better chance that the sun will burn out than the Padres will make the playoffs in 2012, but hopefully Headley will help the San Diego play the role of spoiler as the fall approaches.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
At just 20 years old, Machado has come up from Double-A, and his debut week was nothing short of spectacular. Five of his six hits went for extra bases, which included three home runs.
Machado was brought up to show some signs of life for the Orioles, who have won seven of their last 10 games and find themselves only 5.5 games back of the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East.
Currently at nine games over .500, the Orioles will need Machado to continue to play well if they want to surprise the nation by making the playoffs in arguably the toughest division in the game.
Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers
Alex Avila is a good hitter, but he's not a guy that usually turns heads. After playing his first 75 games hitting right around .250, Avila has finally been showing signs of life in the last week.
He is hitting .452 over his last 10 games, and he has also drawn seven walks. He is a guy who sits deeper in the lineup, and manager Jim Leyland can still have faith in him to get on base if they need a late-inning rally.
The Tigers have been better in the second half of the season, and they've been going back and forth with the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central. With the hitting depth the Tigers have, and a solid pitching staff led by Justin Verlander, Avila could be a huge piece to the puzzle if Detroit is going to make a run toward the pennant.
Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates
The most coveted prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates' system all year long has been Starling Marte, and ever since he was called up about three weeks ago, he has not been a disappointment. He has mellowed out after a fast start and is hitting .270, but the Bucs finally have someone who can lead off and steal bases.
Pittsburgh has been one of the best surprises of the majors this season, and they are still well in the realm of being a possible playoff contender.
Marte could get hot at any time, and he has already shown his ability to both play small ball and hit for power by putting a few balls into the bleachers.
Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels
When you sign a contract worth $240 million, it is going to be really hard to prove to management that you are worth every penny of that absurd sum. Albert Pujols has found out the hard way what it feels like to be under that much pressure.
Erick Aybar has been there to pick up some of the slack as of late, and he has 11 hits in his last six games, pushing his season average to just under .300 for the season. Pujols has just one hit over the same span.
If the Angels, who currently sit 7.5 games back in the AL West division, want to make any attempt at playing ball in October, Pujols will have to pick his game up, and Aybar will need to continue to succeed when the lineup around him is struggling.