MLB Playoff Predictions: Who Will Be This Year's David Freese?

Ben LaymanCorrespondent IOctober 3, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a two run home run in the seventh inning during a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 26, 2012 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

David Freese became the talk of Major League Baseball during last year's playoffs, when his scorching hot bat helped carry the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series victory.

The Cardinals entered the playoffs in 2011 as a hot Wild Card team, and Freese's epic pace was one of the main catalysts for St. Louis' playoff success.

The 2012 MLB playoffs will feature some new young stars like Freese who could end up carrying their teams all the way to the finish line.

Here are a few players who could be this year's David Freese:

Josh Reddick

The Oakland Athletics have relied on Josh Reddick in 2012 just as much as media darling Yoenis Cespedes. Manager Bob Melvin has hit Reddick in the middle of Oakland's lineup all year, which tells fans that regardless of his streaky nature, the A's view him as one of their most important hitters.

Streaks go both ways, and though Reddick struggled in September, his at-bats in the last week have shown he's coming around. Reddick hasn't put together back-to-back poor months during the 2012 season, and there's no reason to expect he will.

The Oakland slugger is capable of bursts of big-time production, as seen by the 10 home runs he hit in May.

If Reddick's luck continues to turn as it has in recent games, the A's right fielder could become this year's post-season breakout star.

Chris Davis

The Baltimore Orioles slugger has started early on making a name for himself in baseball circles. As of October 2, Chris Davis had hit home runs in six consecutive games. The streak began with a multi-home run game on September 26.

Manager Buck Showalter has been known to play the hot hand, and he's finding any way possible to get Davis into the lineup. Davis plays first base and right field, so it shouldn't be difficult for the Orioles to get him at-bats.

Davis has had an up-and-down career, with more downs for the most part, but he seems to be rejuvenated in Baltimore. His 33 home runs and 85 runs batted in put him in elite slugging company and make him one of the most surprising slugging stories of 2012.

Ian Desmond

The Washington Nationals shortstop finally solidified himself among the elite shortstops in MLB in 2012 after a couple of forgettable seasons to start his career. The 27-year-old is now primed to make an even bigger name for himself on the big stage provided by October baseball.

Ian Desmond has been the most consistent Nat since the All Star break. He's posted an impressive line of .303/.368/.503 to go with eight home runs, 22 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases since then. Desmond has always been an aggressive hitter, and his approach profiles well for a hitter catching fire in October.

The Nationals are built to be a successful playoff team, and Desmond should get plenty of at-bats in October.