Aside from the Washington Nationals currently sitting in second place, the NL East has primarily gone as planned thus far.
Each team's success, or lack thereof, can be partially attributed to the play of their high-profile names.
Bryce Harper has been stellar for Washington, Justin Upton has been dominant in Atlanta and Chase Utley has resurfaced as a premier player in Philly.
Matt Harvey has proven he belongs in the big leagues as a legitimate ace. The majority of the Marlins team has been underwhelming.
Regardless, all of the teams in the division have had a handful of low-profile players contribute in unexpected ways. While some have been more influential than others, all have contributed.
The following piece will list the top five players in the NL East who are currently falling under the radar.
2013 Stats: 9 GP, .371 BA, 1.005 OPS, five doubles, one home run, five RBI, four runs
Ozuna was called up from Double-A Jacksonville last week and will fill in for Giancarlo Stanton following his hamstring injury. The 22-year-old has serious power potential and has shown some early promise during his short stint in the majors.
The young prospect has raked thus far. He has tallied an impressive four-hit game, five doubles, a home run off of Cole Hamels and five RBI. Overall, an impressive showing in his first full week of major league play.
Ozuna has posted some lofty numbers in the minor leagues and is now batting .371/.405/.600 in 37 plate appearances with the Fish.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this under-the-radar Marlins prospect is the void that Ozuna is filling with slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the shelf. Stanton is nursing a Grade 2 strain of his hamstring, a fairly serious injury that could keep him off the field between three to four weeks.
If Ozuna can continue to provide power in the middle of the Marlins lineup, he may earn himself a permanent spot on the roster for the remainder of the season.
2013 Stats: .243 BA, .810 OPS, seven home runs, 19 RBI, 11 runs, eight doubles
Like Marcell Ozuna, Gattis was another unexpected injury fill-in that ended up exceeding expectations for the Braves.
Taking the injured Brian McCann's place in the early stages of the season, Gattis did not disappoint. The emergence of Gattis will also give them added depth and lineup versatility as he's able to play the outfield with McCann now back from the disabled list.
The Braves are also willing to live with Gattis' inexperience in the outfield to keep his hot bat in the lineup. He's certainly earned a spot on the major league roster. The 26-year-old now has seven homers in just 103 at-bats, while driving in 19 runs. He obviously has legitimate pop.
2013 Stats: .235 BA, .711 OPS, six home runs, 15 RBI, 12 runs, three doubles
The 25-year-old got off to slow start this season after a big spring but he has strung together an impressive past two weeks.
Brown has gotten hot at the dish, sporting a .311 batting average with four homers and nine RBI over his last 12 games.
In his limited playing time in 2011 and 2012, the Phillies outfielder hit five home runs each year. He got to that number a lot quicker this season, driving the ball out of the park in the first two games of the weekend series with the Miami Marlins to reach five in 97 at-bats.
If Brown continues on his current pace, he could flirt with career year type numbers. He's an obvious welcomed addition to an aging lineup that consists of Ryan Howard, Michael Young and Delmon Young.
With that in mind, look for his batting average to rise going forward this season. There's 20-25 homer potential here if the Phillies do the right thing and stick with him.
2013 Stats: .236 BA, .819 OPS, 10 home runs, 29 RBI, 16 runs, three doubles,
Through the first five weeks of the season, Buck is undoubtedly one of the hottest hitters in the National League. He's driven in an NL-leading 29 runs and hit 10 home runs, second-most in the NL.
Buck leads all MLB catchers in both categories. Quite an impressive, under-the-radar, start for a relative unknown. I think it's safe to assume the Mets did not expect this type of production from the veteran catcher.
Not surprisingly, Buck is on pace to shatter career highs of 20 home runs and 60 RBI, both set in his 2010 All-Star campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays.
A regression is certainly a possibility, especially considering Buck is playing perhaps the most physically taxing position. Regardless, the Mets should enjoy this hot streak while it lasts.
2013 Stats: 6-1 record, 51.0 IP, 1.59 ERA, 0.824 WHIP, two CG, 34 SO
Zimmermann isn't flashy. In fact, he may be the most underrated pitcher in baseball. He's consistently great, as evidenced by his 1.59 ERA and 0.82 WHIP on the season.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Zimmermann's hot start is that he is outperforming the Nationals other two supposed aces. With Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez dealing with some early-season inconsistencies, Zimmermann has filled that void, helping the Nationals stay afloat within the NL East.
While Zimmermann is often overshadowed by his two teammates, he has the ability to emerge as one of the National League's best starting pitchers.
With six wins in seven starts, and sparkling peripheral numbers, Zimmermann without a doubt has to at least be in the (incredibly premature) discussion for the Cy Young Award in the National League.
All Stats Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
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