It’s been a wild 2017 for the MLB so far, and as we approach the coming months, it’s safe to say we’ve seen our fair share of surprises.
From rookies becoming phenomenons to veterans proving their worth, here are the biggest surprises at every position this year:
C: Willson Contreas
Contreas has been the workhorse for the Cubs over the past weeks. Currently tied for 2nd in WAR (behind Buster Posey), Contreas has been crushing it since he was called up by the team. He has powered Chicago to multiple wins in a season that began as a nightmare for the club.
After taking over for the released Miguel Montero, Contreas has proven to be a bright young talent in this league. He currently sits at 4th in batting average among catchers swinging a quality .274. He’s also racked up 21 homers…fantasy owners keep smiling.
1B: Cody Bellinger
The rookie is having one for the ages. Currently slugging a hefty .620, Bellinger has helped propel the Dodgers to one of their best seasons in long time. He’s batting .274 with 79 RBI, and yes, let’s not ignore the fact that he has 34 home runs.
A somewhat obvious pick seeing as how the rookie has been nothing short of spectacular this year however, he has had some competition. Toronto’s Justin Smoak has made eye-opening strides as well. His career high in home runs had been 20; now he’s on pace for 44. 👀 👀
2B: Eduardo Nunez
This journeyman hasn’t been the one you’d expect to see in the MLB. He’s been the real deal, and no team has given him enough credit…until now maybe. After being traded to San Francisco from Minnesota during the off season, he was quickly moved again at this year’s trade deadline ultimately landing in Boston. And Boston may have hit the jackpot.
Nunez has been fantastic for both the Giants and Red Sox this year. Batting a solid .324 with 21 stolen bases, Nunez is also keeping it in the playing field with a miniscule 40 strike outs. Not to mention he has merely been the spark plug the Red Sox have needed to push on into the final months.
3B: Justin Turner
Currently leading all third basemen in batting average and OPS, Turner, like Bellinger, has been a major factor into the success of the Dodgers this year. Batting .346 (next behind him is .312), Turner seems to finally found his sweet spot. Who was once nothing more than an average third basemen, has worked his way not only into All-Star contention, but into Championship contention.
His OPS is 1.009, so you know he is keeping his eye on the ball, and more importantly, putting it in play. His extremely low number of strikeouts speaks to that; he currently only has 36. This man is feelin’ it.
SS: Didi Gregorius
Coming off of an injury, most expected Gregorius would be slow to getting back to his usual self. And shockingly, he has done even more than the opposite of that.
Swinging a decent .306 with 56 RBI, Gregorius has been a quality relief for the Yankees as they continue to battle for the top of the AL East. He’s also crushed 18 home runs after coming off an injury earlier this season, something a lot of guys probably couldn’t do.
LF: Marcell Ozuna
Watch out for the Miami outfielders. Ozuna, following in the footsteps of his outfield counterpart Stanton, has been helping Miami fight for a wildcard spot.
He’s batting .305, with 27 homers and 89 RBI. Those quality numbers are the ones that any team would pay top dollar for. While he may strikeout more than Miami would like (108), he certainly has been doing plenty to support Marlin pitchers.
CF: Tommy Pham
The Cardinals, like their division rival Cubs, began the season on the wrong foot. Lucky, young talent can find it’s way to overshadow that.
Pham was called up from Triple-A earlier this year, and has proven to be St. Louis’ best hitter this year. He’s batting .309 which is good for second among CF/LF’s. He has steadily improved both his strikeout and walk rates since being called up, while also showing some flashes on defense.
RF: Aaron Judge
Big surpirse, right? Well yeah, kind of.
He’s cooled down since winning the home run derpy back in July, but he’s still doing plenty to power the Yankees towards the post season. We can’t forget that he’s a possible candidate for MVP…as a rookie. This guy seems as if he could be the future of this league, and he’s possibly this year’s biggest surprise.
SP: Aaron Nola
For a team that has since better days, the Phillies could not be disappointed with the games in which Nola has pitched. He currently has the 8th best ERA in the league at 3.02, while also striking out 125 and only allowing 40 ER.
He has been the one shining light in Philadelphia in this season, and it has been surprising to find that there’s even one at all.
RP: Dellin Bentances
Bentances has been savior for the Yanks as of late, digging the team out of all sorts of sticky situations late in the game.
His 96-97 MPH curveball has been deadly, and has propelled New York to some meaningful wins. While hasn’t won all of his decisions (currently 3-4), he has still been the key to keeping New York in the game when it comes to the late innings.
Featured image via Sporting News
Kyle Hirshkind is the managing editor for Full Press Coverage's New York Jets channel. Originally from Long Island, New York, Kyle has been an avid Jets fan for 20+ years.