Baseball Players Who Have Surprised Us in 2017
I took the month of August off from blogging, in an unintentional hiatus that leaves me playing a bit of catch-up on covering all of the baseball stories that Off The Bench would usually cover. Where we usually are on the leading edge of evangelizing obscure players (see my 750 word post about middle relievers from June), I find myself on the trailing edge of baseball blogger thought leadership. Rather than paralyze my efforts because this may not reach some fictional standard by which I evaluate my blogs, I’m just going to sprint through all of the posts that I should have done and shine a light on the guys who are certainly not on the forefront of the American conscious. These are the guys that have gone from relative unknowns to legitimately exciting MLB players.
Joey Gallo has finally gotten his chance in the Major Leagues and he’s been exactly the player that the scouts said he would be. He’s still just 23 (2 years younger than Aaron Judge) and he leads the AL in HR/at bat, while checking in with 36 homers (3rd in the Majors), is 5th in slugging percentage, and has forced the Rangers to find places in the lineup for his bat. He’s chipped in 7 steals while looking like the Rangers’ best hitter for parts of the year. He still strikes out too much, but he’s looking like a real major leaguer.
Parker Bridwell is a pitcher. He’s on the Angels. Before the season he was mentioned as a prospect of note within the Orioles decision.