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MLB spotlight: Impact players

MLB top players 2018

As the 2018 MLB season thunders on, several players are warming up quickly on the diamond. The hot starts from these impact players have already grabbed the attention of the league, as well as fans. Of course, a team’s success cannot rely on one name’s outing alone. But these players have given their clubs plenty of help.

Here is a look at the players starting red hot in 2018. Whether at the plate, on the mound or on the diamond, they have stood out from the rest of the pack. These veterans, rookies and managers have made splashes in less than three weeks of baseball.

From familiar faces to the new kids in town, these are some of the impact players and managers so far.

American League Impact Players

In the AL West, the Oakland Athletics did not start 2018 very well. The A’s sit at 7-10 currently, but one infielder has been dominating in the batter’s box. That would be third baseman, Matt Chapman.

MLB top players 2018
(Photo from ESPN.com)

The 24-year-old has belted five home runs and 12 RBIs to go along with a .317 batting average. Two of those homers and five of those RBIs have come from his last five games. Oakland will have a lot of work to do for their 2018 season, but if Chapman keeps swinging like this, the A’s can find themselves a spark they need to bring in more wins.

Staying in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels are on a tear with a 13-3 record. It seems that the league cannot stop talking about the one-two punch of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, and why not? Ohtani has played up to the hype and more.

On the mound, Ohtani has a 2.08 ERA and 2-0 record. On top of that, he has tallied three home runs, 11 RBIs, and a .367 batting average. This is a pitcher we are talking about! Although he has showcased his talents as an outfielder, his cleats on the mound and the batter’s box are where he is the most dangerous.

Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox are blazing through April and the rest of the AL East. Alex Cora seems to have found his footing in his first year as Boston’s skipper. The Red Sox are playing razor sharp on offense and defense. Cora has no doubt found winning formulas, and if this continues, taking the AL East will only be the beginning for Cora and company.

National League Impact Players

Over in the NL Central, the St. Louis Cardinals are off to a more than solid start. One of the players helping bring wins is first baseman, José Martínez.

MLB top players 2018
(Photo from St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The 29-year-old is catching fire in the batter’s box with 15 RBIs, which is the second most in the National League. Not to mention he has belted three home runs and rocks a .364 batting average. In the National League, St. Louis has become a notable force in offensive production. Martínez is one of the biggest reasons why.

In the NL West, the San Diego Padres are still finding their footing. 7-11 is not a terrible start, but San Diego has more work to do to turn this season around. One of the growing number of bright spots for the club is rookie ace, Joey Lucchesi.

Lucchesi stands with a 2-0 record and 1.66 ERA. In addition, teams have only managed to record a .221 batting average against him. If he can keep this up, his name can pop up in the NL Rookie of the Year conversation.

Moving to the NL East, the New York Mets sit comfortably at the top with a 12-3 record. The Mets now have won eight of their last 10 games, with first-year skipper, Mickey Callaway, at the helm. Callaway, a former pitcher, served as the pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians prior to taking the Mets job. Considering that the Indians have improved as a pitching unit while he was there and the Mets have the second best ERA in the league right now, clearly something is working.

As the Season Progresses

More players are looking to strike big and get their names out there in 2018. With plenty of baseball still in store, anyone can rise to the occasion and make an impact under the lights. But with October on everyone’s minds, one man carrying the team will not stand as a winning formula forever. The whole unit must hunker down to remain ahead or turn around their misfortunes.

 

Featured image by Getty Images

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