These 9 Baseball Players You've Never Heard Of Are Having Monster Seasons

Ryan Sweeney Boston Red Sox

Photo: AP Images

Everyone knows Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton are off to incredible seasons as they run away with the National League and American League MVP awards, respectively.And as expected, David Price and Roy Halladay are pitching lights out as they once again challenge for Cy Young awards.

But what about the rising stars? Or veterans who seem to have finally hit their stride?

Because baseball has a long season spanning the better part of six months, it’s easy to miss out on a bunch of great players if they’re just beginning to show signs of stardom.

Note: Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and up-to-date through games played on 5/3/12.

Baltimore Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones was supposed to be a breakout star years ago, but it looks like it just took him a while. Jones is finally living up to expectations, hitting .316 with 6 home runs

Brandon Beachy is the newest exceptional starter in the long line of successful Atlanta Braves pitchers. Beachy is 2-1 with a 1.38 ERA as batters only hit .193 against him

After coming up as a top prospect for the Cincinnati Reds and never amounting to much, Edwin Encarnacion has turned a corner as the Toronto Blue Jays DH. Encarnacion has been on a tear the first few weeks of the season, hitting .320 with 9 home runs, 24 RBI, and an other-worldly 1.057 OPS

Many criticised the Arizona Diamondback for signing a portly Jason Kubel to play in the outfield. So far, Kubel has proven everyone wrong with a .333/.393/.519 slash line

The St. Louis Cardinals' rotation took a big hit when ace Chris Carpenter was shelved with an injury before the season. Luckily Kyle Lohse has taken over, going 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and impressive 21-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is easily the biggest surprise so far in 2012. His team may stink, but Altuve is hitting at a .358 clip with 3 triples, and 4 stolen bases from the two-hole

Everyone expected the Texas Rangers pitching to be good, but not this good. Left-handed reliever Robbie Ross has anchored the bullpen, giving up just 2 earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched. He's also picked up 4 wins in the process

With Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury on the DL, the Boston Red Sox outfield was starting to look like a lost cause. Then came Ryan Sweeney, who's posted a .361 average, 12 doubles, and a .397 on-base percentage

First baseman Chris Davis is another player off to a hot start for a good Baltimore Orioles team. Davis' power numbers (5 HR, .595 SLG) have been huge

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