Breakout years for MLB players

Cheers and Jeers,Sports,MLB,Jeffrey Tomik

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have had historic rookie seasons, but the highly touted prospects were expected to play at this level -- although maybe not this early in their careers. Here's a list of the top breakout seasons that were less expected:

5. RF Josh Reddick, Athletics »

The 25-year-old has been the A's much-needed power bat in the middle of their lineup for their surprise playoff push. The former Red Sox prospect has a team-high 29 home runs and 79 RBIs.

4. 1B Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays » In his eighth season in the league, Encarnacion has set career highs in home runs (40) and RBIs (102). The power surge also led to a contract extension in July.

3. SP Chris Sale, White Sox »

He has gone from a bullpen option in 2010 to a Cy Young candidate in 2012. In his first season as a starter, Sale is 17-7 with a 2.82 ERA and 181 strikeouts -- ranking in the top six in the AL in all three categories.

2. 3B Chase Headley, Padres » No NL player has been hotter since the All-Star break. Headley leads the league in home runs (20) and RBIs (62) while batting .307 since July 13. The 28-year-old has inserted himself in the NL MVP discussion.

1. SP Kris Medlen, Braves » The 26-year-old has been unbeatable -- literally. After losing the first two starts of his career in 2009, he hasn't taken a loss in 26 since, and the Braves have won the last 21 of them. The right-hander began the 2012 season in the bullpen before Atlanta added him to the starting rotation July 31. Since then he is 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA in 10 starts.

- Jeffrey Tomik

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