Breakout years for MLB players

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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

jtomik@washingtonexaminer.com

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Jeffrey Tomik

Sports editor
The Washington Examiner