Chase Headley, welcome to the NL MVP discussion.
The Padres third baseman entered Wednesday's games with the league lead in RBIs (102) and has been the hottest hitter since the All-Star break.
Since July 13, no one has had more homers (19) and RBIs (60) than Headley.
While the Padres have no chance at the postseason, Headley's surge has helped the Padres play spoiler. San Diego has gone 34-22 since the break, including recent series wins over the Cardinals, Dodgers, Braves and Pirates -- who all are vying for the two wild-card spots.
Headley won't be the only NL MVP candidate without a postseason berth on his resume. The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, the Brewers' Ryan Braun and the Mets' David Wright also may miss the playoffs. The only NL MVP candidate with his team in solid postseason position is Giants catcher Buster Posey.
At the very least, Headley has proved to be the middle-of-the-lineup power bat the Padres have been missing since Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Red Sox before the 2011 season.
- Jeffrey Tomik