The fans' top 5 breakout stars in baseball
1. Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants
Pablo Sandoval was called up by the Giants last season and was a hitting machine. He hit .345, but it was in just 45 games. This season, though, Sandoval proved it was no fluke and became a cornerstone of the Giants offense. Nicknamed King Fu Panda, he's hitting .322 with 21 HR and 77 RBI. On a team boasting very little offensive production, Sandoval has been key to San Fran's success.
2. Kendry Morales, 1B, Angels
Kendry Morales had seen limited action with the Angels since 2005. Last season, in 27 games, Morales hit an ugly .213 with three homers. Handed the full-time 1B gig after Casey Kotchman was traded, Morales exploded this season. He's hitting .301 with 30 HR and 98 RBI. His power numbers are among the league leaders and he's a candidate for the AL MVP Award.
3. Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers
Andre Ethier had a very solid 2008 season, hitting .305 with 20 homers and 77 RBI. While it was a nice season for the outfielder, Ethier has experienced a power surge in 2009, making him one of the NL's elite sluggers. Through Sept. 24, he is hitting .279 with 31 homers and 101 RBI.
4. J.A. Happ, SP, Phillies
After starting one game in 2007, J.A. Happ was called up in 2008 and pitched in eight games, starting four, and showed flashes of potential. After starting off in the bullpen this season, Happ was plugged into the rotation and has been dominating. He has a 10-4 record with a sparkling 2.77 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and 104 strikeouts.
5. Aaron Hill, 2B, Blue Jays
Aaron Hill had what many thought would be his breakout season in 2007 when he hit .291 with 17 homers. Then last season, Hill missed much of the year due to a concussion. He returned this season with a vengeance and showed 2007 was just scratching the surface. Hill is hitting .285 with 32 homers and 98 RBI.