Un­knowns of­ten shine in Oct.

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Rob Maaddi

Big Papi, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper are just a few of the big-name of­fen­sive stars lead­ing their teams into the post­sea­son.

There’s Josh Don­ald­son, Jose Bautista, Troy Tu­low­itzki and Ed­win En­car­na­cion on Toronto alone. Adrian Bel­tre, Car­los Bel­tran, Adrian Gon­za­lez and Chase Ut­ley are some of the other rec­og­niz­able names.

Of­ten, guys like Craig Coun­sell, Adam Kennedy, Cody Ross, David Freese and Marco Scu­taro emerge as Oc­to­ber heroes.

Coun­sell (2001 Di­a­mond­backs), Kennedy (2002 An­gels), Ross (2010 Giants), Freese (2011 Car­di­nals) and Scu­taro (2012 Giants) each were MVPs of the league cham­pi­onship series. All of their teams went on to win the World Series. Only Freese and Scu­taro ever made it to an All-Star game — once each.

Here’s a Pick 6 of lesser­known play­ers who could shine when the bright lights are on this month:

Trea Turner

Only Daniel Mur­phy had a higher bat­ting av­er­age for the Na­tion­als than their rookie cen­ter­fielder. Turner hit .342 with 13 homers, 40 RBIs and 33 stolen bases af­ter com­ing up from the mi­nors to stay in July. While Harper, the 2015 NL MVP, slumped and Ryan Zim­mer­man and Jayson Werth had down years, Turner was a big ad­di­tion for the NL East champions.

Yas­mani Gran­dal

He may have been the best bar­gain on base­ball’s high­est-priced ros­ter. The Dodgers paid Gran­dal $693,000, or less than 1 per­cent of their $227 mil­lion pay­roll. The switch­hit­ting catcher tied Justin Turner for the team lead with 27 homers and had 72 RBIs in only 390 at-bats.

Ben Zo­brist

It’s easy to over­look Zo­brist on a Cubs team that in­cludes Bryant, An­thony Rizzo and Ja­son Hey­ward. But Zo­brist was an All-Star sec­ond base­man, started 29 games in the out­field and usu­ally hit cleanup be­hind Bryant and Rizzo in Joe Mad­don’s lineup. He fin­ished with a .272 av­er­age, 18 homers, 72 RBIs and team-high 96 walks.

Xan­der Bo­gaerts

While eyes are on David Or­tiz and his farewell ride, Bo­gaerts has emerged as a star on a team filled with out­stand­ing play­ers. Bo­gaerts hit .294 with 21 homers and 89 RBIs. He al­ready got a taste of the post­sea­son in 2013 when Bos­ton won the World Series, hit­ting .296 in 12 games.

Rougned Odor

He’s known more for de­liv­er­ing a hard right fist to Bautista’s jaw, but Odor led the Rangers with 33 homers. The sec­ond base­man hit .271 and drove in 88 runs.

Jose Ramirez

He started at three in­field spots and left field and led In­di­ans with a .312 bat­ting av­er­age. Ramirez, the start­ing third base­man, also had 46 dou­bles, 76 RBIs and stole 22 bases.

Bonus pick

Blue Jays sec­ond base­man Devon Travis is the un­sung hero in a lineup filled with slug­gers — six play­ers had at least 20 homers. Travis led the team in hit­ting (.300) and so­lid­i­fied the lead­off spot down the stretch.


In this file photo, Bos­ton Red Sox des­ig­nated hit­ter David Or­tiz and Detroit Tigers catcher Jar­rod Sal­ta­la­mac­chia watch the flight of Or­tiz’s three-run home run dur­ing the third in­ning of a base­ball game at Fen­way Park, in Bos­ton. Big Papi, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper are just a few of the big-name of­fen­sive stars lead­ing their teams into the post­sea­son.

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