Unlikely MVPs

These surprising standouts are keeping their teams afloat

Updated: August 24, 2012, 11:37 AM ET
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs
Coco CrispKelley L Cox/US PresswireCoco Crisp has given the A's lots of reasons to celebrate over the last two months.

It's easy to see what Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen are doing to keep their teams in the race this year. All three are having fantastic seasons, and are doing their part (and then some) to help keep their teams in contention.

However, baseball is the major sport where an individual player has the least impact on his team's results, and no player can single-handedly carry his team to a playoff berth. To make it to October, a team needs production from up and down the roster, but not every contributor gets his fair share of recognition. Today, we shine a light on four unheralded players whose performances have been instrumental in keeping their teams' playoff hopes alive.

Coco Crisp, CF
Crisp was one of the worst players in baseball for the first two months of the season. After going 0-for-4 on June 6, his batting line stood at .158 AVG/.213 OBP/.175 SLG, and he had hit into twice as many double plays as he had extra-base hits. However, over the last 10 weeks, Crisp has turned his season around in a big way, hitting .307/.370/.513 over his last 258 trips to the plate. To put that in perspective, that .883 OPS matches what Mark Trumbo has put up this season.