This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports now, particularly Chicago sports. She works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class wood bats for amateur and professional ball players around the world. Ally loves writing on different sports topics and is very grateful to be able to contribute here.

MLB's 5 Surprise Impact Players in 2012

Each year in Major League Baseball, there always seems to be several players that provide their teams with surprise performances that were completely unexpected. Whether they were veterans who
stepped up their game or young prospects whom not much was expected, they served to become huge
impacts along the way.

Here are five such players who have pulled off amazing performances thus far in the 2012 season.

5. Chris Capuano: Los Angeles Dodgers

When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed starting pitcher Chris Capuano to a two-year $10 million contract over the offseason, they were likely expecting a pitcher who could provide some help at the back end of the rotation. Thus far, Capuano has provided much more.

Through his first 19 starts, Capuano is 9-5 with a 2.75 ERA, arguably the second best pitcher on the
Dodgers’ staff behind Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. Capuano’s efforts helped lift the
Dodgers to the top of the NL West standings for much of the first half of the season.

4. Austin Jackson: Detroit Tigers

For the first two years of his career, Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson was finding his way in the majors. Thus far in 2012, he clearly seems to have arrived.

Through the first 90 games of the season, Jackson became a force at the top of the Tigers’ lineup,
hitting .322 with 10 HR and 39 RBI, leading the American League with five triples and supplying a .405 on-base percentage. Jackson’s table-setting performance from the leadoff position has given the middle of the Tigers’ lineup ample opportunities to drive in runs as well.

3. Carlos Ruiz: Philadelphia Phillies

Everyone in Philadelphia knew that Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, but thus far in 2012, Ruiz has taken his offense to another level.

Ruiz earned an All-Star selection with his outstanding performance, hitting .353 with 14 HR and 50 RBI through the first 90 games of the season. In the absence of sluggers Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, Ruiz certainly helped in picking up the offensive slack.

2. R.A. Dickey: New York Mets

When the New York Mets acquired knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey in 2010, they converted him to a full-time starter. That decision has paid off big-time in 2012.

Dickey exploded in the first half of the season, posting a 12-1 record and 2.63 ERA through his first 18 starts of the season. Dickey’s incredible first-half earned him an All-Star selection and helped keep his Mets in contention in the competitive National League East Division.

1. Mike Trout: Los Angeles Angels

When the 2012 season started, young 20-year-old Los Angeles Angels prospect Mike Trout was starting out in Triple-A. By the end of the first month, with the Angels floundering, Trout was called up to help give them a boost.

Trout has done much more than just give his Angels a boost—he has been the catalyst that turned their season around.

Since his call-up on April 28, Trout has hit .355, tops in the American League, with 13 HR, 44 RBI and a major league-leading 30 stolen bases. In addition, the Angels are 44-27 since Trout’s season debut and are just five games in back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West. Trout is not only leading the race for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, he is in the conversation in terms of the AL MVP Award as well.