Maybe these guys had it in them all along. Maybe all they needed was an opportunity to prove themselves. Maybe their April performances are a fluke. Whatever the reason, these 10 players are performing above expectations and are capturing the fancy of baseball fans.
Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies
The Colorado starter is looking more impressive than much-heralded teammate Ubaldo Jimenez. It’s still early, but the third-year pitcher was 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA and a shutout before he struggled in his fourth start Friday night — you know, the one in which his opponent, Florida's Anibal Sanchez, took a no-hitter into the ninth.
Lance Berkman, Cardinals
On a team with plenty of All-Stars, Lance Berkman has been the driving force behind this team’s relaxed play and recent resurgence.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
The switch-hitting shortstop, who had a sub-par 2010, has seven multiple-hit games so far. A career .284 hitter with only 22 career homers, he is playing well beyond expectations, as is his team.
Bruce Chen, Royals
It has been a season of surprises for the Royals so far, not the least of which is Chen, a journeyman lefty out to prove that 2010's 12-7, 4.17 ERA performance wasn't a fluke. So far this season, he sports a 2.42 ERA and has already collected three wins.
Aaron Harang, Padres
The veteran righty signed with San Diego in the offseason in an effort to jump-start his career. Well, it's working. The 32-year-old has a 4-0 record with a 1.88 ERA. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any start.
Jed Lowrie, Red Sox
It turns out the Red Sox have a pulse. And that pulse’s name is Jed Lowrie. He has had such a hot bat, there's talk in Beantown about him swiping the shortstop job from Marco Scutaro.
Willie Bloomquist, Diamondbacks
A career part-timer, Bloomquist has seized the everyday job in left field. He doesn't possess much power, but he's speedy and is racking up the stolen bags so far.
Jose Contreras, Phillies
With closer Brad Lidge out, the Phillies needed someone to step up in the ninth inning. Enter 39-year-old Jose Contreras, who is 5-for-5 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA.
Alex Gordon, Royals
As FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal said, Alex Gordon may finally be on the way to becoming the player the Royals expected when they made him the No. 2 pick in the star-studded 2005 draft. His early season is vastly better than any in Gordon’s career and includes a low walk rate and a high batting average on balls in play.
Sam Fuld, Rays
Tampa Bay's right fielder has garnered overnight respect with an exciting display of run scoring, base stealing (first in the majors to 10), batting average and flashy defense.