The Major League Baseball postseason always produces superstars. Some of those who emerge are expected, while some are unlikely players who go from anonymity to household name overnight. That can happen thanks to a hot streak at the right time, a dramatic home run, a surprisingly great pitching performance, or some sterling defensive play.
Here is a list of 20 players who have been the standout players so far during the 2017 MLB playoffs.
Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
The potential AL MVP had a great regular season, and that has carried over into the postseason. Altuve, for as well-known and well-respected as he is across baseball, has never really had that signature moment or stretch of performances to really establish himself as a major star. In his only previous playoff series — the 2015 ALDS against Kansas City — he went just 3-for-22.
This year, he promptly opened his postseason with a three-homer game, and he hasn’t looked back since. He hit an astonishing .533 against Boston, and has only slightly cooled in the ALCS, hitting a mere .357. He’s a superstar now, and everyone is taking notice.
Yasiel Puig, OF Dodgers
For much of his career, Puig has been better known for bat flips, off-field antics, and on-field mental errors than for star power on the field. Sure, he has always had spectacular plays in him, but it would be fair to say he had never put it all together. Not anymore.
Puig is having an absolutely dominant postseason, hitting .429 and driving in six runs in Los Angeles’s first six games. It’s too soon to say that he’s found something permanently — Puig has had hot stretches before — but if this keeps up, he’ll evolve into a superstar he once looked destined to become.