Special Report

25 Athletes Who Came Out of Nowhere This Year

Source: Justin Berl / Getty Images

11. Corey Knebel
> Position: Relief pitcher
> League: MLB
> Team:
Milwaukee Brewers

A reliable closer is a valuable commodity, and the Milwaukee Brewers have themselves a great one in Corey Knebel. The righty reliever dropped his ERA from 4.68 in 2016 to 1.78 in 2017 and nailed down 39 saves, earning his first ever All-Star Game appearance.

Source: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

12. Donovan Mitchell
> Position: Shooting guard
> League: NBA
> Team:
Utah Jazz

Somewhat forgotten in a stacked NBA draft class, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has really made a name for himself in his rookie season. Mitchell is averaging 17.7 points per game to go along with 3.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.5 steals. He’s been a key contributor in replacing Gordon Hayward, who left Utah in free agency.

Source: Jason Miller / Getty Images

13. Joe Schobert
> Position: Linebacker
> League: NFL
> Team:
Cleveland Browns

It may seem odd to include a Cleveland Brown on a list of good players given that the team has struggled so much in 2017, winning zero games. But Joe Schobert has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season. Schobert is tied for the NFL lead in tackles, and he forced three fumbles so far this season.

Source: reviewjournal.com

14. Jon Marchessault
> Position: Center
> League: NHL
> Team:
Las Vegas Golden Knights

In 30 games this season, the Las Vegas Golden Knights center has scored 12 goals and posted 19 assists for 31 points to help boost the expansion NHL team to second place in the Pacific Division.

Source: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images

15. Justin Smoak
> Position: First base
> League: MLB
> Team:
Toronto Blue Jays

After years of low batting averages, Justin Smoak finally hit his stride. The first baseman had a breakout season in 2017, slugging 38 home runs, driving in 90 runs, and hitting .270 for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was named to the American League All-Star team.