By: Kaunain Taki
Or simply unknown?
These players weren’t the biggest, the fastest, the tallest, the strongest, or the most skilled. However, they maximized their talent to leave an indelible mark on their teams this year.
Each JMS team is loaded with its share of star players, but it’s also filled with players who do their jobs and don’t get notoriety or attention many of them deserve. Here is a list of some of the Unsung Heroes for every team this season:
I could make a case for him as dark horse MVP candidate. He has certainly been the Eagles MVP all year, shouldering a lot of the load since Asad Hussain went down with injury. He leads the team in hits and batting average, while finishing second in RBIs and SLG. An underrated defensive player, HP has been plugged all over the infield. He continues to push away Father Time and if the Eagles win it all he will be a huge reason why.
He got off to a rough start this season. In his first 7 games, he went 4 for 21 with 4 strikeouts. Since the trade deadline he has been the hottest hitter in the league going 16 for his last 20, finishing tied for third on the Eagles with 11 RBIs. Shane has been utilized all over the infield defensively due to team injuries. A resurgence year for the JMS veteran who had a disappointing 2018 campaign and one of the key reasons the Eagles have stayed afloat since Asad’s injury.
The Tigers found a gem with their late 8th selection in this year’s draft. Ray put his 2018 struggles behind him in a big way with a bounce back 2019 season. Playing in 10 games, he finished top 4 on his team in RBIs, SLG, and OBP. He has provided solid protection in the middle of the Tigers lineup, batting behind star players Abbasali Kermalli and Vick Vij. His hot bat has played a huge role in the Tigers contending for a title.
Without Captain Vick Vij in Week 2, Tigers went 2-0 and he was player of the week. Likely runs away with Rookie of the Year Award if not for Noor Zia. He leads his team with 25 hits and 19 runs scored, while finishing second on a loaded Tigers lineup with 19 RBIs. The only player on his team to play all 14 games this season, its hard to imagine the Tigers are elite contenders without Shelly having a breakout rookie campaign.
It was almost impossible for him to duplicate last years performance on the mound, but he still put up quality numbers for a Falcons team who never could put together a consistent defensive line-up behind him. His 0.738 strike percentage was highest of his career and he finished second in the league with 30 strikeouts. He was drafted for his pitching, but he also finished with a respectable .410 AVG/.439 OBP/.538 SLG hitting-line over 12 games. The Falcons lost a lot of close games in the regular season and he could have easily been in contention for Pitcher of the Year again if not for some bad luck.
After getting his feet wet the first half of the season, Salim went on a tear towards the end of the season going 7 for 12 in his final 4 games with a home run, triple, double and 4 RBIs. He also appeared in all 14 games for a Falcons team that desperately needed depth at the bottom of their batting lineup. I can see him being drafted a little earlier next year by a team looking for a committed player on the rise.
The rookie phenom started off the season at the bottom of the batting order and played the first half of the season at second base. Now he finds himself in contention for a Gold Glove at shortstop and is now positioned in the middle of the lineup. Hard to imagine how the Bucks infield would look without Hisham emerging. He has played in all but one game this season and after a slow start at the plate he finished his Rookie campaign slashing a respectable .459 AVG/.487 OBP/.459 SLG. The sky is the limit for him going forward and one of the steals of the draft.
In 2018; he appeared in all but one game, took home a Gold Glove at Catcher and a played a crucial role in the Bucks capturing a Championship. In 2019; he is looking to win back to back Gold Gloves and has nearly doubled last season’s hitting totals. Munir Uncle has given the Bucks a consistent bat at the bottom of the order and has appeared in all 14 games for a Bucks team that has lacked full-time participation. He always seems to come through on both sides of the ball. What more can you ask for?
What a monster season he has put together. A career year, finishing the season with a ridiculous .542 AVG/.938 SLG. Leads a star-studded Wolves team with 25 RBIs and tied for second on the team with 3 home runs. He is the tone setter, a glue guy for the Wolves and arguably the best left fielder in the league. Next year, Captains will seriously have to consider drafting him in the first round as a cornerstone player.
Tanveer has provided consistency to the Wolves lineup slashing a steady .500 AVG/.515 OBP/.500 SLG, while appearing in 12 games. He has been extremely reliable in the outfield and has made some important catches in big moments this season. Another draft steal for Captain Imran Virji and one of the more under-appreciated right fielders in the league.
A strong rookie campaign for the athletic third basemen. Usually batting in the top of the order, he has found ways to get on base with stout .447 AVG/.533 OBP/.526 SLG while drawing 7 walks. This has benefited Noor Zia in a big way as he is a dangerous hitter with runners in scoring position. Captain Kumail Meghani is starting to show his ability to scout new talent and Khizer has been an underrated cog on a talented Owls team.
Finished second on the team with 17 RBIs and third on the team with 19 Hits, while appearing in all 14 games this season. Only struck out twice this year after 7 strikeouts in 2018. Imran has been a consistent contributor in the middle of the Owls lineup. He is a streaky hitter and has shown he is one of the more under-appreciated power hitters in the league.
After a disappointing 2018 campaign as Captain of the Falcons, Abbas has had a coming out party this year with career highs across the board. Since his trade from the Eagles to the Lions, he’s been one of the hottest hitters in the league with an absurd .727 AVG/.760 OBP/1.091 slash-line in 8 games with his new team. He has also helped solidified the Lions defensive at second base beside star shortstop Imran Nasser.
I could easily make a case for him to be an MVP candidate. Abbas has been lights out on the mound since his trade to the Lions, winning his last 6 starts which ties him for the league lead. His numbers at the plate are just as impressive as he finished the regular season with a surreal .605 AVG/.638 OBP/.907 SLG and tied for the team lead with 30 RBI’s. A character player with high slo-pitch IQ and under-appreciated leadership qualities, he has been one of the main catalyst for the Lions second half surge.