Chase Headley is one of the unsung heroes for the new york yankees in 2017. A former All-Star with the San Diego Padres, he was picked up by Brian Cashman to play third base in 2015. While his coming out season in New York was unspectacular, 2016 was even more disappointing.

Headley is an average looking athlete, and by that, I mean that in a Day And Age when pro players are seemingly superhuman, Headley decidedly is not. Oh, he is above six feet tall and weighs over 200lbs, but these are just average credentials for a pro baseball player in 2017.

The likes of players such as Jose Altuve of the Astros, standing 5’6” and 165lbs, are extremely rare.

Chase Headley -- your average ballplayer

Headley doesn’t have great speed. You might even say he is slow. How did the New York Yankees decide they had to have him back in 2015? Chase Headley has a good enough arm to get the ball across the diamond from third, but frankly, with his long wind-up delivery, sometimes you wonder if he is ever going to get it there. Headley's strength at the plate is more line-drive power than home run power. He has a long, sweeping swing from a balanced stance. This is incongruous with the compact, powerful, sledgehammer-like swings produced by the new breed of up and coming stars.

The Yankees and GM Cashman made a mistake in signing Headly, it was clear to see. That was the nicest thing anybody could say. It happens that on this gamble the front office guessed wrong. Headley put up average production numbers at the plate, with a below .250 batting average in 2015.

Headley's below average production is a concern

However, Chase Headley had something about him that you rooted for. I don’t know what it was. Was it that he often looked over-matched at the plate, and you felt sorry for him? Was it his very deliberate, plodding, mostly error-free style at 3rd base? Was it that once in a while he did come through at the plate and you hoped for more?

Perhaps it was a blend of these things plus the knowledge that the GM saw something in this former national league all-star and batting champion. The 2016 season came and went in unspectacular fashion. In Spring Training before the 2017 season, you knew Headley would have to produce or find himself playing elsewhere the following year. With Baby Bombers in the wings, there was not going to be any place in New York for the average play that Chase Headley displayed.

Showing his true colors? Chase Headley comes through

However, this year something came alive in Headley. Was it playing next to the budding all-star Didi Gregorius at shortstop? Was it the superhuman start of Aaron Judge? Or was it the resurgence of fellow veteran Matt Holiday?

It may just be the willpower of Headley to show his Yankee teammates that he could produce. In any case, this year, after a slow start to the season, Headley picked it up. The truth is that in 2017 everyone on the New York Yankees seemed to be playing way above average. It may have been contagious, but Headley had a heck of a year. His batting average was 25 points higher than the last couple of years, but more than that -- he produced in the clutch. All of a sudden Chase Headley was getting the big hit with runners on base when the team and the fans wished that he would. You couldn't help but root for him. After a couple of years of watching this average looking 3rd baseman, who had performed so well in another league, on another coast, he had arrived in Pinstripes.

In 2017 Headley has been the spark of many rallies, and the fuel for many Yankee victories. Finally in the 2017 American League Championship series, after being relegated to the Designated Hitter’s role, and going hitless for the first two games in Houston against the Astros, he caught fire. With New York down in the series 2-0 Chase Headley’s bat came alive just when it was needed the most. Headley has had key hits with runners in scoring position. He has driven balls in the gaps and beat out infield hits. The 3rd baseman turned DH has been a big reason the Yankees have taken three in a row and command of the ALCS. Though he has stumbled on the base paths, each time he falls down, you find yourself rooting for him to get up. New York will need his help if they are to continue on this magical march toward the 2017 World Series.