What is the definition of an underrated player? Is it a player that is good but your typical casual fan will not know about him? Is it a player that plays on a small market team so you do not see alot of him on national television? Could be a player that plays on a good team loaded with talent so he flies under the radar on a team full of stars.
Could be a trait — a part of a player’s game that you think he doesn’t do well and he surprises you.
Whatever your definition is, there are good players all over Major League Baseball and I want to give credit to some of those players that don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Feel free to comment your opinions also.
Pitcher – Jake Arietta – Chicago Cubs
I’m very surprised the Cubs didn’t unload him at the trade deadline, considering they got rid of fellow pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but they held onto him and it has paid off. He’s been great this year, and he’s been great since coming over from the Baltimore Orioles last July.
He went 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA in 4 seasons with the O’s and has posted a 2.86 ERA since coming over to Chicago.
Catcher – Dioner Navarro – Toronto Blue Jays
A former Cub now in his first season with the Jays, Navarro has displayed great durability and consistency on a team that ranks 4th in the American League in runs. His 55 RBI’s are a career high.
Remember, he hit 3 homers in a May 29th game last year against the Chicago White Sox while with the Cubs. Being on a team with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera and Jose Reyes makes it pretty easy for teams to forget about him. He has made them pay.
First Baseman – Steve Pearce – Baltimore Orioles
The fact that the O’s have moved Chris Davis to third base tells you how good Pearce has been this season.
He has been around since breaking into the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007, and is finally getting a chance to play everyday, playing in a career high 80 games and posting career highs in HR’s (14) and RBI’s (35).
His On Base plus slugging percentage (.872) is just about 200 points higher than Davis’ (.674). Ouch.
Luckily for Davis, third baseman Manny Machado is out for the season, so he at least still has a spot in the lineup. The way Pearce is playing, Davis would probably be the odd man out.
Second baseman – Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
I could have went Jose Altuve here, but with Altuve leading the world in batting average, I think most people know how good he is by now.
Zobrist on the other hand is still one of those under the radar guys, despite the fact that he has been a fixture in the Rays organization since 06′ and has posted five consecutive seasons with at least 70 RBI’s and has driven in 90 twice.
The hardest part about putting him in this list was what position he would be listed as – he has played 66 games at second base, 26 at shortstop, 28 in left field and 19 in right.
Third baseman – Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
If I asked you who led the Mariners in RBI’s what would your answer be? Of course you would say Robinson Cano right?
Well you would be wrong. Seager, with 80 on the season owns that title. He’s been good with the M’s for a couple of years now but with the team not winning, be has not gotten the recognition. Now the team is winning and people are aware of the fact that he’s only 6 RBI’s away from his 2012 career high.
Shortstop – Erick Aybar – Los Angeles Angels
Aybar falls under that “playing with alot of superstars” category. Playing behind Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout opens things up for him, as he is having his best season since 11′ on a winning team.
Left fielder – Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians
Brantley has gotten better every season since making his ML debut in 09′. This season, he has taken a huge step and should definitely be put into that category with the elite outfielders.
He has been the most consistent player on the Indians this year while Nick Swisher (now out for year), Carlos Santana were going through struggles and even played a ton of center field while Michael Bourn was out.
His 81 RBI’s ranks 9th in the AL and he has a career high .311 average to go along with it.
Center fielder – Jarrod Dyson – Kansas City Royals
Not as big a stat stuffer as the other guys – although he is 4th in the AL with 28 stolen bases, Dyson is one of the best defensive center fielders in the league.
He’s so good that he moves the normal center fielder Lorenzo Cain to right field when in the game.
He’s only played in 94 games this season and I would love to see what he could do as an everyday player.
Right fielder – Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson – Colorado Rockies
I couldn’t decide which one of these to go with, so since they play on the same team, I went with both.
If these two guys played every game at home, they would be superstars.
Blackmon has a .337 average, 41 RBI’s and a .931 OPS at Coors field and Dickerson has a .355 average, also 41 RBI’s and a 1.067 OPS at home.
Compared to Blackmon (.236 average 3 HR’s 19 RBI’s .590 OPS) and Dickerson’s road numbers (.279 average 8 HR’s 20 RBI’s .820 OPS), those home field advantage might have alot to do with those numbers but they are still good in my book.
They have no choice but to produce with Troy Tulowitzi and Carlos Gonzalez both out for the season.
They are still good on the road, which is why they made this list, but they could get better.
Honorable mentions: Minnesota Twins third baseman and shortstop Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar, San Francisco Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan, Miami Marlins centerfielder Marcell Ozuna, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Khris Davis, Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante.
– Khristian Peel