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MLB underrated players this season [several astros mentioned]

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Mr. Brightside, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

    Mar 27, 2005
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    This season's most underrated players

    Dayn Perry / FOXSports.com
    Posted: 4 days ago

    After looking at baseball's most overrated players, it's time to look at those who aren't getting the attention they deserve — the 10 most underrated players in the game today ...

    1. Brian Giles, OF, Padres

    In one offensive category, it's OK to compare Brian Giles to Barry Bonds. (Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via / Getty Images)

    How underappreciated is Brian Giles? His career OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .956 is in the top 20 all-time for players with at least 5,000 career plate appearances. Why is he so underappreciated? For years he toiled in Pittsburgh on baseball's rural route, and now he is playing half his games in Petco Park, a brutal environment for hitters.

    Giles has the best plate discipline in baseball this side of a healthy Barry Bonds, and his substantial power is masked by Petco. For instance, this season, he's hitting .327 AVG/.456 OBP/.562 on the road. If Giles had been given a regular job in the majors when he deserved one — instead of at age 28 — he'd be cobbling together a Hall of Fame career.

    2. Jason Bay, LF, Pirates
    So who's overrated?

    Scott Podsednik and Carlos Beltran made Dayn Perry's list of overrated players.
    See who else is on the list

    Sure, Bay's the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, but he's still not getting the recognition he merits. He boasts a career batting line of .291 AVG/.380 OBP/.548 SLG, he runs the bases well, plays a slick left field and can even man center on occasion. This season, Bay ranks 10th in the NL in SLG and 10th in OBP. Not bad for a 22nd-round draft pick on his fourth organization.

    3. Jhonny Peralta, SS, Indians
    The best shortstop in baseball on a per-plate-appearance basis? Yep, it's Peralta. If his SLG of .541 holds up, it could be one of the top 20 ever by an AL shortstop. His minor-league dossier suggests he's over-performing, but there's no ignoring his excellence in 2005. If Peralta maintains this level of performance and continues playing strong defense, he's a legitimate MVP candidate this season.

    4. Julio Lugo, SS, Devil Rays
    Lugo isn't an elite ballplayer, but he's the quintessence of a quality major league shortstop — exceptional with the glove, above average with the bat. Why there hasn't been feverish trade interest in Lugo over the last couple of seasons is a mystery. For his career, Lugo is hitting .296 AVG/.358 OBP/.389 SLG, which is strong production for a shortstop who can flat-out pick it. It's easy to be overlooked when you're biding your time with the awful D-Rays, but it's about time Lugo got his due as one of the best shortstops in baseball not named Tejada or Jeter.

    5. Travis Hafner, DH, Indians
    Hafner's a DH, so he has no defensive value, but at the plate he rakes like few others. Stolen from the Rangers in exchange for Ryan Drese and Einar Diaz, Hafner has emerged as one of the best hitters in the AL. This season, Hafner ranks third in the AL in OBP and fourth in SLG, and he was just as good last season. He's the best hitter on the team that's taking the league by storm in the second half. There's simply no excuse for Shea Hillenbrand being named to this year's AL All-Star team over Hafner.

    6. Roy Oswalt, SP, Astros
    Oswalt's career numbers: 934.2 innings, 3.07 ERA, 802 strikeouts, 217 walks. That's a better career ERA than Roger Clemens', and that's a better career strikeout-to-walk ratio than Randy Johnson's. In terms of park- and league-adjusted ERA, Oswalt ranks in the top 10 all-time among hurlers with at least 900 career innings. This season, he's being overshadowed by teammates Clemens and Andy Pettitte, but few pitchers are as consistently excellent as Oswalt.

    7. Ben Sheets, SP, Brewers
    Sheets doesn't get the credit he deserves for helping put the Brewers on the path to the wild card this season (even before his likely season-ending injury). Last season, Sheets quietly put together one of the great seasons in recent memory. In fact, Sheets' 2004 strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.25 was the sixth-best mark since 1900. He's possessed of tremendous stuff and a staggering record of performance in recent seasons. Sheets will be the ace of what should be a strong line of Brewers teams over the next few seasons.

    8. Morgan Ensberg, 3B, Astros
    Ensberg is in the midst of a tremendous breakout season. Coming into 2005, Ensberg boasted a solid career batting line of .277 AVG/.352 OBP/.457 SLG.

    However, erstwhile manager Jimy Williams was reluctant to grant him regular playing time. Since Phil Garner arrived, things have been different. Ensberg's rewarded that faith this season by hitting .281 AVG/.384 OBP/.569 SLG, which makes him the most productive third baseman in the NL. The Astros are in the throes of a pennant race, and Ensberg has carried the offense this season.

    9. Vernon Wells, CF, Blue Jays
    Wells blends outstanding raw power with exceptional defense at a key position. In 2003, Wells tallied 87 extra-base hits, which is the ninth-highest total ever by a center fielder. This year, he's on pace for another 70 extra-base knocks. A slow start in 2005 has dragged down Wells' numbers, but he's hitting .290 AVG/.320 OBP/.503 since the break. At age 26, he has even better days ahead.

    10. Dan Wheeler, RP, Astros
    In Wheeler's five major-league seasons before his current one, he had a 4.95 ERA. In 2005, however, he's worked 56.0 innings, struck out 58 and posted a 1.77 ERA. In fact, he's been a different pitcher since arriving in Houston in late August of 2004. Other Astros pitchers are getting more ink this season, but Wheeler has been the team's best reliever in '05. Yes, even better than Brad Lidge.

    Dayn Perry is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com and author of the new book, "Winners: How Good Baseball Teams Become Great Ones" (Available at Amazon.com).
  2. NIKEstrad

    NIKEstrad Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2000
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    OK, so I haven't exactly watched Lugo closely in the last couple years, but has he seriously turned himself from a downright horrible defensive shortstop to an "exceptional" one "who can flat-out pick it." Did they forgot about his ability to airmail the throw?

    And Peralta for MVP? Uh, yeah, .290 with 20 HRs is nice for a shortstop, maybe even all-star numbers, but when ARod is hitting .320 with 40 HRs, or Manny's going .290, 33 HR, and 116 RBI....
  3. ruddy5

    ruddy5 Member

    Oct 24, 2003
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    Finally someone give Oz some credits.
  4. rikesh316

    rikesh316 Member

    Sep 28, 2002
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    Lugo has improved his defense a lot. He also has became a good hitter and should get a good contract this year since he is a free agent.
  5. msn

    msn Member

    Dec 31, 2002
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    Lugo was *never* "horrible" defensively. He made some very high-profile errors (it is unforgiveable to gaffe against the hated Braves in October), but the body of his work was far from "horrible".
  6. PhiSlammaJamma

    Aug 29, 1999
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    He's my fantasy SS, He's been playing great.
  7. rezdawg

    rezdawg Contributing Member

    Feb 15, 2000
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    Same here, and they forgot to mention the fact that he has 30+ stolen bases.
  8. candlegreen

    candlegreen Contributing Member

    May 20, 2002
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    He did improve a lot. However, that doesn't stop me from remembering all those games I went to where I held my breath every time he threw the ball. He routinely left souveneirs for the fans....
  9. shsu33

    shsu33 Member

    Aug 27, 2003
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    I think Willie T should be on here. Maybe there is a rookie list he will get put on. Also, Lane should have gotten an honorable mention to this list or something.
  10. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Contributing Member

    Nov 14, 2001
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    WTF??? Willy T has been underrated this year? People talk about him being ROY all the time. He's not underrated.
  11. msn

    msn Member

    Dec 31, 2002
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    :D :D

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