Of course, it wasn't a surprise that Roberts was overlooked (even by his teammates); when he is out of sight, he is often out of mind. Though he has made two All-Star teams in his nine-year career, he has never gotten the recognition he deserves. This year, he could very well establish career highs in runs, hits, RBIs and doubles. The latter category is one Roberts owns. Since 2003, no player in the game has more doubles than his 295. This year, he leads the American League with 51 doubles and became just the fourth player ever to post three seasons with at least 50 doubles. The other three men to accomplish the feat --
Roberts is not likely to wind up in Cooperstown, nor is he likely to pass
Unfortunately, that's a fate that often befalls Roberts, too. He doesn't seem to mind his lack of notoriety, saying, "I never thought about it much," but his latest above-average season deserves some more respect. Therefore, Roberts is the captain on this year's All-Underrated Team, the best at each position to have not gotten the respect they deserve this year. All the players below have one two things in common: they are all having excellent years and they are all doing so very quietly.
Pierzynski often makes headlines for rubbing people the wrong way, but the man recently named the most hated player in baseball deserves some love for his best season in six years. Pierzynski is batting .312/.345/.452, and his average is second to
Morales had shown enough potential in parts of three previous seasons that the Angels felt comfortable not trying to outbid the Yankees to keep
How underrated has Roberts been this year? He has more home runs (15) and RBIs (73) than reigning AL MVP
It's a shame Figgins didn't make the All-Star team, and not just because he had promised to replicate
Like Roberts, Lee has been underrated for years and this season is no different. He ranks sixth in the NL in hits and eighth in RBIs, and among left fielders he's in the top five in each of the Triple Crown categories. For the year, he's hitting .305 with 25 home runs and 94 RBIs, well within range of his seventh straight season with at least 99 RBIs. Even more impressively, he has struck out just 45 times, the fewest in the game for any player with at least 20 home runs.
The two men on either side of him in the Dodgers' outfield --
With a six-year extension he signed in January that will net him over $60 million, the 25-year-old Markakis is being paid like a star even though he isn't often thought of like one. He should be, though. Markakis leads the O's in batting average and RBIs and leads all right fielders in doubles. In addition, his 93 RBIs are the most of any right fielder in the American League, as are his 82 runs scored, and only
As difficult as it might be to believe, there is actually a Yankee who doesn't get enough attention, at least not from the people in this country. Though he is still a living legend in Japan, Matsui has been overshadowed throughout his seven-season Yankees career, most recently by the likes of
All of the players on this list are underrated. Only one is virtually unknown. That would be Feldman, the 26-year-old former 30th-round draft pick who is in his fifth season in the majors but only his second as a starter. If his 6-8 record and 5.29 ERA in 2008 kept him anonymous, then his 16-4 mark and 3.46 ERA this year should have changed all that. Feldman began the year in the bullpen, but was moved into the rotation after
Consider the following comparison:
Aside from the ERA, the numbers are almost identical, yet the top line belongs to the most talked about closer in the game and the second to one of the most overlooked.