Even though we still have October baseball being played, some players are already worried about the winter. For some players, the winter could mean long-term job security, but for these guys, it won’t necessarily matter.
The guys I am alluding to are the unsung heroes of Major League Baseball. These guys are most definitely underrated and consequently do not receive all of the attention that they rightfully deserve. However, they are vital if the team is going to make any type of run.
You are not going to find Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke on this list, but you will find 10 players who will end up being valuable pieces of whatever organization they end up being a part of.
A.J. Pierzynski is actually one of the best catchers in all of baseball, but you never quite hear his name mentioned as such.
This season, he hit .278 with a career-high 27 home runs and 77 RBI. He has never shown power numbers like this before, so maybe his time as being considered underrated is passing, but I still think that he does not receive half the respect he deserves.
He is getting older, and age catches up with catchers rather quickly, but he should still receive quite a bit of interest on the market.
Carlos Lee is getting older as well, but he is still a relatively productive option at first base. His average dropped off this year, but he still managed to hit a decent .264, with nine home runs and 77 RBI.
The run production is what is intriguing about Lee. Even in a down year, he still managed to drive in a lot of runs and he could definitely be worth a one-year trial if some team needs some help in the middle of the lineup.
Jeff Keppinger played quite a bit of third base this year for the Tampa Bay Rays, but throughout his career, he has played most of his games at second base, so that is why I listed him here.
He has been an excellent utility man for most of his career, and his .325 average with nine home runs and 40 RBI this season might help him find a more definite position next season.
He has been very consistent throughout his career and deserves much more attention than he has received.
Marco Scutaro has been on so many of these lists over the years that you would think people might start taking notice of him.
He had a great run with the San Francisco Giants near the end of the season, and his season line ended up at .306 with seven home runs and 74 RBI.
He is versatile, a run producer and he just keeps doing a good job wherever he ends up playing. He will undoubtedly end up with a contract next year, but he still does not receive enough credit for pretty good numbers.
Eric Chavez used to be one of the best third basemen in baseball, but he kind of faded from the spotlight. That being said, he seems to be making a nice resurgence with the New York Yankees.
In 2012, he hit .281 with 16 home runs and 37 RBI. While those numbers aren't nearly what he had produced earlier in his career, he should easily find a job next year, and maybe he will actually be able to continue down the road to a late career comeback.
Scott Hairston is often lost in the shadows because he plays for the New York Mets and is not named David Wright or R.A. Dickey. However, he just keeps getting better every year.
In 2012, he hit .263 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI. He can really play any of the outfield positions, but since he spent most of his time in left field, I thought that was the most appropriate place to put this player with a surprising amount of power.
I put Angel Pagan on the cover of the slideshow because he has contributed a huge amount to the San Francisco Giants.
He hit .288 this season with eight home runs and 56 RBI. More importantly though, he led the National League with 15 triples and stole 29 bases.
He could be a dynamic force at the top of the lineup for any team in baseball and should easily be able to cash in on all of this success over the winter.
Nick Swisher is definitely a powerful hitter, but he can be forgotten in the midst of all of the powerful New York Yankees.
This season he put up a very strong .272 batting average, with 24 home runs and 93 RBI.
On some teams he would be the star attraction, but he is just another piece of the lineup in the Big Apple. That being said, he should garner a lot more attention this winter as he truly is one of the best hitters on the market.
Jeremy Guthrie had a very tough start to 2012 with the Colorado Rockies. However, this isn't the first time we have heard that type of story.
When he was traded to the Kansas City Royals he turned his season around with a 5-3 record and a 3.16 ERA.
He probably should not be at the top of a rotation given a somewhat streaky history, but he is definitely a solid pitcher who finally started to show what he can do at the end of this season.
Mike Adams has been a great setup man, but that is not a very glamorous role. To highlight how good he has been, though, you need to look at his 2.28 career ERA.
He has obviously been successful for a long time, and is now continuing that success with the Texas Rangers. Perhaps someone will finally realize that he deserves to be a closer, but, at the very least, he is a great pitcher who is often lost in the ambiguity of middle relief.
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