As teams have started to realize, Major League Baseball rewards the thrifty and well-researched. The following free agents and team-controlled players signed modest contracts this past winter, but they have been dramatically outperforming them in 2013.
This list includes several unheralded veterans who were available, including James Loney and Marlon Byrd, as well as long-term building blocks like Allen Craig and Chris Sale.
Just as you would expect, the front offices who complete more team-friendly deals and spend wisely elsewhere generally find themselves in contention.
*Contract information from Baseball Prospectus.