10. Jason Bay
I know everybody now knows Jason because of the Manny trade but I picked Bay for reasons before the trade. He was very under shadowed in Pittsburgh; mostly because he was in Pittsburgh.
From '04-'07 Bay had a .280 AVG with 114 home runs and 376 RBIs. He became the one player that was referred to as the Pirates. Bay pretty much led the team and was the best player on it who nobody knew or gave much credit to.
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Although he is still young and has time to break through, Jarrod has shown great skill. He was acquired by the Rangers in the Mark Texiera trade in 2007 and has shared time at catcher with Gerald Laird.
Jarrod will ( I think) prove to be an all-star caliber player. He has not yet been a sure fire starter but in the next couple of years look for Saltalamacchia to become a common name.
8. Bronson Arroyo
Most people know Arroyo from the 2004 ALCS when Boston (luckily) came back from three games back to beat New York 4-3 but what about now. After 2005 Arroyo went to Cincinnati. Since then in '06 and '07 he has amassed an 3.76 total ERA. In his first year with the Reds he showed that not only could he pitch but he could hit as well.
Bronson since then has hit four home runs, two in his first year hitting alone. Still Bronson has fallen off the map once again mostly because of the team he is on, but his stats are still there and Arroyo is a great pitcher.
7. Zach Duke
With a career record of 25-37 and a 4.49 ERA most people would think of one word to describe it ( I wont say it but I'm sure you know it). I would like to put another word in your head...TEAM. You cant blame everything on the team but in this case I would.
A number one starter, Duke has been the best pitcher on the team by far. Zach has yet to have a winning season, but when your on a team that wins maybe 67-68 a year it becomes challenging because as you all know if you cant hit you cant pitch no matter how great you are.
I think only one thing can make him show his true colors...a change of scenery.
6. Austin Kearns
Kearns isn't what you would call a great outfielder but I would rather have him in the outfield than someone like Alfonso Soriano. Stat wise you might think im nuts but if you have ever seen him play you would understand.
Kearns always goes the extra mile, never misses a backup, and is just a great all around player. I didn't choose Austin on stats and I can't really explain it but if you want to know what I'm talking about you just have to watch him play.
5. Aubrey Huff
Aubrey Huff was a beast with Tampa Bay before they were good. As a power hitter Huff hit .290 for his first six years with TB. Huff has kind of been passed around as in 2005 he was sent to Houston, back to Tampa,and finally landing in Baltimore.
Aubrey has had five years in which he has had a 1.000 fielding percentage and is a great fielder. Age and the game have stopped Huff from playing outfield but he is still a dependable first and third baseman.
4. Grady Sizemore
Since 2005 Sizemore has been a lead-off and speed guy. He has never had less that 22 steals in a season but on a downside he has never hit over .290 either. Still a great overall player. Grady has the ability to be any type of hitter.
He can hit for singles, stretch them into doubles, use his speed to make it a triple, or as we have seen this year he can also take them yard.
This year his home run total has been the most in his career and he was also in the Home Run Derby this year. Not to mention fielding, never in his career has Sizemore had less than a .991 fielding percentage.
3. Bobby Crosby
The Rookie Of the Year winner has been nothing but spectacular since the first day he stepped onto a field. Although his career batting average is .240 Crosby should, by the end of his career be in the hunt for a spot in Cooperstown. Just an all around awesome ball player.
Fielding, Base running, hitting. All of these things are done to the best of his abilities. So while he might not be the Derek Jeter type of shortstop; at the end of his career I think Bobby Crosby will share a home with him in Cooperstown.
2. Adam Dunn
When you watch Adam Dunn step into the box everyone is asking themselves the same thing... home run or a strikeout? I am sure everybody knows Adam and if your reading this wondering why he is up towards the front or even on the list. I put Dunn at number two (haha) because most people think he is a strikeout king and I cant say I blame them but you have to think around the stats.
Dunn brings out the meaning of " taking the good with the bad". Adam has never hit over .264 and never had less than 126 strikeouts in a year. However, Dunn can do what anybody who hits under .264 can do. From 2004 on Dunn has had a span of 40+ home runs every year and will probably do the same this year.
A good fielder and obviously a power hitter Dunn is a great player if people will see past the strikeouts.
1. Joe Nathan
Joe Nathan is (to me) the most underrated baseball player. Joe truly started to shine when he came to the American League from San Fransisco. His first year as a twin he set a career high mark when he got 44 saves. Joe also became first pitcher in club history to record 36-or-more saves in four consecutive seasons.
This year every ones attention is on K-Rod and for good reason. However Joe should rightfully be up there with him. When Nathan hangs up his glove I would bet anything and everything that it will be in Cooperstown.