MLB Power Rankings: Tim Hudson and the 10 Most Underrated NL East Players

Joey HnathCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Tim Hudson and the 10 Most Underrated NL East Players

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    The NL East is filled with great players.  Heck, the Phillies rotation has four of the top pitchers in baseball.

    But, there are some players in the division that don't get the credit they deserve.

    Some of these players are still well known but are not the super stars they should be.  Others are very good players that contribute immensely to their teams who are not given their just recognition.

    Each of the five teams in the division, even the Phillies, has at least one player who is considered underrated.

    Here are the 10 most underrated players in the NL East.

10. Martin Prado

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    The Braves second baseman was Atlanta's most consistent player last season, leading the league in hitting for part of the season.

    And even though he was honored as an All-Star game participant, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel couldn't even pronounce his name right at a press conference.

    Prado deserves more respect than that.

9. Ian Desmond

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    In his rookie season, Desmond hit 10 homers and 16 steals.  Yet, he didn't receive a single vote in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting.

    Desmond is a consistent player for the Nationals, who in 2011 could take another step and start putting up numbers similar to Alexei Ramirez.

8. Leo Nunez

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    The Marlins closer was one of their best players in 2011, recording 30 saves while striking out 71.

    Nunez continues to improve as a closer and is arguably a top 10 closer, yet is never mentioned in the same breath as other closers at the same level as him.

7. Brian McCann

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    McCann has been the most consistent Brave since he arrived in the majors in 2005.

    Though he has been selected to the All-Star game four times, the fans have never voted him a starter.  Rather, they have opted for Paul Lo Duca, Russell Martin and Yadier Molina.

    McCann was even the MVP of the 2010 game.

    Although he is widely regarded as a good catcher, McCann is an elite player that still flies under the radar.

6. Ricky Nolasco

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    Nolasco, along with others in the Marlins pitching staff, really goes unnoticed by the national media.

    Bouncing back from a rough 2009 and returning to his 2008 form, Nolasco provided the Marlins with 14 wins while maintaining a 1.9 BB/9, one of the best in the National League.

5. Carlos Ruiz

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    Overshadowed by Utley, Rollins and Howard, Carlos Ruiz has silently become a key contributor to the Phillies lineup.

    With a .847 OPS in 2010, Ruiz also had a 4.4 WAR, second in the NL for catchers.

    Another productive season from Ruiz would really solidify the Phillies lineup in 2011.

4. Tim Hudson

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    Hudson has been one of the most consistent pitchers over the past decade and has led the league in many pitching categories including wins, shutouts, and HR/9.

    Yet, 2010 was the first year he received any Cy Young votes since 2003.

    Though Hudson may not be able to repeat his 2010 success, he is still one of the most underrated pitchers in the game.

3. Ryan Zimmerman

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    Ryan Zimmerman is one of the best ballplayers in the game.  But because he plays for the Nationals, he doesn't get his due recognition.

    Still only 25, Zimmerman was fifth in the NL in oWAR and seventh in overall WAR.

    In a couple years, once the Nationals get out of the NL East basement, Zimmerman will hopefully receive more media attention and be listed among the top players in the bigs.

2. Josh Johnson

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    If you asked 10 people "Who led the National League in ERA in 2010?", the majority of the responses would most likely be Roy Halladay or Ubaldo Jimenez.

    But the correct answer is Josh Johnson, with a 2.30 ERA.

    Yet even with this remarkable ERA, Johnson only finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting, most likely because he only recorded 11 wins.

    The fact he plays for the Marlins hurts him in the Cy Young voting and for media attention.  But Johnson is one of the top pitchers in MLB, and at age 26, he is just reaching his prime.

1. Angel Pagan

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    Angel Pagan is the most underrated player in the NL East

    He was second in the majors in dWAR and 10th in the NL in overall WAR.

    But the fact he plays in an outfield alongside Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran overshadows his 37 steals.

    If the Mets are to do anything in 2011, they need another big season from Angel Pagan, though many people might not notice it.