Like anything else, some of the brightest stars of the MLB do not get nearly as much credit as they should.
In the MLB today, there is a great player on every team who has been overshadowed by teammates or story lines, and this list calls these stars to attention.
Whether they are quietly leading their teams or the MLB in statistical categories and more, all 30 of these guys have been given less credit than they should receive.
Without further ado, here is the most overshadowed, underrated star on each team.
We all know about the Orioles' hot start that simmered down in the last few weeks, and we know that it is mostly their new-look offense that helped them do it. Their stellar free agency, consisting of Mark Reynolds, Derek Lee and J.J. Hardy took front stage, but they have a well-kept secret pitcher on their rotation.
Rookie Zach Britton is only 23 years old, but he already leads the team in wins (five) and ERA (2.93). Britton is averaging over six innings pitched per start, and he has received a decision in all seven of his games, going 5-2.
Britton started the season off with a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, but has gone 5-1 since, and he is looking good, going 13.2 innings and allowing only one earned run in his last two starts. Look for Britton to keep this up and be in the Rookie of the Year talk.
Red Sox' shortstop Jed Lowrie has been hitting well this season, even if the rest of the team has been less-than-steller.
Lowrie's .327 batting average is second on the team, and he has contributed 16 RBI and three home runs to that impressive average.
Overshadowed by both new guys (Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford) and old (Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia), Lowrie has not gotten a lot of press.
We all know that the Grandyman, but he is not considered a vital part to the New York Yankees' offense, which is particularly known for Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, etc.
Granderson actually leads the MLB in home runs this season with a dozen, and he leads the Yankees with 25 RBI. Granderson's power has not led to a massive drop in other categories, either, although his .279 batting average and three steals are not quite what the Yanks were hoping for—but I'm sure they are perfectly happy with the Grandyman.
Granderson has not gotten the attention he should receive for his play, but he will soon.
The Tampa Bay Rays' second baseman has been overshadowed by a few storylines, including the Rays' slow start, Evan Longoria's injury/comeback, a big free agency and Manny Ramirez's retirement.
Ben Zobrist actually leads the team in home runs (eight) and RBI (27). He is also sporting a good average at .292, and a .365 on base percentage.
Zobrist is the best all-around hitter on the Rays at the moment, yet he gets absolutely no press.
Starting pitcher Kyle Drabek came over to Toronto in the Roy Halladay trade to Philadelphia, and he is paying off at age 23.
Drabek has contributed to the Blue Jays' decent start, but he has cooled off as his bats struggle and he faces better hitters.
In his first three starts, Drabek pitched over six innings per game, went 1-0 and had an ERA under 2.00. Drabek was lights out, but he has fallen.
While he may not seem like an overshadowed player, he was overshadowed in the Roy Halladay trade, and the Blue Jays do not have a lot of production from those other than Jose Bautista.
Of the Chicago White Sox' pitchers, most people only know Mark Buherle and/or Gavin Floyd, but their closer, Sergio Santos is coming on strong.
Santos has pitched 17 innings in 13 games, and his numbers are unreal.
Santos has allowed only eight hits, has struck out 20, has an WHIP of 0.88 and has not allowed a run in his 17 innings. All I can say is wow.
Santos has been lights out, but most people couldn't tell you what team he plays for if they are not White Sox fans.
Known for his unassisted triple play but he has been swinging the bat well this season.
Cabrera leads the team in home runs (six), RBI (24) and hits (43). His .289 batting average is slightly higher than average, but his power makes up for that. Cabrera is on pace to hit more home runs this season than in the rest of his career.
Cabrera may not be known as a hitter, but if he keeps this up and maintains his stellar defense, he could become one of the best players in the game.
The Detroit Tigers shortstop would have a shot at leading the team in a few statistical categories if Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez weren't on the team.
Peralta is hitting a hair under .300, and he has four homers and 20 RBI to boot.
Peralta has had it going right for him so far, but an interesting offseason for the Tigers has overshadowed a once-rival player now benefiting the Tigers in a big way. Cabrera's DUI and Martinez's signing have taken up most of the headlines, leading to Peralta's hot start.
The Kansas City Royals' oufielder Alex Gordon is having himself quite a start to the season.
Gordon leads the Royals with 42 hits, and his batting average is at almost .300. Gordon also has some pop in hit swing, hitting three home runs and knocking in 23 RBI.
Gordon is seeing the ball well, and getting on base with a .356 OBP. Gordon may not be an All-Star or on a playoff team, but he still has not received enough credit as he should.
On a team with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel is a bit of an afterthought, but he is doing better than these other two.
Kubel is decently well-known, but most people have not heard of his hot start. Kubel actually leads the team in batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, RBI, hits, and a plethora of other categories.
Kubel has a .355 batting average, four home runs, 20 RBI, a .414 OBP and 44 hits. He has been trying to power the offense of the last place Minnesota Twins, but he has received little help.
Kubel's hot start has been overshadowed by the Twins' abysmal start, but if he keeps it up and the Twins turn things around, he will be an All-Star for sure.
Maicer Izturis is one of a few guys on the Angels' offense who is not particularly well-known but is performing well. Izturis is actually one of the least known starters on the team, but you wouldn't know it from his numbers.
Izturis leads the Angels in batting average, at .328. He also has three homers and 12 RBI. These numbers may not be overwhelming, but he is a great contact hitter, and he is doing more than expected.
Izturis may just be a "pretender," but his start has been great.
Oakland Athletics' starter Trevor Cahill is pitching like an ace thus far.
Cahill is 6-0 so far, with a 1.72 ERA, 45 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP. Cahill is tied for the MLB lead in wins, and he leads the AL in ERA.
Cahill is mowing down hitters, and his season so far has been absolutely phenomenal. He has somehow only allowed more than one earned run in a start once, and he is dominating in his second season at age 23. While he may just be having a spectacular start, he is still pitching out of his mind so far this season.
On the terrible Mariners' offense, Justin Smoak is one of two players doing well (the other being Ichiro).
Smoak leads the team in home runs (five), RBI (22) and OBP (.397), not to mention that he is second in batting average, hits and total bases.
Smaok is smoking the ball, and the Mariners need to to stay hot to be somewhat respectable.
When thinking about the pitchers of the Texas Rangers, most people think of Neftali Feliz and C.J. Wilson...not Alexi Ogando.
Ogando may not be the most well-known pitcher in the game, but he is pitching well, going 3-0. Ogando also has an ERA of 2.17, and a 0.88 WHIP.
Ogando is decimating offenses, and he is helping Wilson and Feliz make this Rangers' staff one that can compete in the playoffs.
In a deep Atlanta Braves pitching rotation topped by Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson, there is a lot talent, and Jair Jurrjens is only a part of that talent.
Jurrjens may not lead the team in any statistical categories because he has not been pitching the entire season, but he has been fierce. In five starts, Jurrjens is 4-0, with a 1.50 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Jurrjens averages over seven innings pitched per start, and he has only allowed one home run in 36 innings total.
Jurrjens makes this Atlanta staff very deep, and they are looking to make a run in the playoffs this season.
Gaby Sanchez is not very well-known on an offense that consists primarily of Hanley Ramirez in most people's minds, but he is the next best, and so far, he is the best.
Sanchez actually leads the smokin' hot Marlins in most statistical categories, including batting average (.336), home runs (six), RBI (23), OBP (.414) and hits (46).
Sanchez is holding the offense together in the cleanup spot, and with Ramirez, he is playing a huge role in the offense.
Sanchez is not considered a top first baseman, but he is performing like one on all levels, while not getting the hype of an Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard.
The New York Mets do not have a lot going for them right now, but they had Pedro Beato's hot start.
In 17 innings pitched, Beato has not allowed a run, and he has a WHIP of 0.71. Beato has been a great reliever for the Mets, but like I said, they HAD Beato's hot start.
Beato has been placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 4. Beato showed great potential in his first 11 games at age 24, and the Mets need to hope for a successful comeback for the rookie.
One of the most consistently underrated players in the game, Placido Polanco is once again overshadowed in 2011 by Ryan Howard and the rest of the Phillies' lineup.
Polanco's .350 batting average is the best on the Phillies, and good enough for 4th in the NL and tied for sixth in the MLB. Polanco is the Phillies' best true hitter, and he has 24 RBI despite hitting second for a large part of the season (as the two-hole does not get a lot of RBI chances early).
Polanco is arguably the Phillies' best hitter with runners on. Polanco is very difficult to strikeout, as he has only been wrung up eight times in close to 150 at-bats. Polanco puts the ball in play, even if he doesn't have the greatest power (hitting only two home runs). This allows Polanco to knock runners in from scoring position, especially from third with less than two outs.
The Phillies struggle with runners in scoring position, but Polanco is helping them break out of that. As one of the most underrated players in the game, possibly ever, it would not be right to exclude him from this list, as his good start has been overshadowed by the Phillies' loaded team and some potentially costly injuries.
The Washington Nationals' lineup is pitiful, with Jayson Werth hitting the best of any hitter with 100-plus at-bats at .226. This has led to to choose a pitcher for the Nationals.
Drew Storen is the closer for the Nats, and he has already racked up eight saves. Storen has an ERA of 0.44, allowing only one earned run in over 20 innings pitched. He also has a 0.77 WHIP in his 19 games, and he has not blown a save.
Storen has been lights out when he has been brought in, especially with a lead. Because Storen has done so well, he could be useful trade bait, but his excellent start has not been widely noticed yet.
Darwin Barney may not lead the Cubs in any major statistical categories, but he has done much more than expected.
The Cubbies' 25-year-old second baseman has hit over .300 this season, .315 to be exact. He has also racked up 15 RBI and one home run in his time this season.
Hitting second may not be for a lot of power hitters, but Barney is doing exactly what a two-hole hitter should do...getting on base and letting bigger bats like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena drive you in.
Carlos Pena's acquisition was overshadowed in the offseason, but now his slow start is overshadowing good talent like Barney.
Jay Bruce played a substantial role in the Reds' nice run to the to the postseason in 2010, but most people have forgotten about him and are focusing in on Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips instead.
Well, Jay Bruce is still around, and he is leading the Reds in home runs (eight), and is only one RBI behind Joey Votto (20). Bruce is still showing off his power in Cincy.
So why have people forgotten about Bruce? His batting average. Bruce is batting only .242, but his slugging percentage is almost twice that number.
Bruce may not be the most well-rounded hitter, but he is still doing well while being overshadowed by some other young talent.
In Houston, Hunter Pence and Brett Wallace are the two leaders of the offense of the Astros. Most people know Pence, but Wallace is definitely behind-the-scenes.
Wallace actually leads the team in batting average (.328) and OBP (.396). Wallace is getting on base in the fifth spot and in doing so has racked up 11 RBI and a pair of home runs.
Wallace's contact-hitting approach may not be the stereotypical first baseman's job, but he is getting it done. While the Astros are not the best team in the MLB, they are respectable on offense because of Pence, Carlos Lee and Brett Wallace.
Shaun Marcum is an ace, but he has been overshadowed since coming to Milwaukee.
Marcum came over during the offseason, but the move that people remember is that of fellow starting pitcher, Zack Greinke. Greinke started the season on the DL, but this injury received more press than Marcum's great start. Now that Marcum is still pitching great, people still don't get him the credit or respect he deserves.
Marcum leads the Brewers in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Marcum's 4-1 record is the best on the staff, as are his 2.72 ERA and 50 strikeouts. Marcum is the ace of the Brewers at this point, seeing that Greinke's ERA is well over 5.00.
Surrounded by Greinke and Yovani Gallardo, Marcum has not gotten a lot of press, but people will start to notice his performance in Milwaukee soon, especially if the teams makes it to the postseason...but that's far down the road.
Everybody knows about Andrew McCutchen out in Pittsburgh, but did you know he is only leading the Pirates in one major statistical category?
Neil Walker is outperforming McCutchen in batting average, RBI, OBP and hits. Walker has a .287 batting average, 21 RBI, a .355 OBP and 39 hits, all of which lead the team.
Granted McCutchen is having a down year, but the fact that Walker is only three home runs short of leading the Pirates in almost all major statistical categories is very impressive, and it is even more so when one considers the fact that the second baseman is only 25.
We all know about Adam Wainwright being out for the season, and with that being the case, experts and fans alike called on Chris Carpenter to lead St. Louis' pitching. This is not the case.
Jamie Garcia is a starting pitcher for the Cardinals, and his numbers are impressive. Garcia's 1.89 ERA is one of the best in the Majors, and his 48 strikeouts are the best on his team.
In Wainwright's absence, Garcia has stepped up, going 5-0 (the best record on the team) and pitching almost seven innings per outing.
Garcia has been great so far, and if Carpenter steps up, this team could be playoff-bound.
The Arizona Diamondbacks' offense is downplayed a lot now that Mark Reynolds is with the Orioles, but they still have some good players.
Stephen Drew is the the most commonly known player, but he is leading the Arizona offense. Drew's .282 batting average is the best on the team of anyone with 100-plus at-bats. He also leads the team with 25 RBI and a .358 OBP.
Drew is trying to hold the offense together, and he is doing his job, but those around him are not.
Matt Lindstron, reliever of the Colorado Rockies is having himself a very nice start to the season.
In his 16 innings pitched, Lindstrom has an ERA of only 1.69 and a WHIP of 1.06. He also averages about eight strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
Lindstrom is not even close to the most well-known player on the Rockies' staff or in the bullpen, but he is pitching very well.
Matt Kemp is pretty well-known, but he has not been on display much this season. Overshadowed by Andre Ethier's incredible hit streak, Kemp has taken a backseat.
Kemp's .338 batting average is second on the team only to Ethier. He also leads the team in home runs with seven and RBI with 24.
Either is the better contact hitter, while Kemp is the better power hitter. Both of these guys are All-Stars, but only one is getting credit for his work.
Mike Adams is not a closer, but he is pitching like one.
Adams has pitched 18 innings in his 18 games, and his ERA is 1.00, while his WHIP is 0.50. Adams is the set-up man for the Padres, and his eight holds leads the team.
Adams has only allowed two runs and two walks in his 18 innings, and he is doing so much more than asked.
Pablo Sandoval, or "Kung Fu Panda," played a big role with the Giants in 2009, but he was a non-factor last season. Because of this, Buster Posey has become the leading offensive player.
In 2011, Sandoval has come out hot, leading the team in home runs with five. He is also hitting .313 with 14 RBI in only 83 at-bats. Sandoval's batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are all higher than Posey's, but he does not qualify to lead the team because he has not had enough at-bats.
Sandoval has come out swinging again, but his hot start was curtailed when he broke a bone in his right wrist and is currently on the disabled list.