Who are the most underrated players in baseball? We have selected one player from each big league team. Tell us if you agree or disagree and why.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Justin Upton
Atlanta Braves: Brian McCann
Baltimore Orioles: Nick Markakis
Boston Red Sox: Daniel Bard
Chicago Cubs: Aramis Ramirez
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians: Shin Soo-Choo
Colorado Rockies: Todd Helton
Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko
Detroit Tigers: Brandon Inge
Florida Marlins: Hanley Ramirez
Houston Astros: Hunter Pence
Kansas City Royals: Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels: Howie Kendrick
Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart
Minnesota Twins: Jason Kubel
New York Mets: Carlos Beltran
New York Yankees: Nick Swisher
Oakland Athletics: Gio Gonzalez
Philadelphia Phillies: Shane Victorino
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
San Diego Padres: Mike Adams
San Francisco Giants: Pablo Sandoval
Seattle Mariners: Justin Smoak
St. Louis Cardinals: Colby Rasmus
Tampa Bay Rays: Ben Zobrist
Texas Rangers: Michael Young
Toronto Blue Jays: Adam Lind
Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman
2011 Stats: .295, 14 HR, 44 RBI, .377 OBP, .512 SLG, .893 OPS
Between his brother BJ and himself, Justin Upton is much more modest, likable and an overall better player. A 2011 All-Star, Justin Upton has been the prized possession of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization since he was drafted back in 2005.
2011 stats: .312, 14 HR, 47 RBI, .384 OBP, .513 SLG, .897 OPS
On Sunday, the 2010 All-Star Game MVP, Brian McCann, was selected to his sixth Midsummer Classic. The 27-year-old catcher has also won four Silver Slugger Awards and has the potential to add an NL MVP Award to his trophy case.
Despite these accomplishments McCann doesn't command as big a spotlight as some other major league catchers such as Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez.
2011 stats: .294, 7 HR, 33 RBI, .340 OBP, .386 SLG, .726 OPS
After a slow start this season, Nick Markakis has quietly put together a a solid year. The best overall player on the Orioles, Markakis is is a steady hitter whose average usually hovers right around .300.
Never having been selected to an All-Star Game during his six-year career, he has averaged 16 homers and 76 RBI. These are obviously not eye-popping numbers, but they are certainly above average. He definitely has the potential to replicate his 2007 numbers when he hit .300 with 23 homers and 112 RBI.
Perhaps a change of scenery (someplace not Baltimore) will give him more exposure and visibility as a player.
2011 stats: 1-4, 2.20 ERA, 1 SV, 18 HLD, 40 K, .83 WHIP,
The hard-throwing right-hander burst onto the scene in May 2009 and has been a staple of the Red Sox bullpen ever since. His ability to change velocity effectively (98 mph fastball, 85 mph curveball and low 80s slider/changeup) helped him become one of the most dominant setup men in the American League.
Depending on whether or not Jonathan Papelbon leaves via free agency at the end of this season, Daniel Bard could soon become the next Red Sox closer.
2011 Stats: .319, 22 HR, 64 RBI, .393 OBP, .579 SLG, .973 OPS
It's so sad that Paul Konerko is not going to the 2011 All-Star Game. It is understandable that Adrian Gonzalez got the start considering the brilliant year he is having, but this is a total snub.
Konerko has slightly better numbers in every major offensive category than Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who was selected as a reserve. Cabrera is a perennial AL MVP candidate, and is having a tremendous season, but Konerko is more deserving of a spot on the roster.
2011 Stats: .295, 13 HR, 46 RBI, .340 OBP, .487 SLG, .827 OPS
A mainstay in Chicago since 2003, Aramis Ramirez has been a consistent star for the Cubs. The second-longest tenured player behind Carlos Zambrano, Ramirez has consistently hit 20-plus homers, while driving in at least 100 runs five times.
2011 Stats: .315, 12 HR, 52 RBI, .431 OBP, .498 SLG, .929
Before he won NL MVP last year, how many casual baseball fans knew who Joey Votto was? How about now?
It's truly unfortunate that a guy who won one of the most prestigious awards in baseball last year needed to be a last-chance vote-in to the 2010 All-Star Game. It really makes me scratch my head and wonder if it's time for fan voting to end.
2011 Stats: .244, 5 HR, 28 RBI, .333 OBP, .353 SLG, .686 OPS
Currently on the 15-day DL, Shin-Soo Choo is having a tough year. However, he has provided much value to the Cleveland Indians in his five-and-a-half years there. His best year came in 2010 when he hit .301 with a .401 on-base percentage, 22 homers and 90 RBI.
2011 Stats: .318, 9 HR, 39 RBI, .393 OBP, .484 SLG, .877 OPS
Although he has dropped off slightly considering his age (37), Todd Helton has been one of the most consistent hitters in the National League. In his prime, Helton was capable of hitting 30 and sometimes 40-plus homers while driving in 120 or more.
Helton has not made an All-Star team since 2004, and it's understandable since his numbers have started to dwindle. But despite this fact, he is still a dangerous hitter, and capable of hitting for power and average.
2011 Stats: .192, 1 HR, 17 RBI, .265 OBP, .268 SLG, .533 OPS
Brandon Inge is having a terrible year offensively, but he has been a Tigers cornerstone since 2001. His value to Detroit has mostly come as a super-utility player; he's capable of playing catcher, third base and the outfield.
His best year came in 2006 when he hit .253 while launching 27 homers and driving in 83 runs.
2011 Stats: .229, 7 HR, 29 RBI, .319 OBP, .353 SLG, .672 OPS
Originally signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2000, Hanley Ramirez has found relative success with the Florida Marlins. Traded to Florida shortly before the 2006 season, Ramirez has been selected to three All-Star Games, won two Silver Slugger Awards, as well as the 2009 batting title.
The 2006 NL Rookie of the Year, he is a complete five-tool player and a perennial NL MVP candidate. This year has proven to be somewhat of an aberration for the 27-year-old star. The fact that he plays in a small market in Florida also might have something to do with his limited exposure as one of baseball's best young shortstops.
2011 Stats: .327, 10 HR, 57 RBI, .369 OBP, .502 SLG, .871 OPS
Take a look at Hunter Pence's 2011 stats. As usual, the fans decided on All-Star Game starters, and despite Hunter's strong 2011 campaign, at least 15 NL outfielders led him in voting. Drew Stubbs (.251, 11 HR, 32 RBI, .324 OBP) of the Cincinnati Reds and Martin Prado (.277, 8 HR, 33 RBI, .324 OBP) of the Atlanta Braves both led Pence in fan voting.
He was selected as a reserve by the players and coaches.
2011 Stats: .299, 6 HR, 35 RBI, .401 OBP, .430 SLG, .831 OPS
At 25 years of age, Billy Butler is a career .300 hitter who can also hit for power. His best season came in 2010 when he batted .318 with 15 homers, 45 doubles and 78 RBI. He has the potential to become one of the top offensive first baseman in the AL.
2011 Stats: .307, 8 HR, 28 RBI, .364 OBP, .473 SLG, .837 OPS
A 2011 All-Star, Howie Kendrick has played in Anaheim his entire five-year career. He is having a successful season so far, close to eclipsing his career high of 10 homers halfway through the season. He is also close to breaching his career high in walks (28) with 20 so far this season.
Kendrick is not the type of player that will blow one away with his numbers, but he offers steady defense and a solid bat to any major league club.
2011 Stats: .325, .22 HR, 64 RBI, 409 OBP, .608 SLG, 1.017 OPS
Matt Kemp is having as good a year as anybody in the National League right now. He is hitting a blistering .325 with an OPS over 1.000.
However, when people think of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the name that first pops into most peoples' heads in Andre Ethier. While Ethier is an exceptional player himself, Kemp has proven that he can hold his own as a star in LA.
2011 Stats: .262, 10 HR, 24 RBI, .345 OBP, .476 SLG, .821 OPS
Lost in the hype that surrounds Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun in Milwaukee is outfielder Corey Hart. While he is by no means a superstar, Hart is a reliable power hitter; in 2010, he hit 31 home runs with 102 RBI. He is a two-time All-Star (2008 and 2010).
2011 Stats: .310, 5 HR, 30 RBI, .355 OBP, .465 SLG, .820 OPS
Since becoming an everyday player in 2007, Jason Kubel has made a significant impact on the Minnesota Twins. Kubel has hit 20 or more homers three times, and crossed the 100-RBI mark in 2009. While he is not a high-profile player, he consistently puts up decent numbers.
2011 Stats: .283, 13 HR, 57 RBI, .373 OBP, .502 SLG, .875 OPS
Is it a blessing or a curse that Carlos Beltrán plays in New York? On the one hand he is playing in arguably the biggest baseball market, but he's playing for the city's "second" team. Despite being named to six All-Star teams (including this one), he is still considered somewhat of an afterthought when comparing the game's top outfielders.
He has hit 20-plus homers while driving in 100 or more eight times in his career. He is also an exceptional defensive right fielder, claiming three Gold Glove Awards in his career.
2011 Stats: .252, 10 HR, 48 RBI, .370 OBP, .420 SLG, .790 OPS
Swish is certainly one of the more entertaining personalities on the "all-business" Yankees. However, he's not all about fun and games.
Since being acquired by the Yankees in 2009, Swisher has performed well above expectations. He clubbed 29 homers in each of his first two seasons in pinstripes, with 82 and 89 RBI respectively.
2011 Stats: 8-5, 2.31 ERA, 106 K, 1.23 WHIP
Last year, Gio Gonzalez went 15-9, pitching 200.2 innings while striking out 171 and posting an ERA of 3.23. With that performance, he established himself as a capable young pitching sensation, worthy of competing with teammate Trevor Cahill for the "ace" title.
He is having a superb year here in 2011, only furthering his case.
2011 Stats: .303, 9 HR, 34 RBI, .376 OBP, .524 SLG, .900 OPS
The "flying Hawaiian" as he is known to Phillies fanatics, Shane Victorino has been a fan favorite since arriving in 2005. He is a very versatile player, who can hit for average and power. He is a capable base stealer who plays Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field.
2011 Stats: .291, 12 HR, 46 RBI, .390 OBP, .494 SLG, .884 OPS
Another head-scratcher: Andrew McCutchen is not headed to the 2011 All-Star Game and I don't understand why. Over the last three years, he has been one of the most exciting center fielders to watch in the National League.
He somewhat single-handedly rejuvenated interest in a failing Pittsburgh Pirates franchise and he is also major reason the Pirates are still in the race for the NL Central race here in July.
2011 Stats: 3-1, 1.14 ERA, 1 SV, 18 HLD, 0.66 WHIP
Look at his 2011 stats; need I say more? I'll be honest, I didn't even know who Mike Adams was until the Red Sox faced the Padres in late June. After I saw his numbers, I couldn't believe so many people had never heard of him. I guess it goes to show what kind of a market baseball has in San Diego.
Adams is one of the top setup men in the National League, and could soon succeed incumbent closer Heath Bell.
2011 Stats: .301, 8 HR, 24 RBI, .341 OBP, .503 SLG, .844 OPS
On a team full of superstars such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Brian Wilson, it's easy to forget about Pablo Sandoval a.k.a. "Kung Fu Panda."
In addition to being an offensive threat, Sandoval is very versatile defensively, having played first base, third base and catcher at the major league level.
2011 Stats: .244, 12 HR, 42 RBI, .346 OBP, .444 SLG, .790 OPS
There's no way to say this without sounding harsh, so I'll just say it: The Seattle Mariners stink. They are going through a phase where they really don't have any true standout players other than their iconic right fielder, Ichiro Suzuki.
Justin Smoak is quietly establishing himself as a reliable power hitter. While he does not hit well for average, Smoak is showing signs in his young career that he could potentially become the next great Seattle slugger. Let's not forget, he plays half his games at Safeco Field; not exactly a hitter's ballpark.
2011 Stats: .252, 9 HR, 36 RBI, .338 OBP, .429 SLG, .767 OPS
In just his third year of professional baseball at the major league level, Colby Rasmus has made quite a name for himself. His rookie year, Rasmus played in 147 games, finishing the year with 38 extra-base hits (16 homers).
2011 Stats: .263, 9 HR, 40 RBI, .346 OBP, .462 SLG, .808 OPS
The Tampa Bay Rays are filled with many talented players such as Evan Longoria, BJ Upton and of course, Ben Zobrist. Zobrist had one of his most successful campaigns in 2009 when he batted .297 and blasted 27 homers while driving in 91 runs. He showed that he is capable of being a 30-and-100 hitter.
2011 Stats: .325, 7 HR, 56 RBI, .357 OBP, .478 SLG, .835 OPS
I have said for years that Michael Young is easily the most underrated player in baseball. Baseball fans hardly mention him and I don't know why. He is a very steady hitter who has consistently hit well above .300 in his career, recording 200 or more hits five times.
The last time Young finished with fewer than 30 doubles in a season was 2002. He is not considered a slugger, but he is an excellent contact hitter and has great plate vision.
2011 Stats: .305, 16 HR, 50 RBI, .358 OBP, .542 SLG, .900 OPS
Adam Lind is easily the best position player on the Blue Jays behind Jose Bautista. Halfway through this season, he is on pace for 32 homers and 100 RBI. Lind had his breakout season in 2009 putting up monstrous numbers, hitting .305 with 35 homers, 46 doubles and 114 RBI while registering an OPS of .932.
2011 Stats: .234, 3 HR, 13 RBI, .328 OBP, .369 SLG, .697 OPS
Ryan Zimmerman has only played in 29 games this season due to injury. However, he established himself as a promising young player since 2006, hitting 20 or more homers four times while driving in at least 100 twice.
When healthy, Zimmerman is one of the most exciting young third baseman to watch in the National League.
A native of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Aashish is a lifelong fan of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics. He graduated Wellesley High School in 2008, and is currently a senior at the University at Buffalo in Amherst, New York. You can follow him on Twitter @aashish1989.
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