MLB Free Agents 2012: The Most Unsung Player Available at Each Position
With names like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran headlining the 2012 MLB free-agent class, there are several unsung players that can make valuable contributions to a club looking for an upgrade.
With many clubs trying to improve their roster, here's a look at some unsung players available at each position this winter ...
Starting Pitcher: Hiroki Kuroda
A career ERA of 3.45, and a career WHIP of 1.19. While his win-loss record of 41-46 doesn't reflect it, Hiroki Kuroda is one of the most underrated starting pitchers out there, and he's a free agent this winter.
Catcher: Henry Blanco
Henry Blanco hit eight home runs in just 100 at-bats for the Diamondbacks in 2011, and while he probably wouldn't have been able to keep that slugging pace up, that does amount to around 48 homers for an entire season.
Couple that with a .330 on-base percentage for a catcher, and you've got some pretty decent offensive production from a position that is traditionally all defense.
First Base: Derek Lee
Derek Lee is a name from the past for most followers of baseball; a once-great ballplayer with power and speed, who is now a has-been.
Not so fast.
Lee may be 36, but he hit .267 with 19 homers and 59 RBI in 435 at-bats last season. In a 600 at-bat season that means Lee could have hit 26 homers and driven in 81.
That's solid production from a first baseman.
Second Base: Jamey Carroll
Jamey Carroll is a solid second baseman and could be a good addition to any club.
In 2011 he hit .290, and had a .359 OBP for the Dodgers.
Third Base: Omar Vizquel
Sure, he's 44 years old. That's ancient for a ballplayer.
But Omar Vizquel can still get it done, especially with the leather.
One of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time, Vizquel has shown he can still bring average offense production in a big league lineup even at his age, hitting .276 in 344 at-bats in 2010.
Shortstop: Nick Punto
Nick Punto now finds himself in the World Series, but he will be available on the free-agent market this winter.
Punto posted a .388 on-base percentage for the Cardinals in 2011, walking more times than he struck out.
He also had eight doubles and four triples in just 133 at-bats.
Left Field: Juan Rivera
Juan Rivera was picked up by the Dodgers from the Blue Jays in mid-2011, and the man can hit.
In 466 2011 at-bats, Rivera hit .258 with 11 home runs and 74 RBI. In a full season that could potentially translate into a 100-RBI season for the 33 year-old.
Center Field: Mike Cameron
Mike Cameron has shown flashes of brilliance in his career, but has fallen on difficult times as of late.
While capable of hitting 30 homers and driving in 100 runs, Cameron hasn't had a decent year since 2009 with the Brewers.
But placed in the right organization, he could be a valuable asset in center field.
Right Field: Jason Kubel
With names like Carlos Beltran and teammate Michael Cuddyer on the market, Jason Kubel is definitely an unsung, but available talent on the free-agent market this offseason.
In 2011 Kubel hit .273 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI in 99 games.
Still just 29, he's in his prime and could be a key addition to a club in need of an outfielder.