Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger, and Christian Yelich are a few players that are shocking the world of baseball with how well they are playing. Players such as Mookie Betts and Fransisco Lindor are also stars because of how consistent they have been throughout their careers. All of these players are well-known in the baseball world. However, there are a handful of players that put up elite numbers and do not get the recognition they deserve. These players are described as “underrated” and are just as good, if not better than some of the biggest names in baseball. It could be because they play in a small market or they are rookies that did not have much hype behind them. Whatever the reason, these five players are having phenomenal seasons and are underrated in the MLB by the majority of fans.
5. Jorge Soler
Jorge Soler is in his 6th season in the MLB and 3rd with the Kansas City Royals. Soler is having the year of his career in 2019. He has 35 home runs which is his career high and good for the 5th most in the MLB. Prior to this year, the most home runs Soler hit in a season was 12. Soler also has 87 RBIs which is 10th in the league. As well as putting up a ton of home runs, Soler is slashing an impressive .259/.349/.552 with a .901 OPS. In a league that is centered around home runs, it is surprising how Soler is such an underrated MLB player. He is putting up very similar numbers to Mets slugger Pete Alonso. It is very rare for people to talk about Jorge Soler as one of the games best sluggers, mostly because he plays for a team rebuilding. However, he should be in those conversations.
4. Mike Soroka
When thinking about National League Rookie of the Year candidates, two names come to mind. The flashy Fernando Tatis Jr.of the San Diego Padres and the slugger Pete Alonso of the New York Mets. Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Soroka should be in that conversation with them. Mike Soroka is currently 2nd in the MLB in ERA with an outstanding 2.32. He also has a 10-2 record with a WHIP of 1.078. Soroka also does a great job of limiting the long ball as he has only allowed 7 this entire season.
Soroka won’t blow batters away with a 99 MPH fastball. He is not the flashiest pitcher as he does not rack up a ton of strikeouts. However what he does have is a mean sinker with good control that results in a lot of groundouts. Soroka also ranks 8th among starting pitchers in Wins Above Replacement with a 4.5. He is a huge piece on one of the best teams in the National League and is Cy Young candidate. At only 22 years of age Soroka has the potential to be one of the most dominant pitchers of the upcoming decade, even if he is an underrated MLB player now.
3. Luis Castillo
Another NL pitcher that people should be talking about, this time from the NL Central. Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds got off to an amazing start to the season and many fans took notice. The 26 year-old righty was named NL pitcher of the month in April. However, as the season went on the Castillo hype faded. With all the hype surrounding Luis Castillo disappearing, one may expect that he fell off after his hot start to the season.
This could not be further from the truth and it is precisely why he is an underrated MLB player. Even though his numbers have dipped a bit, Castillo is still putting up elite numbers on the season. He has a 2.69 ERA with a WHIP of 1.107 and an 11-4 record. Castillo has one of the best changeups in the game and a 96-98 MPH fastball to go along with it. The combination of these pitches with an occasional slider was good enough to notch Castillo 172 strikeouts on the season. When thinking about elite National League pitchers Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom are among the names that come to mind. If Castillo can continue to pitch the way he does, he will fit right in with those household names.
2. Bryan Reynolds
Similar to Soroka, Bryan Reynolds is a National League rookie that is being outshined by Pete Alonso and Fernando Tatis Jr. The reason why Reynolds is further up the list is because Soroka has more fan support and a better team around him than Reynolds does. There are probably some baseball fans that never have even heard the name Bryan Reynolds before. This is a shame because he is having an outstanding rookie season.
Reynolds is a switch hitting outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates who has the 2nd highest batting average in the majors at .335 and an OPS of over .900. His on base percentage is also sitting at .410. He does not have overwhelming power as he only has 13 home runs to his tally but Reynolds is just a hitting machine and is irrelevant in the rookie of the year conversations. The combination of a small market team and a lack of power at the plate may be responsible for very few people knowing of Reynolds outside the Pittsburgh fans.
1. Anthony Rendon
Anthony Rendon is by far the best player on this list, as well as the most popular player on this list. The issue for Anthony Rendon is not people do not know who he is, like others on this list. The issue with Rendon is people do not know exactly how good he is. Anthony Rendon is one of the best players in the entire MLB this year. There are 4 players in the MLB that currently have an OPS of over 1.000 they are Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon. It is also very likely that Rendon finishes the season with a .300 average 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.
When people think of the best 3rd basemen in the league the players that come to mind are Nolan Arenado, Alex Bregman, or Kris Bryant. Anthony Rendon belongs among those names. Whether he is better than them is a whole other argument but when looking at his 2019 season Rendon surely makes his case. Rendon is for sure one of the best players in the MLB this season, for sure an underrated MLB player and should be a top 3 or 4 candidate in the MVP race.
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Author Twitter: @JackMurph27