Highlighted by free agents such as Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, and George Springer, this year’s free-agent class is star-studded, however, there are a few underrated free agents that cannot get lost in the shuffle, as they can prove pivotal in a playoff run.
Grossman is one of the many free agents that may get lost in the shuffle. The switch-hitting left-fielder ranked in the top 25 of weighted runs created plus among qualified outfielders this past season. He is a professional hitter, highlighted by a career on-base percentage of .350. The former Oakland Athletic is not a name that will draw cheeks in the seats, but he will play an important role wherever he lands.
Another switch-hitting bat, Hernandez is the pinnacle of consistent hitters. He may not bring the name value that other free agents at his position bring, but what he brings is durability and consistency at the top of the order. Over his last two years, Hernandez has slashed .280/.338/.408, and his 1.9 fWAR was good enough to land him in the top three among second basemen.
Now you may ask why a pitcher that had an ERA upwards of 5.64 this past season is on the underrated free agents list, but some metrics show that Porcello was more unlucky than not last year. A batting average of balls in play that was upwards of .373 is never promising, but it is something that can very easily be better next season. Some of the line drives are at someone, while some of the ground balls do not get through.
He may never reach the Cy Young award-winning heights again, but Porcello is a very capable starter. The sinker-baller can toe the rubber every fifth day and serve a role at the end of your rotation.
After coming off one of the most dominant closer seasons in recent history in 2018, Treinen struggled in 2019. Part of his struggles were due in part to battles with a rotator cuff injury, but his step back in 2019 led him into a decreased role in the Dodger bullpen this past season.
While pitching in L.A., Treinen finished in the top ten in ground-ball rate among relievers and was still hitting 97 miles per hour consistently. There are few free agents out of the pen that should draw more respect than Treinen.
Over his last two seasons in Cincinnati, Casali’s WAR is 1.8 which is fifth among all free agent catchers. Plus, his slash line of .244/.340/.435 is league-average offensively. Where Casali excels is his framing skills and hitting against southpaws. Hitting against the left-handers, Casali’s career OPS is .816! He is not a name to get uber excited about as there are better options behind the dish. But he certainly is one of the more underrated free agents on the market.
Other Underrated Free Agents
- Brad Miller (DH from St. Louis)
- Garret Richards (SP from San Diego)
- Ryan Tepera (RP from Chicago)
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