Most underrated player on each team

Every team, be it good or bad or whatever comes in between, has an anonymous hero. Let’s call him the secret weapon, the X-factor, the one that doesn’t get the attention: That player who is key to everything the team is doing, but who generally doesn’t get the publicity he deserves.

Here, then, is the most underrated player on each team:

Blue Jays: Steven Matz, LZ

Remember how the pundits spent the winter saying Toronto didn’t have enough pitching, that Matz wasn’t a big enough addition? Well, he’s had the best season of his career and he’s been a vital piece in a rotation that needs every possible inning.

Orioles: Ramón Urías, 2B / 3B

The Mexican spent a decade roaming the minors, but right now, the utility has the second-best on-base percentage of all players on the team.

The former Astros starter decided not to play in 2020 and signed with the Rays in February … and now he’s allowed just nine earned runs in nearly 60 innings this season.

Red Sox: Garrett Whitlock, RHP

Should Whitlock get more attention in the Rookie of the Year Award conversation? He’s been a key piece of the bullpen for a team that, in case you’ve forgotten, couldn’t get anyone out last year.

Yankees: Néstor Cortés Jr., LZ

It’s hard for any Yankee to get under the table, but Cuban Cortés Jr. – who had a 15.26 ERA in Seattle last year – has earned the nickname “Nasty Nestor” well this year. And tremendous mustache is worn!

Cleveland: Amed Rosario, SS

They may have initially sought him out to play in the outfield, but Rosario is not only having the best season of his career, he is actually having a better year at shortstop than Francisco Lindor of Puerto Rico.

He finally hit his first home run of the season two weeks ago, but don’t be fooled by that: He has a .366 on-base percentage and has been a blast on defense.

The seasoned catcher had a career home run before this season. He’s 21 right now and could well end up leading the team when the year ends.

Twins: Luis Arráez, 2B / 3B

Is it possible to hit .300 and make less noise than the Venezuelan Arráez is making?

White Sox: Garrett Crochet, LZ

Aaron Bummer hasn’t been the dominant southpaw the White Sox were used to, but young Crochet has more than filled the void. We are going to see him a lot in October.

Angels: Jared Walsh, 1B

He deserves to be known for more than being the first baseman who led the Angels to release Albert Pujols. He will be a defining piece for this team when everyone returns healthy next year.

Athletics: Tony Kemp, 2B

Athletics fans have enjoyed Kemp’s game all year long. It’s time for the rest of us to join the party before it’s too late.

Astros: Aledmys Diaz, 2B / 3B

The Cuban, who went to the All-Star Game in 2016 with the Cardinals, has been a key player as a pinch hitter and utility on a team that lacks the depth of the past.

Mariners: Ty France, 1B / 2B

There’s no question that the entire Mariners club has passed under the radar and France – who has been their best hitter – is the leader of the pack.

Rangers: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, SS

Texas has had a lost year by any means, but Kiner-Falefa has played every game and this year is oddly valuable.

Jackson has had a checkered career with the Braves, but Atlanta is enjoying the best possible version of him at the best possible time.

Marlins: Sandy Alcantara, RHP

Trevor Rogers, reasonably, has made all the headlines, but the Dominican, once again, is one of the most durable and effective pitchers in the majors. He will probably finish with more than 200 innings and a better than 3.50 ERA.

If the entire Mets season had been as effective and drama-free as Loop’s year has been, they would still be at the top of their division.

Nationals: Josh Bell, 1B

After a nightmare in 2020, Bell has not again looked like the player who went to the All-Star Game in 2019 … but he has looked like someone who will land a good contract in the offseason.

Phillies: Ranger Suarez, LZ

The Phillies need all the help they can get in the bullpen, but Suarez has looked phenomenal all year: How can a Philadelphia reliever have a 1.38 ERA?

Brewers: Hunter Strickland, RHP

Venezuelan Omar Narváez would be another option, but for all that has been said about Josh Hader and Devin Williams… Has Strickland been better than both?

Cardinals: Luis Garcia, RHP

Yes, the Dominican reliever. The only reason the Cardinals are still fighting for the Wild Card is the relief work done by Garcia and TJ McFarland, both signed as free agents midway through the season.

Cubs: Frank Schwindel, 1B

Does anyone remember Anthony Rizzo?

Pirates: David Bednar, RHP

If you’ve seen Bednar pitch, you know he looks like some kind of tank on the mound, one of those intimidating pitchers.

He has been as or better than any other Reds starter in the last month, decisive in the fight for the Wild Card.

Among all the bad that has happened in Phoenix, at least the Diamondbacks have an All-Star catching in their ranks. (When healthy).

Dodgers: Chris Taylor, CF

By now, we should probably just call this the Chris Taylor Award.

Giants: LaMonte Wade Jr., LF

There is no better example of what the Giants are doing well than the fact that they found a key tool, practically out of nowhere, like Wade Jr.

No one notices or appreciates Pham, but this year he has been arguably stronger than ever in his career. And it’s been healthy for a change.

It is not simply a creation of Coors Field; He’s also in the top 10 in on-base percentage in the National League.