Saturday, September 17, 2011

Underrated Player of the Year: 1991

In this series, I look at one player per year from 1991-the present who came out of nowhere or had a great year that no one really noticed or expected.

Joe Hesketh was a barely-noticed acquisition for the Red Sox at the end of June in 1990 after being released by the Braves. He only pitched in 12 games for the Red Sox in 1990, mostly out of the bullpen, and his numbers were not real impressive. Hesketh had bounced around for several years and never really captured the promise of his rookie season in 1985.

So it was a pretty big surprise when Hesketh proved to be a very valuable member of the pitching staff in 1991. The lefty made it into 39 games that year, including starting 17 and finishing five. Along the way, he managed to win 12 games, the most in his career while only losing four, leading the league in winning percentage. Hesketh also turned in 104 strikeouts in 153.1 innings. His WHIP was a decent 1.272 and his ERA was 3.29. His WAR was 3.0, not bad for a journeyman left-hander.

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