Saturday, July 21, 2012

Underrated Player of the Year: 2000

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.
You might have been wondering when I would get to Rich Garces. He could have been in 1998 or 1999 as well, but I am trying to only list a player once. 2000 was not his best year numbers-wise, but it was the first year as a full-time player. He pitched in 64 games which was a career high. He also won eight games, striking out 69 in 74.2 innings with 24 walks and a 3.25 ERA. His WHIP was an impressive 1.165. He was worth 1.9 WAR which is a pretty good number for a middle reliever.

Beyond the numbers, El Guapo had become a fan favorite mostly for his portly physique. He did not look like an athlete at all. But he was reasonably successful. Unfortunately his success was not long-lasting. He had similar numbers in 2001 but collapsed completely in 2002 and was out of the major leagues. Such is the fungibility of middle relievers.

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