I have been watching baseball for 26 years now. In that time, I have been obsessed with under-the-radar players. These are my picks for an All-Underrated Team. I have picked one player for each position and their best season.
Saltalamacchia was named the Red Sox starting catcher in 2011 after Victor Martinez left as a free agent. He had a decent season, hitting 16 home runs. Then in 2012, he shockingly led the team with 25 home runs. Other than his power however, Saltalamacchia was not really a good hitter, typically hitting under .250 and an on-base percentage under .300.
Until 2013. Saltalamacchia's home run power decreased significantly from his team-leading prior season, but his overall hitting numbers were vastly improved. Saltalamacchia hit .273/.338/.466 with 14 home runs and a surprising 40 doubles, which broke the team record for doubles by a catcher previously held by both Carlton Fisk and Jason Varitek (39).
Saltalamacchia made just six errors on the season and was second in number of runners caught stealing, although he also allowed more stolen bases than any other league catcher. He also had a terrific postseason moment when he hit a walkoff single to score the winning run in Game 2 of the ALCS.
It was Saltalamacchia's team doubles record and his improved overall offensive performance that makes him the catcher on this underrated team.