Monday, November 28, 2022

COMC Order: Underrated Players of the Year

Last year I decided to go through and buy one new card of each player that I have named the Underrated Player of the Year, like yesterday's post.  I was not able to find a card I did not already have of two of those players.  I will get to that later.  I thought it would be kind of fun.

1.  Joe Hesketh (1991).  Hesketh was a jack-of-all-trades type pitcher in 1991.  He pitched in 39 games, starting 17 of them and had a record of 12-4.  He led the league in winning percentage.  He pitched to a 3.29 ERA in 153.1 innings pitched.   He struck out 104 batters while walking 53.

2.  Brandon Workman (2019).  Workman moved into the closer's role in 2019 rather surprisingly.  He pitched in 73 games, notching 16 saves.  But, his other numbers were truly impressive.  In 71.2 innings pitched, he had a record of 10-1 with a 1.88 ERA.  He struck out 104 batters while walking 45.  

3.  Stan Belinda (1995).  The longtime Pirates' reliever was the Red Sox primary setup man in 1995.  He had a 3.10 ERA, and a record of 8-1 in 63 games pitched.  Over 69.2 innings, he struck out 57 and walked 28.  He also picked up ten saves over the season, helping to bridge the gap until Boston acquired Rick Aguilera.

4.  Jeff Frye (1997).  Utility player Frye played in a career-high 127 games, playing every position position except pitcher and catcher.  Most of those games were at second base.  Frye hit .312/.352/.433.  Not gifted with a lot of power, he hit three home runs and two triples, but he did have 36 doubles.  Frye scored 56 runs, drove in 51 and stole a career-high 19 bases.

5.  Wily Mo Pena (2006).  Pena had huge power, but generally not much else.  In his first year in Boston though, he hit a career-high .301/.349/.489.  He hit 11 home runs in just 84 games played.  I saw him play in Kansas City that year and he hit a home run that almost left the stadium.  

6.  Reggie Jefferson (1996).  In Jefferson's second season in Boston, he played in 122 games with 418 plate appearances.  He split time between designated hitter and left field, with some first base thrown in.  His bat was always promising and he broke out with a line of .347/.388/.593 with a career-high 19 home runs and 74 RBIs, also contributing 30 doubles, four triples and 67 runs scored.

7.  Tom Brunansky (1992).  Bruno never really contributed the power numbers he was expected to in Boston, but he was easily the team's best hitter in 1992.  He hit .266/.354/.445 and led the team in OPS (.799), home runs (15) and RBIs (74).  It was not a great year for Red Sox hitters, but Brunansky was not the problem.

8.  Ken Ryan (1994).  Ryan looked like the Red Sox closer of the future after taking over for the ineffective Jeff Russell.  In 42 games, he had a 2-3 record with a 2.44 ERA and 13 saves.  He struck out 32 and walked 17 in 48 innings pitched.    

9.  Ryan Brasier (2018).  In the World Championship season of 2018, Brasier became one of the most reliable relievers on the team.  In his rookie season, he pitched in 30 games, 33.2 innings, and had a record of 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA.  He struck out 29 and walked just seven.  He had a WHIP of 0.772.

10.  Brock Holt (2014).  Holt's rookie year saw him finish eighth in the Rookie of the Year vote.  He played all over the field, except for pitcher and catcher and hit .281/.331/.381.  He hit four home runs, driving in 29 runs and stealing 12 bases.  He also had 23 doubles, five triples and 68 runs scored.  

11.  Casey Fossum (2002).  Fossum's second season in the Majors saw him pitch in a variety of roles.  He had a 5-4 record in 43 games, starting 12 and even picked up his first career save.  He had an ERA of 3.46 in 106.2 innings pitched, striking out 101 and walking 30.  

12.  Brian Daubach (1999).  Daubach finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote as a 27-year-old.  In 110 games, he hit .294/.360/.562.  He had 112 hits, 61 runs scored, 33 doubles, three triples and drove in 73 runs.  He also launched 21 home runs, while playing mostly first base and designated hitter.

13.  Joe Kelly (2017).  After several seasons of middling success as a starter, Kelly settled in as the Red Sox primary setup man.  He pitched in 58 innings over 54 games and had a 2.79 ERA and a record of 4-1.  Kelly struck out 52 batters while walking 27.  

14.  Daniel Nava (2013).  Nava mostly platooned in left field and right field, with some games at first base in 2013.  He had his finest offensive season, playing in 134 games and hitting .303/.385/.445.  He hit 29 doubles, 12 home runs and drove in 66 runs.  He scored 77 and had a career-high 139 hits.

15.  Alfredo Aceves (2011).  The Yankee cast-off threw 114 innings over 55 games pitched in 2011.  He started four but also picked up two saves.  He had a record of 10-2 with a 2.61 ERA, striking out 80 while walking 42.

16.  Tony Graffanino (2005).  Graffanino was Boston's primary trade deadline acquisition, picked up from the Royals.  He solidified second base for the team.  In 51 games, he hit .319/.355/.457 with four home runs, 12 doubles and 20 RBIs.  He also stole four bases and scored 39 runs.

17.  Enrique Hernandez (2021).  I just covered him yesterday.  Hernandez started out as a utility player but eventually became a great defensive center fielder.  He also hit .250/.337/.449 with 20 home runs, 35 doubles, three triples, 60 RBIs and 84 runs scored.

18.  Doug Mirabelli (2001).  After Jason Varitek's season-ending injury and Scott Hatteberg's inability to throw out runners, Boston acquired Mirabelli from the Rangers.  He played in 54 games, hitting .270/.360/.518 with nine home runs and 26 home runs and was adept at throwing out base runners.

19.  Justin Masterson (2008).  Masterson's rookie year saw him make it into 36 games, starting nine, and pitching 88.1 innings.  He had a 6-5 record with a 3.16 ERA.  Masterson struck out 68 while walking 40.  

20.  Rich Garces (2000).  El Guapo was a fan favorite in Boston.  2000 was the year he pitched the most, making in into 64 games and throwing 74.2 innings.  He had a record of 8-1 with a 3.25 ERA as the primary setup man.  Garces struck out 69 and walked 23.

21.  Mark Bellhorn (2004).  Bellhorn led the league in strikeouts with 177, setting a then team record, but he had a successful season.  He hit .264/.373/.444 with 17 home runs as the team's second-baseman.  He walked 88 times, scored 93 runs and drove in 82 while also knocking 37 doubles and three triples.  Curt Schilling appears on the card as well, and Schilling has another shot at Cooperstown in a few days.

22.  Kevin Plawecki (2020).  Backup catcher Plawecki had a terrific season at the plate in the pandemic-shortened season.  He hit .341/.393/.463 with one home run and 17 RBIs, also notching five doubles, a triple, a stolen base and eight runs in 24 games.

23.  Don Schwall.  Okay, this one doesn't fit in with the rest of the cards, but it is an oddball of a player who is not well-represented in my collection.  Schwall won the 1961 Rookie of the Year after finishing with a 15-7 record, 3.22 ERA and 91 strikeouts.  He was never as effective again.

24.  Sandy Leon (2016).  Leon came out of nowhere to solidify the catcher position.  In 78 games, he hit .310/.369/.476 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs.  He scored 36 runs and hit 17 doubles with two triples.  He was also effective behind the plate, catching 41% of attempted base stealers.

25.  Greg Harris (1993).  Harris set a then-team record by pitching in 80 games in 1993.  Primarily a setup man, Harris did pick up eight saves and had a record of 6-7 with a 3.77 ERA.  He pitched 112.1 innings, striking out 103 and walking 60.

26.  Travis Shaw (2015).  Shaw was never really a top prospect, but he emerged in 2015 as the team's first-baseman down the stretch.  His rookie season saw him play in 65 games, but hit 13 home runs with a line of .270/.327/.487.  He drove in 36 runs while scoring 31.  

27.  Bill Mueller (2003).  Mueller won the Silver Slugger in 2003 and won the batting title.  He still managed to be underrated.  In his best season, the third-baseman hit .326/.398/.540 with 19 home runs, 45 doubles, five triples, 85 runs scored and 85 RBIs.

28.  Manny Delcarmen (2007).  Boston native Delcarmen was one of the World Champion team's top relievers.  He pitched in 44 games with 44 innings pitched and notched a save.  He had a 0-0 record and struck out 41 batters while walking 17.  He had a 1.023 WHIP.

29.  Ramon Ramirez (2009).  Acquired in a trade for Coco Crisp prior to the season, Ramirez was one of the team's top relievers in 2009 with a record of 7-4.  He had an ERA of 2.84 in 69.2 innings pitched over 70 games pitched.  He struck out 52 and walked 32.  It was kind of cool finding a silk card of such an obscure player.

30.  Franklin Morales (2012).  Morales filled a variety of roles, starting nine games and saving one among his 37 games pitched.  He threw 76.1 innings with a 3-4 record and 3.77 ERA.  He struck out 76 and walked 30.

Notably missing from these cards are two players: Jim Corsi (1998) and Darnell McDonald (2010).  Both players have very few Red Sox cards.  

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