Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Underrated Player of the Year: 2022

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.

I will get to my normal series posts once I am completely caught up on showing off the cards I have been getting.  That is due to be later this month.  This is one of my normal series posts and a way to show off this new parallel of Rob Refnsyder.

Like I said yesterday, I wanted to talk more at-length about Refnsyder.  He came up through the Yankees system and was a very good contact hitter in the minors.  I distinctly remember getting into an argument with a forum member about whether or not he was going to be a huge star.  I did not think he would be.  Just because he showed elite contact hitting skills in the minors did not always translate in the Majors.  Brock Holt won the batting title in the minors one year.  Well, I was correct about that.  In parts of three seasons with the Yankees, Refsnyder hit just .241/.312/.332.  He then became a bit of a journeyman, appearing with the Rays, Blue Jays, Twins and Rangers, though never hitting much.  Incidentally, I came out the losing end of an argument with that same forum member about Blake Swihart, though I still maintain Boston screwed him up by changing his position.  They should have just let him grow into the position.

Anyway, back to Refnsyder.  The Red Sox picked him up as a free agent in December.  He started the year in the minors and was hitting well.  Boston needed some reinforcements in the outfield and so called him up.  And he never stopped hitting.  He played in just 57 games, but was a revelation at the plate, and in the field.  Refsnyder ended up hitting .307/.384/.497 with six home runs and 21 RBIs.  He also made one of the great defensive plays of the year for the team at one point, leaping to catch a ball headed for the outfield wall.  He played so well that Boston locked him up for the 2023 season very soon after the season ended.  He is not expected to be a starting outfielder, but when your bench player can hit over .300 and play terrific defense at all three outfield positions, you really have something.  

John Schreiber was also considered, but since he has not appeared on any cards yet, I chose to go with Refsnyder.  Sure, it's arbitrary and possibly wrong, but it's my blog.


  1. Can't go wrong with either Refnsyder or Schreiber - two pleasant bright spots on the season!

  2. I remember how one of the biggest knocks against him when he was a Yankees prospect was his glovework at 2nd (and whether he had the arm to be an OFer) but I'm glad the got a chance to get reps in Boston.
    Also funny thing about the Yankees prospects from around that time, despite all of the hype and hubbub the only star that emerged from that group was Aaron Judge. Everyone else either had brief moments, are too injured or just never clicked in New York.