Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Five Most Undervalued Players in Major League Baseball

Few players are scarier on the base paths than Dodgers star Dee Gordon.
By Adam Lowenstein (@StatsAdam)

There are plenty of Major League Baseball players who are undervalued based on their salary in a given year, but who are the best ones? Here are my Top-5 who, interestingly, can all be found on National League teams.

Also included is an honorable mention from an American League squad, but he was a part of that franchise when it was in the NL just a couple years ago. Without further ado, here are baseball's most undervalued players.

Honorable Mention: Jose Altuve

The hits keep on coming for Altuve, who has by far the most hits of any player in 2014. In addition, the only person with more stolen bases this year is the pictured Dee Gordon. The Houston Astros played it right with their starting second baseman, who is in the first year of his four-year, $12.5 million contract.

5. Giancarlo Stanton

As I noted in my NL hitter rankings, Stanton leads the NL in intentional walks and is now tied with David Ortiz for the MLB lead in that category. The Miami Marlins rightfielder also has reached the top of the NL in home runs and with Troy Tulowitzki sidelined, Stanton is arguably the senior circuit’s best hitter. At just $6.5 million for his 2014 services, Stanton is severely underpaid and should be in line for a heavy sum as he is arbitration eligible this offseason.

4. Anthony Rendon

Rendon is entering the final season of his four-year, $7.2 million contract and has scored the most runs in the NL for the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. He also is in the top 10 among NL position players in WAR, doubles, triples, total bases, extra-base hits and stolen base percentage. In addition, although Rendon has committed 10 errors in 2014, his fielding has been strong at third base. He will be an important asset in the lineup and on the diamond for the Nationals moving forward.

3. Charlie Blackmon

The Colorado Rockies’ 28-year-old outfielder was one of my honorable mentions in the NL’s best hitter rankings. He received his first All-Star Game nod in 2014 and is in the top 10 in the NL in both hits and stolen bases. Blackmon has already slugged 14 home runs this season after hitting just nine in his first three MLB years. He is making only $501,000 in 2014 and will not be arbitration eligible until winter 2016, so the Rockies should be excited for their future with the versatile Blackmon.

2. Dee Gordon

There is a reason why Gordon’s Twitter handle is @FlashGJr: he has more stolen bases in 2014 than seven MLB teams and owns more than half of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ league-best 99 steals this year. In addition to leading baseball in stolen bases, Gordon does so in triples as well in what should be his first full season in the majors. His salary for this season is only $515,000 and just like Frazier, he will be arbitration eligible in 2015.

1. Todd Frazier

The 28-year-old Cincinnati Reds third baseman just missed making it on my list of the best current hitters in the National League, but he has been terrific in his first year as an All-Star. The 34th pick in the 2007 amateur draft is making just $600,000 for 2014, his final year before being arbitration eligible. Frazier already has a new career-high in home runs, and he is on his way to his best year of his MLB career.

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