Most underrated player on each National League team heading into 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 28: A general view of the Nation League logo at Citizens Bank Park prior to the game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies on August 28, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Phillies defeated the Braves 7-4. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 28: A general view of the Nation League logo at Citizens Bank Park prior to the game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies on August 28, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Phillies defeated the Braves 7-4. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 11: Daulton Varsho #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks at bat against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on September 11, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 11: Daulton Varsho #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks at bat against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on September 11, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Arizona Diamondbacks: C/OF Daulton Varsho

Daulton Varsho possesses the ultra-rare ability to play catcher and all three outfield spots at an above-average clip. In recent years there have been catchers who played corner outfield (Christian Bethancourt, Evan Gattis, Garrett Stubbs, Chris Herrmann to name a few) but none have the sharp instincts and speed that Varsho does to play center.

Varsho, 25, got his first extended look in the major leagues last season with the Dbacks, playing in 95 games; hitting 11 home runs, driving in 38 RBI and posting an OPS+ of 102. On defense, the lefty spent considerable time at all three outfield positions and behind the plate. Notably, he was the catcher for the improbable no-hitter thrown by rookie southpaw Tyler Gilbert in his first career start.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are full of players who are underrated but Varsho tops the list. He has the ability to hit double-digit home run totals and stolen bases all while having positional versatility that all GM’s crave in today’s game.

Honorable mention: RHP Zac Gallen 23 GS, 10.3 SO/9, 2.3 bWAR, 70th percentile in K% in 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Blake Treinen

Last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers used Blake Treinen in an oft-used setup man role and he thrived. Across 72 games and 72 innings, Treinen posted a sparkling 1.99 ERA and gave up just five home runs.

Treinen also managed to finish the season with a 206 ERA+, a number that puts him above most pitchers in the National League. Shockingly, his standout season in 2021 wasn’t even the best one of his career. In 2018, he finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting after posting a miniscule 0.78 ERA and an unfathomable 513 ERA+, striking out 100 in just 80 innings.

Blake Treinen has never quite gotten the attention he deserves. That trend may well continue as he goes on in his Dodgers career; as he plays on the team with the best lineup and starting rotation in the big leagues.

Honorable mention: OF A.J. Pollock 117 G, 21 HR, 69 RBI, 137 OPS+, 3.1 bWAR in 2021

San Diego Padres: RHP Craig Stammen

37-year old reliever Craig Stammen has proven himself to be one of the more reliable relief options in the big leagues during his tenure with the San Diego Padres.

Stammen, a veteran of 12 seasons, has appeared in 60+ games for the Padres in each (full) season he’s been with the club. He came over to the Friars on a minor-league contract back in 2016 and has since signed two separate two-year contract extensions with the team.

In 2021, Stammen made 67 appearances and threw 88 innings, striking out 83 (good for an 8.5 SO/9 rate) while continuing to limit walks very well – just 3.7% of the time.

Craig Stammen has shown that he can be counted on to pitch in 60 or more games for a team, a trait in a pitcher that has steadily been going away in modern-day baseball.

Honorable mention: INF Jake Cronenworth 152 G, 7 3B, 21 HR, 122 OPS+, 4.8 bWAR in 2021

San Francisco Giants: RHP Alex Cobb

Alex Cobb was an extremely exciting pitcher coming up in the Rays’ system from 2011-2017. After joining the Baltimore Orioles, the shine began to rapidly fade and he suddenly was viewed as one of the worst starters in the bigs. He wrapped up his Orioles career with a 5.10 ERA and an ERA+ of just 86.

Last season, the 34-year old Cobb was a member of the Los Angeles Angels and his stock appears to be on the rise once again. Across 93+ innings in 18 starts, Cobb went 8-3 with a 3.76 ERA and an even more impressive 2.92 FIP. Cobb’s ERA+ at the end of the season was 119, his highest since 2014, and his strikeout numbers improved as well – he struck out just under 25% of the hitters he faced.

Fast forward to the 2021-2022 offseason, Cobb was able to land a two-year contract (with an option for a third season) with the San Francisco Giants shortly before the lockout began. He will join Logan Webb, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood in a new-look rotation as he attempts to further repair his damaged reputation.

Honorable mention: RHP Tyler Rogers 80 G, 13 SV, 2.22 ERA, 0.6 HR/9, 184 ERA+ in 2021

Colorado Rockies: OF Sam Hilliard

Don’t get me wrong, Colorado Rockies outfielder Sam Hilliard has a long list of mechanical adjustments to make before he is to be considered an above-average player. To his credit, though, there were some encouraging signs out of him in 2021.

Hilliard, 28, played in just 81 games for the Rockies last season; hitting 14 home runs and playing slightly above-average defense at all three outfield spots. FanGraphs’ Roster Resource projections have him penciled in as the right-handed side of a platoon in center field in the upcoming season.

Last year during his relatively short tenure in the big leagues, Hilliard ranked near the very top of the major leagues in maximum exit velocity. He is an extreme-pull hitter, pulling the vast majority of his home runs at Coors last year into the right field seats, and has shown that he is capable of hitting the ball as hard as anybody.

Honorable mention: INF Ryan McMahon 151 G, 23 HR, 86 RBI, 4.0 bWAR, 95 wRC+ in 2021

Next. Most underrated player on each American League team heading into 2022. dark

The National League features its fair share of underrated players. From former MVPs to former top prospects who have lost their shine, it will be interesting to keep an eye on each of these players to see if they start to get the recognition they deserve.