MLB: Underrated players of the American League East

Jul 22, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Each MLB season brings its own new surprises and unexpected performances.  Let’s look at the AL East and find one underrated player from each team to give them the proper spotlight they deserve.

If we missed a player from your favorite team, make sure to let us know. Now, let’s give some props to some overlooked players.

Baltimore Orioles: Jorge Mateo

Mateo has been rock solid for the 70-61 Baltimore Orioles, as he has played in122 games and posted a .668 OPS. While Mateo is not the strongest hitter, he has stolen 28 bases and totaled 92 hits in 2022.

Let’s just to compare him to some other better-known shortstops like Willy Adames and Dansby Swanson:

Jorge Mateo: 2.7 WAR, OWAR 1.9, DWAR: 1.6, 122 games, 406 AB, 92 H, 12 HR, .668 OPS, 28 SB, 52 runs

Dansby Swanson: 4.9 WAR, OWAR 4.0, 1.8 DWAR, 133 games, 522 AB, 149 H, 17 HRs, .783 OPS, 86 runs

Willy Adames: 3.1 WAR, 2.5 OWAR, 1.2 DWAR, 109 games, 439 AB, 102 H, 26 HRs, .750 OPS, 68 runs

Mateo’s mix of defensive ability and speed has been a great asset to the Baltimore Orioles this year. He might not be the caliber of hitter that Swanson and Adames are, but he can still impact the game in plenty of ways. And while he might not come to mind when you think about the core of the Baltimore Orioles, he certainly has played a part in the team’s successful 2022 season.

Michael Wacha, Boston Red Sox

Michael Wacha: 2.56 ERA, 95.0 IP, 76 SO, 1.02 WHIP, 3.81 FIP,  3.5 WAR (career high)

The Boston Red Sox have had a massively disappointing season, but that does not mean there has not been anything positive in 2022. The Red Sox are not known for their starting pitching, but we need to take note of a veteran right-handed pitcher named Michael Wacha. While most people know Wacha from his time with the St. Louis Cardinals, his resurgence with the Red Sox this season has been one to note.

The state of the Red Sox is in flux, but for the 31-year-old Wacha, he may have found a second life in his career thanks to an underrated 2022 season.

Clarke Schmidt, New York Yankees

Clarke Schmidt: 2.89 ERA, 37.1 IP, 36 SO, 1.34 WHIP, 3.50 FIP, 0.8 WAR

The New York Yankees have absolutely been the Aaron Judge show in 2022, but let’s not overlook the other main reason the Yankees have been able to hold down first place in the AL East in 2022, and that is their pitching. One pitcher we want to highlight today is Clarke Schmidt, a reliever for the Yankees.

Schmidt started two games for the Yankees in 2022, but has mainly come out of the bullpen for the Yankees, getting big-time outs for the club.

Schmidt could prove to be vital down the stretch for a team in the Yankees trying to hold on to their dwindling division lead. With a plethora of Yankees arms going down like Luis Severino, Michael King, Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, and even Nestor Cortes, Schmidt could be just who the Bronx Bombers need right now, as he has already been impressive in his limited work in 2022.

Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays

Danny Jansen: .767 OPS, 115 OPS+, .328 wOBA, 115 wRC, 11 HRs

While the other Blue Jays catcher and 2022 All-Star, Alejandro Kirk, has grabbed many of the headlines this year, former top-prospect and backup Danny Jansen has not been bad either.

The Blue Jays had a disgusting amount of talent at the catching position with Kirk, as well as top prospect Gabriel Montero tearing it up in the minors. Jansen could be the odd man out, but that does not mean his 2022 season should go unnoticed. He very well could be an intriguing trade chip if the Blue Jays decide to entertain that possibility this offseason.

Jason Adam, Tampa Bay Rays

Jason Adam: 1.16 ERA, 54.1 IP, 66 SO, 0.64 WHIP, 2.46 FIP, 2.5 WAR

I will be honest, I was completely unfamiliar with Jason Adam until doing a little bit more research on the Rays. With all the injuries to Tampa Bay’s pitching staff, like Nick Anderson, Andrew Kittredge, and now Ryan Thompson, Jason Adam has stepped up in a big way for the second-place Rays.

The 31-year-old has seemly come out of nowhere in 2022, only pitching 78.1 innings for his entire career coming into 2022.

Adam has been arguably the most underrated MLB pitcher, giving up just seven earned runs in 54.1 innings pitched. The Tampa Bay Rays are no doubt one of the best run organizations in baseball and their ability to find pitchers like Jason Adam and turn him into one of baseball’s best relievers is just another example of that.

Next. Breaking down the race for the AL Rookie of the Year. dark

Note: All statistics heading into Saturday, September 3.