Sunday, August 14, 2005


Everybody in Boston is a baseball expert, right? Who are some of the most underrated players in the American League. Some are pretty obvious, while others are less obvious.

We'll begin on the mound, because pitching is so critical, as illustrated by the Sox turnaround in concert with bullpen stabilization. Two very underappreciated players are Carlos Silva of the Twins and Cliff Lee of the Indians. Silva is only 7-6, 3.42 but has an outstanding WHIP of 1.17, and a K/BB ratio of 7.38. He averages only 12 pitches per inning. He is economical with pitches, averaging 3.04 pitches per plate appearance. Conversely, Wade Miller throws 4.04 per batter and Clement 3.87.

Lee is more of the guy who seems to pitch well enough to win. At 12-4, 4.26, WHIP 1.35 his stats aren't overwhelming. At 26 years old, a lefthander, and with a salary of $345,000 he's a general manager's dream.

Concerning hitting, the Indians' Travis Hafner is third in the AL in OPS at .981, with 18 homers in only 324 at bats. David Dellucci of Texas has an OPS of .906, with 21 homers and 75 runs scored in 324 at bats. Paul Konerko of the White Sox isn't a household word, but has 200 career homers and 30 this season, at age 29. He could be a 500 homer player in the making.

On the Sox, the 'obvious' overachievers from the staff are Mike Timlin, who (inherited runners aside) has been exemplary. His 1.42 ERA, 0.16 homers per nine, and 2 walks per nine innings are particularly noteworthy. The other surprise has been Mike Myers, who has been the only consistent LHP from the pen.

Offensively, Johnny Damon's .386 OPS has been a consistent and 84 runs created is third on the team after David Ortiz (91) and Manny Ramirez (86).

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