Underrated? Underappreciated? Regardless of which you prefer, let's agree that there are players aplenty in Major League Baseball who just don't get enough credit.

But not right here. Not right now.

This particular here-now space is all about properly rating and appreciating players who are easily overlooked next to some of the guys they play with, but who are no mere role players. Some of these guys fall into the "Better Than You Think" category, while others look like burgeoning stars under the right kind of light.

We have one for each team that we're going to hit one at a time, proceeding in alphabetical order by city.


Arizona Diamondbacks: RF Jake McCarthy

  • Age: 25
  • 2022 Stats: 99 G, 354 PA, 8 HR, 23 SB, .283 AVG, .342 OBP, .427 SLG

There's the young and exciting left-handed-hitting speedster in the Diamondbacks lineup everyone knows about, and then there's the other one.

The first is Corbin Carroll, the blindingly fast center fielder who might be the favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year. The second is Jake McCarthy, though the key difference with him is that he's already shown he can hack it in the major leagues.

It's true that McCarthy's hitting metrics hint at possible regression in 2023 and that, despite his speed, he wasn't much of a defender last season. But if he can steal 23 bases in 26 tries in only 99 games even without any help from stolen base-friendly rules, his speed alone should sustain him in baseball's new era.


Atlanta: RHP Joe Jiménez

  • Age: 28
  • 2022 Stats: 62 G, 12 GF, 56.2 IP, 49 H (4 HR), 77 K, 13 BB, 3.49 ERA

Atlanta's bullpen may have lost Kenley Jansen from the closer's role during the winter, but don't worry. Raisel Iglesias was right there to take over and newcomer Joe Jiménez has closer-caliber upside in his own right.

Jiménez had his ups and downs with the Detroit Tigers, even amid a 2018 campaign in which he was an All-Star. But he was legitimately good last year, perhaps even more so than his results ultimately indicated.

Armed with a mid-90s fastball and a slider that drew whiffs at a 42.2 percent clip, the right-hander had the eighth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio among relievers who handled at least 50 innings. He also struck out 47 batters against only six walks and one home run over his last 37 appearances, so "look out" seems an appropriate warning heading into 2023.


Baltimore Orioles: RF Anthony Santander

  • Age: 28
  • 2022 Stats: 152 G, 647 PA, 33 HR, 0 SB, .240 AVG, .318 OBP, .455 SLG

At the heart of the Orioles lineup are super-youngsters Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, erstwhile 30-30 guy Cedric Mullins and, oh yeah, the slugger who quietly led the team in home runs last season.

If anything, Santander deserved to hit even more than "just" 33 home runs in 2022. As a switch-hitter, the newly humongous left-field dimensions at Oriole Park at Camden Yards did him no favors when he hit right-handed. Cody Thomas and Tony Kemp are two defenders who can vouch.

But no matter. If Santander is able to carry last year's career-best rate of barrels over to 2023, another 30-homer season should be in the cards anyway.