2015 was a great year for Major League Baseball. Many average players emerged and became household names. Some include Jake Arrieta and his amazing NL Cy Young winning season, Daniel Murphy with his amazing postseason play (until the World Series), and the “Bringer of the Rain,” who had a stellar season in the 6, leading his team to the ALCS and winning the AL MVP. Other players made revivals to their careers, featuring Alex Rodriguez, coming off of a season long suspension, Prince Fielder, who’s career was in serious jeopardy leading into his neck surgery in 2014, and Matt Harvey, who was coming off of Tommy John surgery and has known to be injury prone though-out his career.
However, there were some other guys that had a valuable 2015 season that have flown under the radar. Some are household names, but others are not, but could be in the future.
1) Shelby Miller
Despite going 6-17, he posted a 3.02 ERA. The majority of the reason he lost so many games was because his offense was providing him a run support of 2.5 runs per game, one of the worst run supports for any starter in the whole league. Shelby threw a CG, (complete game for you amateurs out there), 2-hit shutout vs Miami on May 17th, and did not pick up a win until his last start of the season vs St. Louis on October 4th. In that time span, Jake Arrieta won 17 games.
Miller only gave up 4 or more runs in 8 of his 33 starts. He had 8 starts where he gave up 2 runs or less and took the L, and 8 starts where he gave up 2 runs or less and received the ND (No decision, again, for you amateurs). If his run support was better, he could have potentially had around 15 wins
He is now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks after being traded from Atlanta. Shelby should have more success in gaining run support with the help from the bats of Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and other surrounding bats for the snakes.
2) Bartolo Colon
In his age 42 season, the veteran Bartolo Colon had a rather surprisingly superb season. He won 14 games with the World Series runner up Mets, including a CG shutout. Bartolo was at the top of the league in the best BB/9 ratio and also had the least amount of pitches per inning at 13.90 pitches per innings. Not to mention, he had the best hitting statistical season of his career, going 8-58, with 4 RBI’s, and only striking out 24 times. His superb season earned him a new contract from the Mets, a one year 7 million dollar deal.
To do what Bartolo did at his age, is pretty impressive. If you are ever bored one day, do as I did and Google “Bartolo Colon Gifs.” There are many funny Gifs on the old man. Here are a few I liked:
— Cut4 (@Cut4) December 20, 2015
— New York Mets (@Mets) December 21, 2015
3) Marco Estrada
Marco Estrada flew under the radar this season. Being apart of the AL East championship team, Estrada helped the Jays win 13 games with an ERA of 3.13. Estrada lead the American League in having the lowest average at a .203 and Hits per 9 innings (H/9) at 6.66. He was close a couple of no-hitters to tack on to his overlooked season. Because he was a valuable asset to the Blue Jays rotation, they resigned him to a 2 year 26 million dollar deal.
4) Kevin Kiermaier
The Tampa Bay Rays talented outfielder broke out like acne on a middle school student in 2015. Kiermaier had a WAR (wins above replacement) of 7.3, which was the 3rd highest in the AL, only trailing Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson. His 15 outfield assists were the most in the AL. Kevin was making highlights almost every night for diving catches or robbing home runs. He has become a key asset to the young and scrappy Tampa Bay Rays team. Because of his tremendous season, he was awarded a Gold Glove at the conclusion of the season. How should one stop Kiermaier’s madness? Simple, get a bird to attack him.
5) Dee Gordon
Some may question why I consider Dee Gordon as one who had an underrated season. He made the all-star team, led the league in stolen bases (58), and took home the batting title for the National League with a .333 batting average. Dee Gordon’s captivating season flew under the radar for sure. As an avid viewer of MLB Network, SportsCenter, and Baseball Tonight, I would hear Dee Gordon’s name come up in highlights of a game, and how fast he is, but nothing regarding the season he was having. In his first full season, playing with Los Angeles, Dee had a .289 batting average while swiping 64 bases. Before the 2015 season, Dee was traded from the Dodgers to the Marlins. His first season with a new team, to hit 44 points better than the season before is remarkable. Not to mention, he can do it with the glove as well. Gordon won not only a Silver Slugger, but also a Gold Glove. The start of the career of Dee Gordon looks to be a very promising for several seasons to come.
6) Billy Burns
The rookie outfielder for the A’s made his name known in Oakland. Billy Burns had a fabulous first season in the League. Among qualified rookies, his 26 stolen bases were the most. His 153 hits were the 3rd most, trailing Kris Bryant and Matt Duffy, and his .294 batting average was 3rd among rookies in the American League. Burns made many spectacular defensive plays in the outfield, including these catches:
Plus, look at the facial hair. It’s nicely groomed and looks clean. The speedster looks to have a bright future in Oakland- until he is traded after a couple of seasons because of Billy Beane’s way of running things as an executive in Oakland.
7) Francisco Cervelli
The backstop in Pittsburgh had a career year in 2015. Prior to this season, Francisco played in just 112 games his previous 4 seasons (2011-2014). In 2015, he played in 130. He hit the ball very efficiently as well as getting on base. Cervelli hit for a .295 average while having an OBP (On Base Percentage) of .370, which was 2nd among qualified catchers.
8) David Peralta
In his first full season in the League, David Peralta seemed to find a nice fit in the Diamondbacks everyday lineup. Peralta hit the most triples in the National League with 10. He was a reliable hitter for Arizona, hitting .314 with an OBP of .371. Peralta shall be a vital piece to the Snakes lineup and outfield for seasons to come.
9) Yunel Escobar
The veteran infielder had one of the best, if not the best, offensive season of his career. Yunel had a .314 batting average (8th in the entire league) with a .375 OBP for the Washington Nationals. He looks to carry the same numbers over to Los Angeles for the Halos.