In a star studded NL East, possibly the toughest division in baseball, some very valuable players slip through the cracks. Here are six players, honored for what they do and praised when they aren’t.
Washington Nationals P Tyler Clippard
Laugh all you want at those silly glasses, they only mask his laser-like precision. He does not have anything overly flashy, but in my somewhat limited exposure to the Washington Nationals, Tyler Clippard has never given up an earned run while I am watching. There are fewer innings more annoying than watching my Miami Marlins down a run in the eighth, having to contend with the bespectacled treasure, buried under the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, and Jayson Werth.
Miami Marlins P Carlos Zambrano
Just a few runs. That’s all the maligned former ace would need to be 3-0 right now. Even amidst the dearth of run support, Carlos Zambrano has overpowered where he has needed. Carlos has twisted, bent, and sunk the baseball around the bats. After one rough inning to start the season, the change of scenery and a familiar friend as his coach have clearly turned the firecracker in Zambrano into a collected star.
New York Mets C Josh Thole
Josh Thole is one of the only New York Mets worth mentioning in any article of praise. Thole has found himself as the everyday catcher at only age 25 and is excelling. In a lineup with no protection and a division loaded with pitching, Thole is hitting well over .300 and is sporting a near .500 on base percentage. Adding a little more pop to a team that could win some games behind their pitching would only benefit Thole.
Atlanta Braves P Cristhian Martinez
When the young Dominican came up with the Marlins I saw a lot of potential. He had started out as a starter in the minors and showed the type of potential that could either see him as a late inning set-up man or a long reliever. Martinez has been called upon in difficult moments for the Atlanta Braves, coach Gonzalez almost always places him in a bind following a poor start. Martinez has responded admirably, only giving up two earned runs so far. He will only deflate his ERA as his appearances increase.
Philadelphia Phillies 2B Freddie Galvis
Freddie’s numbers are nothing to write home about, but he was forced into a role he may have not been prepared for as 2B Chase Utley continues to win the perennial “glass jaw” award for most injured player in the National League. Galvis is batting in the .220 range and has little to show for RBI’s but he has played well in the field and has kept a level of protection as the eighth spot hitter where the opposition has not been able to take him lightly.
Miami Marlins LF Logan Morrison
Between the speed and contact of CF Emilio Bonifacio and the skyline power of RF Mike Stanton, a lot of fans forget about the potential and the production of young LF Logan Morrison. Following the emergence of Stanton, LoMo became the Miami Marlins top prospect. After a down year last season, he has once again emerged as a versatile threat. His glove has improved, and he has shown the power to blast balls to the second deck. He is also a left who can stay back and hit the southpaw’s placing an opposing manager in a real challenging position in selecting his ‘pen around the lefty.