Sports Illustrated came out with a list of the top ten most underhyped players in Major League Baseball. It's certainly not a scientific test but they have a good measuring stick:
- Players with +7 WAR over the last two seasons (105 total players)
- Ranked WAR against size of market
- Google hits
I could think of a number of players on the Royals that could make the list. The Royals are starting to make a little bit of a turn. The talent level is obviously rising and while the wins aren't quite where everyone wants them to be, you can start to see some pieces for the future.
I suspect in 2011 or 2012 we could see a few more Royals pop up on this list. Guys like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer appear primed for a solid pro career and, playing in Kansas City, probably won't see the media hype that other players do.
Here's how the list shakes out with the Royals:
One would think that a 26-year-old closer who has been striking out better than one man per inning and has never run up an ERA worse than 2.48 would get a bit of love, but Soria plays for the Royals, and closing in Kansas City answers the old riddle about the sound of one hand clapping.
This is an easy one. Soria is an All-Star at a very important position. He's underutilized in Kansas City because they're not annual contenders but he's got a team friendly contract so when the Royals (hopefully) turn it around in the next two years, Soria should be front and center.
He continues to get better so I think this is the last year Soria could land on a list like this.
The second Royal on this list is well-deserved.
Tied-2) Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals, .281/.350/.515, 8.5 WAR
David DeJesus, Kansas City Royals, .300/.364/.443, 9.9 WAR
Missouri outfielders are apparently able to stay anonymous no matter what they do. Ludwick is one of the great Cardinals triumphs of the last few years, a washed-out prospect who turned in a nearly MVP-caliber 2008 and has kept chipping along since. DeJesus suffers from comparison to Royals predecessors like Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye, but he's a fine player with a balanced game who would improve nearly any contender's outfield.
DeJesus' name started popping up quite a bit in recent weeks because of the MLB trade deadline. He was figured to be a guy who could be traded so his name was popping up in the news more and more. The problem is, DeJesus' name should be in the news because he's a good player -- not because he's about to be traded.
He hits for average, doesn't make mistakes in the field and, best of all, he's a team guy. He's a great teammate who, despite playing for an annual loser like the Royals, has a positive attitude and reps the team well.
Of course now with DeJesus' season-ending injury, he doesn't need the hype anymore.