AL Central: Every Team’s Most “Under the Radar” Player

Cleveland Indians

Brandon Guyer

Brandon Guyer.jpg

(David Maxwell/Getty Images)

When you’re on a team with guys like Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis, it’s easy to go unnoticed. Since joining the Indians, Brandon Guyer has been one of the best fourth outfielder’s in baseball. Between the Rays and Indians last season, he put up a .795 OPS (.372 OBP) and played every outfield position. He also hit nine home runs in 293 at-bats. On almost any other team in Major League Baseball, Guyer would start every day.

The Indians are lucky to have such a dynamic presence in a platoon role and off the bench.


Detroit Tigers

Alex Wilson

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics

(Kelley L. Cox/USA Today Photo)

While the majority of the Tigers relief corps hasn’t been great the last two years, Alex Wilson has been a constant out of the bullpen. He’s been so reliable, in fact, that a lot of people are perplexed as to why he hasn’t been given a more important role; at the moment, he pitches mostly in middle relief. In 2015, Wilson pitched to a 3.53 FIP (2.19 ERA), and in 2016 he compiled a 3.60 FIP (2.96 ERA). He’s also thrown the most innings out of the Tigers ‘pen, totalling 143 between 2015 and 2016.

Hopefully the Tigers give Wilson a chance to thrive in high leverage situations this season.


Kansas City Royals

Matt Strahm

Matt Strahm

(Kim Klement/USA Today Photo)

Normally, I like to stay away from players who haven’t proven themselves over multiple seasons, but Matt Strahm was outstanding last year and is virtually unknown outside of the AL Central. In 2016, Strahm compiled a 2.06 FIP and 12.3 K/9. He was good throughout his time in the Minor Leagues, too.

He’s off to a rough start this season, but like last year, it’s a small sample size.


Chicago White Sox

Nate Jones

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

(Denny Medley/USA Today Photo)

In March, I watched Nate Jones pitch for team USA in the World Baseball Classic and took notice of his success. I was amazed I hadn’t heard more about him, especially after I looked up his stats. I mostly recognized him because of his funky motion. Last season, Jones was arguably the White Sox most reliable reliever. He led the team in innings pitched (70 ⅔) and sported an excellent 2.93 FIP.

The White Sox have a great combo at the back-end with Jones handing the ball to Robertson.


Minnesota Twins

Robbie Grossman

Robbie Grossman

(Jim Mone/AP Photo)

After a few unexciting years in Houston, Robbie Grossman got released and picked up by the Minnesota Twins. A bargain for the them, Grossman has thrived since arriving in Minnesota. Last year, in 389 plate appearances, he put up an .828 OPS (.386 OBP) and hit 11 home runs.  He’s off to a solid start this year, too.

Grossman was bad in the outfield in 2016, compiling a pretty awful -2.6 dWAR. I think it’s a blip, though, as his previous seasons were nowhere close to that (-0.7 career dWAR excluding 2016).


All data courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.