MLB: Ten Underrated Free Agents of the 2018-19 Class

The most anticipated offseason in recent memory is in full swing, and while most are focussed on the big names — Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin, and the like, we here at LITS are honing in on some of the names that aren’t getting as much attention, but would easily be supreme upgrades for any and all teams this coming year. Let’s get started:

1. RHP, Kelvin Herrera

This 29 year-old closer was a highly anticipated trade candidate during the 2018 season, but, after putting up mediocre numbers with the Washington Nationals, his dominant reputation took a major hit. Though his second half performance was undoubtably poor, a career 2.82 ERA and his vast experience as a closer should prove more than enough reason for Herrera to see a healthy contract.

Contract Prediction: 3 years, $18 Million

2. RHP, Joakim Soria

Soria, an established veteran closer, has played for six separate teams over the last five years, and returns to the market again this year. However, I for one believe this years’ suitors could prove different for him. After another season putting up solid numbers, as well as taste of the postseason with the Brewers, the time may be right for Soria to receive a contract that eclipses one year. After all, with a career 2.88 ERA and an outstanding 220 saves over an 11 year career, Soria has shown that he’s not ready to slow down quite yet.

Contract Prediction: 2 years, $12 Million

3. INF, Josh Harrison

It is mind boggling to me that Harrison is not receiving more attention. The 30 year-old utility man has been nothing but consistent over his eight years in the majors, and, while 2018 was not his most prominent performance, it is indisputable that his versatility and athleticism would prove an aid to any team, especially those who miss out on Marwin Gonzalez. Harrison’s career .277 batting average and positional flexibility should offset his injury concerns, and should provide him with a solid deal this winter.

Contract Prediction: 2 years, $8 Million

4. INF, Neil Walker

After an absolutely abysmal 2018, Walker will be looking to bounce back in the coming season with a new club. The 32 year-old has flaunted positional flexibility, and shown flashes of excellence at the plate, so it seems likely that a team in need of a middle infielder will take a chance on him.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $5 Million

5. INF, Tim Beckham

This 28 year-old utility man is one year removed from a dominant 2017 in which he slashed a solid .278/.328/.454 with 22 long balls — and that was his first full season. When he’s healthy and given regular playing time, the young, former first-rounder can provide some excellent offensive numbers, as well as a great deal of roster flexibility. He should have a fair amount of suitors going into 2019.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $3 Million

6. LHP, Gio Gonzalez

Add this one to the list of ‘why in the world isn’t this guy drawing more interest?’ Gio Gonzalez has been the poster child of consistency over his 11 year career in the majors. The 32 year-old lefty boasts a career 3.69 ERA with even better peripherals over a staggering 1814 career innings pitched. Sure, his 2018 wasn’t exactly what he had hoped it to be, but I for one see nothing wrong with a 4.21 ERA over 32 starts. Gonzalez is a candidate for steal of the offseason, and would be a definitive upgrade for any team in need of a lefty in their rotation — especially those who miss out on Corbin, Happ, and Keuchel.

Contract Prediction: 3 years, $24 Million

7. LHP, Drew Pomeranz

Okay, hear me out. Yes, he was useless in 2018, and yes, he ended up in the bullpen and was, again, awful, but look at his 2017: a 3.32 ERA in 173.2 innings and a 9.0 K/9 — and his 2016 was extraordinarily similar. Those are intriguing numbers to say the least. Now, I will be the first to concede that his peripherals do not look great, and, after suffering through injury, he may have regressed slightly, but most teams should at least be willing to give him a shot.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $5 Million

8. RHP, Cody Allen

Once again, add this guy to the same list as Josh Harrison and Gio Gonzalez. Cody Allen has had one singular outlying season, said season being 2018. Prior to this past year, Allen had logged sub 3 ERAs from 2013-2017, and turned in three consecutive years of 30+ saves. It is astonishing to me that a guy with clean peripherals, and a beyond solid K/9 ratio is getting almost no hype in any direction. If I were a GM, this guy would be near to the top of my list of players to lock down quickly. He’s another one that could come as a certified steal.

Contract Prediction: 2 years, $12 Million

9. LHP, Derek Holland

Holland had a sneakily good 2018, posting up a respectable 3.57 ERA and an encouraging 1.0 HR/9, a statistic he’s struggled with for quite some time. After working tirelessly to return to form, it seems quite likely that he’s found a method that works well for him. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $6 Million

10. RHP, Anibal Sanchez

Speaking of sneakily good years, to round out this list we have what was perhaps the most surprising return of 2018. Anibal Sanchez was a massive part of the Braves’ division winning team, turning out a 2.83 ERA in 136.2 innings pitched. While his peripherals weren’t anything impressive, it stands to reason that Sanchez could have found his way back to whatever it was he discovered in 2013 when he logged a 2.57 ERA in 182 innings — and if that’s the case, he would be a major pickup for any team out there.

Possible Contract: 1 year, $8 Million

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