Juan Duran- I think he is starting to come around and his rating has fallen far below the potential.
This is a tough one. I guess the first question I have to ask is, "under rated compared to what ratings?" My ratings? Baseball America? Baseball Prospectus? John Sickels? Jonathan Mayo? General Redszone feelings?
My initial thought, and it may sound crazy when I say it, is Robert Stephenson. When I see national rankings and see 5+ other pitchers ranked ahead of him, I just can't wrap my head around it. When Mayo ranked Billy Hamilton ahead of Stephenson, I couldn't figure it out.
To me, it matters more that a guy like Stephenson is underrated than if a guy in the 20's or 30's in his own system might need to be up 5 spots.
The interesting thing about under/over rated discussions is that there is no right or wrong formula for your opinion. "The Stark Truth" by Jason Stark is a book entirely about just that.
I also feel like Stephenson is underrated by some, but to add to the discussion, I will go with Jesse Winker. Some may feel like he has regressed because he isn't hitting .338 like last year. He is now rocking a .281 BA, but it is with a much more sustainable BABIP. His walk rate is still extraordinary and he has cut down his K rate by almost 3% this year while also hitting for more power. I think Winker will be an impact player in Cincinnati.
.344 .577 .920 over the second half of the season (215 AB's)
Had a rough rough start to the season, .274 .391 .665 (256 AB's)
3 months younger than Duran. Shows more power than Duran 55 XBH vs 31.
XBH every 12.16 for Duran / 8.53 for Waldrop.
LHB who crushes LHP (.333 .496 .829)
Achilles heel is doesn't walk a ton. That number is skewed by only 3 BB vs 115 AB's vs LHP. But with a .304 BAA I'd be swinging too...
26 BB in 356 AB vs RHP which is more acceptable.
With all the attention on Hamilton, Winker, Ervin, Yorman, Duran and even Arias this year I think his development is somewhat underappreciated and unnoticed.
Reds are deep in talent in the OF which could get him lost in the shuffle.
I'll go with Tucker Barnhardt. Seems like Ryan Hanigan 2.0 to me.
Waldrop, Barnhart, Silva all seem distinctly underrated to me.
Rick stole my pick!
Barnhardt is going to be a great platoon guy with Mez in 2015. I don't know about development, but I think he should drop his RH batting and just stick with his LH game. He's a great hitter from that side of the plate and could end up leaving the Reds with the option to replace Mez longterm, or move him to 3b or LF if he is an .800 OPS bat by then (which I think he will be). Barnhardt is a top 5 guy for me, I think.
I'll go with someone who has surprisingly not been mentioned yet: Seth Mejias-Brean.
Mejias-Brean hit .313/.389/.536 - .925 OPS with Billings last year after being drafted out of Arizona. He's described as being a very athletic guy who put on great HR displays in batting practice but the power never showed up in games. Well, he belted 8 HR in 179 atbats with Billings. He started this season off very poorly, but has rebounded to hit .307/.384/.450 - .834 OPS with Dayton, including something like a .340 BA and .900+ OPS since May 12th. He's also considered a great defensive 3B. He seems like a guy that could profile as an above average 3B at the major league level.
Here is my list of potential MLB regulars:
So far, these are the only offensive players that could deserve an underrated grade, if the goal is to play MLB ball everyday.
SMB, as a 22 year old in low A, still has a lot to prove. I can see him adding some defensive positions and getting more playing time that way, but he at least has given himself some consideration with his plate discipline. I just don't count him as one that should be rated that highly. If he's top ten for the Reds, that just means the Reds farm isn't that deep at the moment.