Under-the-radar NL players
August, 11, 2011
By Jim Bowden | ESPN.com
Joe Nicholson/US PresswirePhillies reliever Antonio Bastardo has emerged as one of the best relievers in the NL.
It's easy to focus on the superstar players, because they are the biggest difference-makers. However, teams often win (or lose) pennants with the unheralded guys who are making a name for themselves. These under-the-radar players frequently turn into stars, solid everyday players or championship-caliber role players. Here's a look at an under-the-radar player on each NL team. (For a look at the under-the-radar AL players, click here.)
Arizona Diamondbacks, Ryan Roberts, 3B: The Diamondbacks started the season with a plan of platooning Melvin Mora and Geoff Blum at third base. However, the 30-year-old Roberts eventually won the position. He has hit a respectable .259/.355/.447 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with 15 homers and 14 steals. He’s played above-average defense at third base and has solidified the Diamondbacks at the hot corner. He also shows off some impressive tattoos, some of which he’s given himself. His contributions have been an important factor in Arizona’s tight pennant race with the Giants.