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Which player do scouts feel is the best unknown major leaguer?

The question was posed to a dozen front-office types and scouts during the final days of spring training: Who is the best player in baseball that nobody knows about? The winner of the highly informal poll was a bit of a surprise, especially since he entered this season having played in just 43 major-league games. Yet there is a strong feeling that Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie won't be a secret much longer.

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Will Venable is entering his prime years, but his career numbers leave people guessing as to whether he is extremely overrated or underrated.

There is some sentiment in the analyst community that Padres outfielder Will Venable ranks among the most underrated players in baseball. The theory is that Petco Park stifles his offensive game, while Cameron Maybin's presence in center field pushes Venable to right field, depressing his value further.

Is this a fair assessment of Venable? Is he a miscast corner outfielder whose abilities aren't being maximized due to external factors? Or is he a gifted athlete whose baseball skills never developed as well as they might have if he'd committed to the sport earlier in life?

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One of the most underrated players of his generation, Mike Cameron, has decided to hang up the spikes.

The Nationals’ pitchers and catchers reported to Viera, Florida, for spring training on Sunday, but the biggest story from the team’s camp was the announcement that Mike Cameron had decided to retire. Cameron signed a minor-league deal with the Nats on December 19 and seemed to have a solid chance of earning a job as a platoon outfielder. Now 39 years old and coming off a .203/.285/.359 campaign, though, it is hard to fault Cameron for choosing to hang up his spikes.

If you made a list of the best recent players who never hit .300 in a season, you would not get too far without mentioning Cameron. If you made a list of the best recent position players who struck out in nearly a quarter of their career plate appearances, Cameron would rank near the top as well.

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October 3, 2011 9:00 am

Resident Fantasy Genius: BP Fantasy End of Season Awards

10

Derek Carty

With the regular season complete, we take a look at the BP fantasy crew's votes for a variety of awards.

With the fantasy season coming to a close this past week, each member of the BP Fantasy team cast their votes for a variety of categories. Today, I'm here to hand out the theoretical hardware. After seeing who we thought had the best, worst, and most interesting 2011 seasons, be sure to tell us who you think deserved some recognition in the comments section.

Derek Carty

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July 15, 2008 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: AL Central Moves and Issues

0

Christina Kahrl

What Ozzie does works, the Indians prepare for the long trek to a cold and dark October, and the Tigers are heard making tentative growling noises.

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July 10, 2008 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: AL West Moves and Issues

0

Christina Kahrl

The A's shuffle, shuffle, and reshuffle, the Mariners try to shake off being stunned, and the Angels have holes to fill.

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March 17, 2005 12:00 am

Doctoring The Numbers: A Star No One Sees

0

Rany Jazayerli

He's more than just underrated; Bobby Abreu is on his way to the Hall of Fame.

This might be one of the reasons (admittedly down the list) for why Barry Bonds is so disliked by the media. He has rendered one of the greatest of all barstool arguments--"who is the best player in baseball?"--utterly irrelevant for the past half-decade.

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