An article for our sister site, Call to the Pen, recently detailed the most underrated player for each National League team. For the Colorado Rockies, that player was outfielder Sam Hilliard.
In the article, Hilliard was selected for the Colorado Rockies because of his potential for power as well as his reputation for hitting the ball hard when he does put it into play. Hilliard’s exit velocity of 114.1 mph was among the top 7 percent of all MLB hitters in 2019, and he followed that with an average of 111 mph in 2020 and 113.5 in 2021. Hilliard’s career average comes in at 114.1 while the average MLB player during that same time period posted a 122.2 mph.
But is that what makes Sam Hilliard the “most underrated” of all of the Colorado Rockies?
The almost-28-year-old Hilliard has plenty of potential and has shown pop in his bat at times during his career. However, Hilliard has a career strikeout rate of 34.6 percent (MLB average is 23.1 percent) and that’s where reality and potential meet in a cataclysmic encounter. The Rockies are desperately looking for additional power in the outfield, and Hilliard can provide that … if he can make contact.
Underrated? Maybe. Underperforming? Perhaps a better choice.
An interesting choice for the backup as Colorado’s most underrated player, however, makes for perhaps a more intriguing discussion. In the article, the second choice was Ryan McMahon, an infielder who has taken over for both DJ LeMahieu at second base and Nolan Arenado at third base in his career with extreme defensive tenacity.
McMahon’s defense is certainly underrated around the league, as shown by the recent Gold Glove awards at third base where McMahon’s numbers outshined Arenado’s … yet Arenado took home the shiny award at the hot corner yet again.
There are things that are underrated about pieces of the Rockies (perhaps the defense of Elias Diaz behind the plate or the home run power of C.J. Cron at Coors Field, where he hit 19 of his 28 homers last season), but is there one player who, overall, is underrated in the eyes of the general public? Let us know in the comments section below.