Unveiling MLB’s Unsung Stars: The Remarkable Achievements of 2023

Boston Red Sox star Jarren Duran preparing for a pitch.

In the digital age, with information readily available at our fingertips, achieving recognition has never been easier. This holds true for all sectors, including sports. Yet, even in a time when standout performances are usually highlighted instantly, some professional athletes remain overshadowed. Our mission here is to bring forth these underrepresented talents of the 2023 MLB season.

Let’s set the stage with a criterion: No 2023 All-Star players are to be mentioned. After all, they’ve already had their moment in the limelight. So, who are the ones that slipped through the cracks? Let’s dive in!

The Criteria for Selection:

  • Eligibility: Everyone, except those selected for the 2023 All-Star Game.
  • Method: A combination of eye tests and statistical evaluation.

AL East Standout: Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox

Last year, Duran’s performance seemed to hint at an impending exit from Boston. However, this year, he has turned the tables with his impressive stats and impeccable base running.

Key Achievements:

  • Improved batting against elevated fastballs.
  • Impressive stats: .297/.348/.488 with eight home runs.
  • Exceptional speed: Stolen 23 bases in 25 attempts.

“Statistically, the defense isn’t amazing, though Duran has broken through as a quality hitter and impact baserunner.”

AL East Honorable Mentions:

  • Kyle Bradish, Baltimore Orioles: Impressive 3.18 ERA this season.
  • Brandon Belt, Toronto Blue Jays: Despite a slow start, he’s shown great performance against righties.

NL East Limelight: Brandon Marsh, Philadelphia Phillies

Against popular players like Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, it’s Brandon Marsh who stands tall in the Phillies lineup.

Key Achievements:

  • Overhauled plate setup.
  • Stellar batting line: .281/.367/.460 (125 OPS+).
  • Impressive 20 doubles and six triples.

NL East Honorable Mention:

  • Tanner Scott, Miami Marlins: Reduced his walk rate significantly and achieved a career high 35.7% strikeout rate.

AL Central’s Pride: Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers

2023 will forever be etched in Tigers’ history, not just for Miguel Cabrera’s retirement, but also for the rise of Riley Greene.

Key Achievements:

  • Remarkable stats: .303/.365/.472 with 10 home runs in 83 games.
  • Reduced strikeout rate from 31.9% in April to 22.6% in August.

AL Central Honorable Mention:

  • Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins: Despite being a backup, he boasts a .280/.382/.480 batting line.
Andrew Abbott, representing the Cincinnati Reds, in action on the field.

NL Central Sensation: Andrew Abbott, Cincinnati Reds

Among the Reds, while some players are recognized for their batting, Abbott is making a name for himself with his pitching.

Key Achievements:

  • Ranked 8th among NL pitchers with 2.8 WAR.
  • Consistent performance with 5 2/3 innings in several matches.

NL Central Honorable Mention:

  • Joel Payamps, Milwaukee Brewers: Achieved a 1.79 ERA and 0.87 WHIP with 62 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings.

AL West Gem: Chas McCormick, Houston Astros

Houston Astros have a knack for identifying hidden talent, and McCormick stands as a testament to this ability.

Key Achievements:

  • Stepping up his game: .284/.371/.526 with 16 homers and 13 steals this year.
  • Significant contribution to defense.

AL West Honorable Mention:

  • Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers: Maintains a commendable 3.35 ERA in 18 starts.

NL West Highlight: Ha-Seong Kim, San Diego Padres

Kim’s transformation this year has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Key Achievements:

  • Stellar batting performance: .285/.377/.446.
  • Exceptional defense at second base.

“There’s no denying he’s been excellent though. Kind of hard to believe the Padres have underperformed as much as they have with Kim being this good.”

NL West Honorable Mention:

  • Jason Heyward, Los Angeles Dodgers: With stats like .250/.343/.465, he’s had a significant bounce-back this year.

In summary, while the limelight often shines on the stars, the players mentioned above have showcased exceptional skills and commitment in the 2023 MLB season. It’s time they received the recognition they deserve.

The Underappreciated MVP: Factors Influencing Oversights

Amidst the glitz and glamor of baseball, the audience sometimes finds itself fixated on the star players and momentous events. However, understanding why some remarkable athletes remain in the shadows can offer a nuanced view of baseball dynamics. In this section, we explore some reasons behind these oversights.

1. The Media Hype Machine

The media often focuses on players with pre-established reputations or those that possess a rags-to-riches story.


  • Newcomers or players with a steady track record get overshadowed.
  • Media stories often align with public sentiment, perpetuating a cycle where only the popular players get covered.

2. The Team’s Overall Performance

A player’s achievements can sometimes be overshadowed by their team’s overall performance.


  • A player might be having an MVP-caliber season, but if the team is languishing at the bottom, their achievements may be overlooked.

3. Positional Bias

There’s an unspoken bias in baseball where certain positions often get more recognition than others.


  • Outfielders and power-hitting infielders usually get more limelight than utility players or pitchers.

4. The Historical Context

Past accomplishments can often cast a shadow on the present.


  • If a player had a standout season in the past and is performing at par in the current season, their achievements might be seen as “expected” and thus, less appreciated.

5. The Flashy vs. The Consistent

While consistent players maintain the backbone of the team, those who provide flashy, memorable moments often steal the show.


  • A game-winning home run in a high-stakes match may garner more attention than consistent base hits throughout the season.

“Consistency in performance, though valuable, often doesn’t capture imagination the way moments of brilliance do.” – Unknown Baseball Enthusiast

In wrapping up this exploration, it’s crucial for baseball enthusiasts and analysts to be aware of these biases and dynamics. By doing so, we can ensure that deserving players receive the attention and appreciation they warrant, regardless of media hype or team standings. This ensures a more comprehensive understanding of the game and celebrates the spirit of baseball in its entirety.

General Sport Observer Marc Defaou
reviewed by: Marc Defaou (Sport Expert)

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