Five great NL seasons you might have missed
Last year, Washington’s Anthony Rendon had a tremendous season, and I didn’t get the impression that anyone really noticed.
OK, so you did. But you’re special. This list, five great seasons that somebody (but not you!) might have missed, is for everybody else:
In 2014, 1. Joey Votto played in only 62 games and hit just six home runs. Not really what the Reds were expecting for their $12 million. But in 2015, Votto was in the lineup nearly every day and was the best hitter in the National League. This side of Bryce Harper, anyway.
Two years ago, 2. A.J. Pollock was merely good after joining the Diamondbacks. Last year, he played quite well but spent months on the disabled list. This year, though, a healthy Pollock actually played like a superstar. Which gives the Diamondbacks two superstars, with Pollock joining Paul "America’s First Baseman" Goldschmidt. Now, if they could just get some pitching …
Much was made of Brandon Crawford this season, and rightfully so. But what about his Giants teammate, 3. Matt Duffy? The Giants were supposed to miss Pablo Sandoval, but they wound up not missing him at all. Because Duffy, to the surprise of nearly everyone, wound up among the league’s very best third basemen.
Now we’re beginning to stretch the definition of greatness, but if 4. Odubel Herrera doesn’t qualify now, he might someday. Easily the Phillies’ No. 1 bright spot in a very dark season, Herrera ranks among the best Rule 5 draft picks in recent memory and figures to hold down center field for the Phillies for quite some time.
Finally, since we seem to be running out of ignored greatness and you know all the starting pitchers, how’s about Herrera’s relief-pitching teammate, 5. Ken Giles? Nobody ever talks about this guy, but he’s now got a 1.56 ERA in his career, having allowed only three homers in 116 innings. You’d almost think the Phillies really didn’t need that veteran reliever they dispached to the District last summer …