MLB: One of the Most Underrated Players in 2017 Free Agent Class

Who would’ve thought that at the age of 29 Eduardo Nunez would have a breakout year and become an All-Star for the first time in his career?

Nunez has found his stride the past two seasons with the Twins, Giants, and Red Sox. It seems very likely that he will found another new home this winter in free agency.

In 2016, he was an All-Star with the Twins where he hit .296/.325/.439 with 27 stolen bases at the break. He finished the year with 40 stolen bases after being traded to the Giants.

The Giants third basemen did not slow down at all in 2017. An increase in batting average and on-base percentage along with an unexpected bad start from the Giants led to a trade to Boston.

Nunez instantly became a spark plug and a necessity in the Red Sox lineup with an injury to Dustin Pedroia and the inconsistent play of Red Sox third basemen. He was plugged into the 2 hole, and Devers and himself kept the Red Sox afloat while the rest of the lineup wasn’t quite themselves.

The two knocks on Nunez are that he is too aggressive at the plate and that his defense is below average. While Nunez may not walk much, his high contact rate keeps his OBP high. Also, he strikes out at a low clip of 11% of his plate appearances. While he might be overaggressive at the plate, he utilizes his speed to put pressure on the defense by putting the ball in play.

2015: .282/.327/.431 2016: .288/.325/.432  2017: .313/.341/.460

I expect him to sign a one to two-year deal with a fringe playoff team. I don’t see the Red Sox re-signing him unless they are very concerned with Pedroia’s health and Dever’s youth. He will want to go somewhere where he can play every day, and Boston won’t necessarily have that.

I think the best fit for Nunez is with the Angels. Second base has been a revolving door for a couple years now, and that is where Nunez should be defensively. Other possibly fits could be with the Cardinals, Pirates and Blue Jays. These three teams wouldn’t provide him with a guaranteed starting position (barring any trades) like the Angels would though.

 

 

 

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