According to MLB.com, Derek Dietrich of the Miami Marlins is the team’s most overlooked player.
There is no doubt Derek Dietrich has been one of the unsung heroes for the Miami Marlins this season.
The veteran utility player has been in the right place at the right time on many occasions this season, providing a much-needed bat in the lineup and solid defense in left field or in the infield to spell players who need a day off or who miss time due to injury.
Dietrich is not a household name. You don’t discuss him on the national scene with other valuable bench players. He has been solid the entire season in a year where change has not helped the Marlins win baseball games right away.
Will Leitch of MLB.com recently wrote a piece outlining the most underrated player on each ball club. Dietrich got the nod down in South Florida.
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"“Dietrich has never quite been appreciated in Miami, or even noticed, but this is the fourth straight above-average offensive season he has put together in a row by OPS+,” Leitch wrote."
Fans across the baseball landscape may not know about Dietrich down in Miami, but Major League teams didn’t waste time when it came to the MLB Trade Deadline and rumors of several organizations potentially look at a veteran bat or solid glove on the diamond.
Although the waiver trade deadline is drawing to a close, it is possible the 29-year-old could be moved in the offseason to a team that contends for a playoff berth.
"“Dietrich is racing J.T. Realmuto to become the first Marlin to lead his team in home runs not named Giancarlo Stanton since Dan Uggla in 2010,” Leitch added."
Until this season, Dietrich had hit only 44 home runs in his career but has sent 16 into the bleachers this year. He has 42 RBI as well and a .268 batting average. His ability to play all four infield positions and in left field has proven to be a godsend for the organization.
Because of the Marlins commitment to a youth movement and the crowd that is starting to form in the outfield, keeping Dietrich on the roster may be a bit of an issue. Miami has already made several moves to promote younger players from Triple-A New Orleans, players Mattingly figures to play more as the season comes to a close.
Dietrich may be the odd man out next season based on sheer numbers of outfielders who can play multiple positions for the organization.