By Joe Sparacio
A Major League superstar's impressive ERA or a monster home run by a marquee name rarely go unnoticed among baseball fanatics. That doesn't necessarily remain true, however, for their teammates.
We're here to recognize the players who are flying under the radar this season (or possibly even for a few seasons now), while providing consistent production day in and day out.
Time to give these guys the credit they deserve.
Marcell Ozuna (MIA, OF)
Ozuna has been one of the bright spots for the Fish in a down year. Heading into the weekend, he was seventh in batting average among outfielders, fifth in RBIs (tied with Aaron Judge and just behind Bryce Harper) and had as many homers (15) as Harper and more than Nolan Arenado.
But this isn't the first season of solid production from the young budding star.
Since the start of last season, according to WAR, Ozuna's been a top-15 outfielder and more valuable than his slugging counterpart Giancarlo Stanton, who gets all the attention. While playing solid defense in the outfield, Ozuna actually hits the ball pretty hard himself. Aside from a small blip, his exit velocity has leveled off in the range of Stanton's this season.
The rest of the league should watch out -- Ozuna is still only 26 years old, so he has plenty of time to continue honing his craft, too.
Elvis Andrus (TEX, SS)
Who had the most hits heading into the weekend among shortstops? Andrus. How about the most stolen bases among shortstops in the American League? That'd be Andrus again, who is second behind Trea Turner overall. His 34 runs scored are fourth most among shortstops in the AL. He's also batting over .300.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD, C)
Heading into the weekend, Grandal had 24 RBIs among catchers, tied for the fourth most in the Majors and second-most in the NL. He has been a beacon of consistency at the position, knocking the fifth-most hits (48) and most doubles among catchers.
The Cuban backstop is also second in WAR among qualified catchers this season and fourth overall the last two years. And he's been one of the best at giving his pitchers a wider strike zone since entering the league. This skill was on full display in the NLCS last season, and Grandal seems to be doing it again this season as well.
Ender Inciarte (ATL, OF)
Has anyone gotten less coverage after winning a Gold Glove than Inciarte? The outfielder has performed admirably as the Braves' leadoff hitter over the past two seasons after beginning his career in 2014-15 with Arizona. The Braves got him as an added piece in the Dansby Swanson for Shelby Miller swap and Inciarte has, so far, been by far the most valuable piece in the deal, surprisingly.
Inciarte has been the 10th-most valuable outfielder this season thanks to his ability to swipe bases and play outstanding defense. He slots in right between Mookie Betts and Eric Thames in terms of WAR. And if you expand that ranking over the course of the past three years, starting with his last season in a D-backs uniform, the speedster has been more valuable than Charlie Blackmon, Christian Yelich, Starling Marte, A.J. Pollock and Andrew McCutchen, according to FanGraphs.
Marco Estrada (TOR, SP)
Estrada doesn't necessarily have electric stuff, and his 4.04 ERA and 1.22 WHIP are middle-of-the-road. But it's important to look deeper. In 2016, the Jays starter -- selected to his first All-Star Game -- finished the season with a 3.48 ERA, right in line with the 3.41 FIP he has now. Estrada has also struck out 90 batters in 78 innings and aside from the first innings of games, he's actually been rather dominant.
Estrada is on pace to clear 175 innings pitched for the third consecutive season, and he's been a different pitcher since arriving in Toronto at the start of the 2015 season. Over the past three years with Toronto, Estrada has posted a 3.43 ERA. Doing that in the Majors in general is impressive, but doing that when your home team is in the AL East is even better.
Lance Lynn (STL, SP)
For a guy that doesn't have a diverse arsenal of pitches, Lynn has been remarkably effective as a starter. He is both an All-Star and a World Series champion, and many are likely overlooking him after he missed 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Lynn has a 2.88 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, and though his underlying numbers may indicate some regression is coming, this is a guy that has beaten the regression bug year after year. Right now, he looks like he's back on track with his career numbers: an impressive 3.33 career ERA and more than eight strikeouts per nine innings.
Alex Colome (TB, RP)
As good of a resurgent season as Craig Kimbrel is having up in Boston, his division-rival closer in Tampa is quietly keeping up. Colome got the closer's gig last year and all he did was post a 1.91 ERA, notch 37 saves and get selected to his first All-Star Game. He has followed up that stellar first season with a great start to 2017: His 17 saves led the AL entering this weekend's play and his 1.22 ERA and 0.98 WHIP are also toward the top of the leaderboards as well.
When analysts talk about the best closers in the league, Colome's name is seldom mentioned, yet his 54 saves combined over the last two seasons entering the weekend trails only Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen, both of whom received massive contracts this past offseason. Maybe Colome is also a $60 million man.
Raisel Iglesias (CIN, RP)
Iglesias may be the most versatile pitcher in the Majors. Entering the season, the prevailing notion in the Reds organization was that Iglesias could either start (like he did in the past) or close (like fireballer Aroldis Chapman before him). As it turns out, he has stayed in the bullpen all season, usually pitching in the highest-leverage situations in games (often regardless of inning).
His stats this season have been so good that manager Bryan Price now calls him the de facto closer for the Reds. Entering the weekend, Iglesias hadn't allowed a run in his past 19 games and on the season he has registered a 0.57 ERA. These stats, on top of his 12 saves and 38 strikeouts in just over 31 innings, are eye-popping. Many people have yet to notice Iglesias' new role, but the Reds may have groomed yet another dominant Cuban closer right before our very eyes.
Joe Sparacio is an associate producer for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @joetsparacio.