Although spring training has long since begun and the Major League Baseball offseason is in the rear-view mirror, all the projections are still theoretical and exist only on paper at this point. That means it’s the perfect time to look at what teams improved themselves the most this winter, and what lesser-known players they acquired to do it.
At this point, we all know that Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels, Zack Greinke inked a long-term deal with the Dodgers and the Blue Jays acquired a plethora of big-name players from the fire sale-happy Marlins. But, often times it’s the lesser-known players who make a big impact on roster composition and success, particularly for teams who are already knocking on the door.
Take, for instance, the 2012 MLB playoffs, when the relatively unheralded Marco Scutaro made all the difference for the Giants in their World Series run. Ditto for the Tigers and Delmon Young. Remember, it isn’t Miguel Cabrera who holds the Tigers record for most home runs in the postseason. It’s in fact Young — hitting eight in just two seasons.
So what under-the-radar players will make the biggest impacts on their new teams in 2013? Who were the best overlooked pickups of the offseason?