Underrated MLB Free-Agent Signings Who Will Have Biggest Impact on 2023 Season

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 02:  Christian Vázquez #9 of the Houston Astros looks on during Game 4 of the 2022 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Age: 32

2022 Stats: 119 G, 426 PA, 9 HR, 1 SB, .274 AVG, .315 OBP, .399 SLG

The Deal: 3 Years, $30 Million

Because they still have a shot at re-signing Carlos Correa, the best move of the Twins’ offseason may not have happened yet. For now, though, they deserve more credit for landing Christian Vázquez.

If nothing else, the Twins scored a winner when they signed Vázquez. He’s been a key part of two World Series champions, first as a starter for the Red Sox in 2018 and more recently as a reserve-turned-postseason-standout for the Houston Astros last season.

As far as skills go, Vázquez is less spectacular. He puts the ball in play well enough (i.e., 82nd percentile for strikeout rate in 2022) as a hitter, but without much power. As a defender, he rates well for his throwing but is about average when it comes to framing.

Look a little closer, though, and you’ll see that Vázquez remains one of the best at framing pitches at the top of the zone. Twins pitchers lived up there more than most in 2022, and especially with their fastballs.

It’s likely that by the end of 2023, Vázquez’s individual numbers won’t jump off the page. But the Twins clearly already believe that he’s a good guy to have around, and they won’t have much reason to change their minds if he elevates them like he did the Red Sox and Astros.

Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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