2002 Brian Giles
Brian Giles in the early 2000s is one of the most underrated stretches in baseball. From 1999 through 2003, Giles batted .306/.426/.604 with a .403 wOBA, and 158 wRC+. However, in 2002, Giles had the best season of his career but didn’t even finish top 10 in MVP voting.
During the 2002 season, Giles was a .298/.450/.662 batter. The outfielder slugged 38 home runs with an isolated slugging percentage of .324. Giles struck out at a rate of just 11.5% while drawing walks in 21% of his plate appearances. He even provided some base running value, coming in with +1.5 baserunning runs above average and swiping 15 bases. Overall, he had a 1.072 OPS, .444 wOBA, and 174 wRC+.
Defensively, well Giles certainly wasn’t good. He was worth -14 total zone runs while having a below-average range factor. But he still came out with an fWAR of +6.9. Sure, it might not have been the greatest season ever, but to not win a Silver Slugger, finish in the top 10 in MVP voting, or even make the aAll-Star Game is insane.
Giles was by far the second-best hitter in the National League. Among qualified batters, Giles was surpassed by just Barry Bonds in OPS, wOBA, and wRC+. Granted, Bonds was playing in another plane of existence in the early-2000s, but Giles had a large lead in these three stats. Sammy Sosa’s wRC+ clocked in at third at just 157. He also had a 49-point lead in OPS and an 11-point lead in wOBA over Larry Walker.