The 10 Most Overrated Players in Major League Baseball
Would You Rather Be Underpaid or Overrated?
Well, would you? The great, modern American philosopher, Jay-Z, posed that exact question during one of his pieces, making all of our brains ponder such a difficult proposition. Would you rather be underpaid or overrated? To me, the answer is very simple – overrated.
People have a hard time comprehending what overrated actually means. The primary misinterpretation of the word overrated is that it means something/someone is actually bad. That is not the case whatsoever. I feel chocolate cake is overrated, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like chocolate cake or that it’s terrible. It just means I feel people overvalue it to a degree.
When it comes to athletes, this misinterpretation is displayed in full force, most notably when discussing Derek Jeter. It’s come to the point where Jeter is so overrated that he has become underrated. So many people scoff at his fielding deficiencies when they say Jeter stinks, but people forget that shortstops don’t normally hit over .300 on a consistent basis. Also, it’s safe to say that Derek Jeter is a winner. I hate saying that about most athletes, but in the case of Jeter it’s accurate. For these reasons, I do not include Jeter in my top 10 list.
With that being said, these are the 10 players that I feel are the most overrated by the media and fans. This does not mean I think these players stink in anyway. It’s just they are viewed in positive light much more than they should be.
Disclaimer: I am not a hater, I don’t hate your favorite team, and I lean more towards sabermetrics than traditional stats. Reader's discretion advised.
This is a case where we are ignoring a decline. This might just be my experience from being on sports forums too much, but I just don't understand why some people still consider Mark Teixeira a top five first baseman. There's no debate about his fielding prowess, because he is fantastic at that, but Teixiera has been on the decline since 2009. The reason for his decline might be because of the way defense shift against him when he bats left-handed, but it's a decline nonetheless.
This is a case where we are all blinded by potential. Everyone knows what BJ Upton is capable of, yet it never has happened. Upton had an OBP under .300 for the first time of his career in 2012, but he is still one of the most coveted free agent outfielders, with the Phillies and Braves both after the overrated centerfielder. If Upton even came close to his 2007 more than once, I would sing a different tune, but it's simply not the case.
This is a case where we are blinded by raw power. Mark Trumbo took the baseball world by storm during the first half of 2012. In the second half, however, he remembered that is a Mark Trumbo: the career minor leaguer. Trumbo is pretty much BJ Upton with more power and worse defense. If you don't consistently find a way to get on base, I'm not going to like you really - - just my personal preference.
This is a case where we are blinded by the early success and dominance. I, like many of you, remember Clay Buchholz's no-hitter early in his career. It was easy to be infatuated by the young star, especially when equipped with a 12-6 curveball that devastating. But outside of 2010, where he went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, Buchholz has been nothing more than a fifth starter statistically. His K/9 is average, his ERA is somewhat average, and his FIP is below average - - being average is all Clay Buchholz is.
This is a case that I just don't understand. For the simple fact that my colleague, Evan Crum, had Michael Young on his most underrated list proves exactly how overrated Michael Young really is. Yes, Young is a good hitter in terms of batting average. I get it. I really do. But that's all he's good for. People like to claim that Young is a good player because he drives in runs consistently. Well, that's because Ron Washington, up until this year, batted him fourth in a stacked lineup. He was never a good fielder, he's too aggressive at the plate, he never really hit for power, and he has complained on two separate occasions about switching from positions that he was already terrible at. In his 12-year career, Young has only accumulated 29.0 fWAR.
This is a case where we are blinded by wins. This is the part of my list where I start listing players who many fans consider elite, so this is the time where I can hear you cursing my name. In the case of Jered Weaver, many consider him to be a top-5 pitcher in the American League. And that's just not true, which is why he is overrated. Weaver is a great pitcher, there's no doubt about that. But I just have a hard time listing him in my top-10. Weaver is worse than his traditional stats say but better than his sabermetric stats indicate. He's really a statistical enigma, meaning he's hard to figure out.
This is a case where we are blinded by potential and success. Adam Jones had his best season in 2012, compiling a 4.6 fWAR. But until this season, Jones was pretty average. Despite winning a gold glove, Jones isn't that great of defender, so we can throw that out the window right now. Also, Jones doesn't really have the world's best plate discipline, with his career BB% at 4.8. Jones could enter a Matt Kemp type transformation, but I need to see it for one more season before I consider him elite.
This is a case where we jump the gun. Everyone and their mother considers Josh Hamilton a top ten player in all of baseball. However, the contrarian in me cannot support such claims. When Hamilton's decline happens, which it will, it's going to come fast and hard. He is a hitter who depends on his own God-gifted abilities. Basically, Hamilton is that kid in high school who never practiced and just hit the heck out of the ball. Once he loses his bat speed and power, he becomes just another player. He is not worth the contract he will sign, and you shouldn't want him on your favorite team.
This is a case where we are blinded by RBIs. I think most of the baseball world has caught up on the fact that Ryan Howard is one of the most overrated players in the game of baseball. In the very least, I think everyone can agree that he has the worst contract in the game. Howard hits home runs and drives in runs. That's literally all he does, and he doesn't do it at nearly as much as he once did.
This is a case where we ignore splits. Carlos Gonzalez is the perfect example of a two-face. At Coors Field, he has the slash line of .338/.394/.609/1.003. On the road, however, Gonzalez's slash line is .258/.313/.422/.735. He's Mickey Mantle at one place and Dewayne Wise at the other. It's safe to say that if Gonzalez didn't play at Coors Field, he wouldn't be the perennial all-star that he is; ergo, he's the definition of overrated.