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9 Most Overrated Players In the MLB Today
As the season makes its annual All-Star Game pit stop, it’s as good a time as any to review the popularity of players and exactly how deserving they are of their reputation. In assembling this list, it’s pretty clear that the fundamental problem with overrating players is simply that fans are stuck in the past. While new prospects and hyped youngsters may get undue respect, for the most part, people continue to throw their weight behind aging stars because that’s what they’ve always done. Don’t believe me? Take a look.
9. Derek Jeter
Jeter has always been a solid player and there are few players you would rather have in the clutch, but his long tenure with the Yanks has caused people to think he’s better than he actually is. Recently, his RBIs have hovered around 70 per season with HRs cracking 20 only once in the past decade. He’s a good guy and a clutch player, but he doesn’t seem to be the force that he’s made out to be, and he’s much older now, so it’s a safe guess that his best years are behind him.
8. Jonathan Papelbon
In the past two seasons, Papelbon has seen a sharp decline in his effectiveness as a closer. After several impressive years with an ERA under 3.00, he’s now in the 4.00 range, with the number of earned runs having doubled and on pace to double from his best years again this year. Further, his usage is low enough that even if his numbers were strong (which they’re not, really) that he wouldn’t be as effective a closer as someone that could see more time.
7. David Ortiz
Consistency is a the name of the game in this one. When a player tapers off like Ortiz did (and by “taper off,” I mean “forget how to hit entirely”) for as long as he did, it’s incredibly hard to regain your confidence and return to your former self. Now, certainly, public perception of Ortiz has dwindled, but he’s still got the aura of his former self around him, which just isn’t the case. His average and HRs have slipped,
6. Ryan Howard
Howard has been a beast in previous years, but last season saw him hit almost half as many homers as he had in his peak year (31 vs. 58) and about two-thirds as many runs (108 vs. 149). He’s up on RBIs this year, but with only 18 HRs, one has to ask if the powers gone, despite the fact that everyone seems to hold him in the same regard they did earlier in his career. People tend to also overlook his strikeouts, inability to walk, and slowness because, hey, people love homers. He’s still pretty young, the buzz that still surrounds him isn’t commensurate with his decline in performance over the past couple years.
5. BJ Upton
Granted, expectations and hype around this Ray have cooled, but he’s still getting more love than he deserves. The guy hovers around .220 and is a less-than-team-player. Last season, he hit .237 with 18 homeruns. I’m not sure that’s worthy of any hype, so any discussion about this guy still qualifies him as “overrated.” The 164 strikeouts are a nice touch, though. And he’s on pace for even more this year.
4. Carlos Pena
As you can see above with Howard and Ortiz, power always gets an undue amount of respect. Don’t get me wrong, power hitters can singlehandedly change a game like no one else, except maybe a pitcher, but the allure of homeruns causes fans to overlook other aspects, like, say, a .196 batting average last season. And 158 strikeouts. The guys still a threat at the plate, but day-in and day-out, he’s more of a liability than anything.
3. Joba Chamberlain
It’s not really his fault. If this guy had walked on water, thrown 200 mph, and gone undefeated, then he MIGHT have lived up to expectations. After looking at a yearly breakdown of his stats, it’s very hard to know what to make of this dude. Sure, he’s got the potential, and he’s young enough to possibly right the ship, but the guy hasn’t performed well enough to crack the starting rotation, and his set-up and closing work is so far from stellar it’s not even good.
He is still a good/great player, but he’s not among the best. He’s still statistically strong, which is a step down from his statistical greatness in 2007 when he hit 54 dingers and 146 RBIs. But as far as intangibles go, this guy was never even an All-Star. He was never clutch in Texas or Seattle, and his lacking here went noticed on the endowed Yankees teams during this era. He isn’t much of a teammate, with the only notable move on his part being moving to third for the Yankees. His numbers are back down to earth, but many fans and announcers still seem to think he’s the alpha dog of the majors, which simply isn’t the case.
1. Nick Swisher
Yeah, four Yankees are on this list. But it stands to reason that they would be. I’m not a Yankee lover, nor a Yankee hater, but when you wear the pinstripes and rake in 25% more than you’d probably be worth on the open market, it’s hard to escape the accusation. Everyone in the world watches these guys play, and guys like Swisher are good, but they’re not the second coming, thought they’re treated like they are.
While it’s not the only barometer, what a guy makes for salary is a decent measure for how respected/popular/desired he is. After all, it’s the measure of what a team is willing to give up to get a guy. Last year, Swisher hit 29 HRs, 89 RBI’s, and batted .288. Which sounds really good, until you learn that this guy made $27 million dollars while doing it. He’s not the leader of the team, his stats were good last year, and trending to be about the same this year. But he’s an overpaid Yankee that doesn’t live up to the hype. Sorry, guys.