Baseball fans often misconstrue what it means to call someone overrated. Being overrated doesn't only have to do with talent, it has to do with perception compared to talent.
Take Mark Teixeira. The Yankees first baseman is a very good hitter, but he is perceived as a great one—overrated.
Its interesting, though, how that better-than-what-he-is perception comes about for certain players. For Big Tex, it's past performance.
It can also stem from too much hype or a hefty contract.
Here are some of the most overrated players in the game and why they are considered as such.
Yovani Gallardo has truly electric stuff, but he is not the ace that many believe him to be.
Though he is one of the better No. 2 pitchers in the league, he has never put together an upper-echelon type season in the majors.
In fact, Gallardo has often disappointed.
In 2010, Yo-Ga posted a pedestrian 1.37 WHIP and 3.84 ERA.
Gallardo showed improvement in 2011, bumping those numbers up to 1.22 and 3.52, respectively. Plus, he struck out 200 or more batters for the third straight year. Still, he didn't have a great season. His WAR was 3.1, good for 46th among starting pitchers.
Does that sound elite to you?
We have been waiting for Gallardo to break out for quite some time, yet most view him as someone who already has.
While fans don't hold Mark Buehrle in as high regard as they do Gallardo, he's still perceived as one of the better pitchers in the league, which is why he was given a four-year contract worth $58 million by the Miami Marlins this offseason.
In reality, at this point, the 33-year-old southpaw is nothing more than a guy who will give you 200 innings of pretty average pitching.
In his last three seasons, Buehrle has posted a 3.91 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and has only struck out 313 batters in 629 innings pitched.
Buehrle deserves credit for his reliability, but a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher is not worth $58 million.
In 2010, the Washington Nationals made a huge splash when they signed Werth to a seven-year contract worth $126 million.
At that time, it was the 14th largest contract in MLB history.
For his career, Werth is a mediocre .266 hitter, but in his first year as a National, he didn't even hit that mark.
In 561 at-bats, Werth posted a slash line of .232/.330/.389.
At 32 years old, Werth seems to be on the decline, though he was never an elite player to begin with (he has topped 30 home runs and 90 RBI only once in his career).
Some are expecting a bounce-back season from Werth, but that's wishful thinking.
The fact Werth still has six years remaining on this deal has to make Nationals fans cringe.
Unlike Werth, Dunn was elite at one point in his career.
In seven-consecutive seasons (2004-2010), Dunn posted at least 38 home runs and 90 RBI.
Unfortunately for Dunn, everything fell apart in 2011.
It's actually almost difficult to put into words how horrific he was, so I will just let the stats do the talking. In 415 at-bats, Dunn posted a slash line of .159/292/.277, hit 11 home runs, batted in 42 and scored 36 runs.
Given how bad he was in so many at-bats, it cannot simply be written off as a down year.
There's an excellent chance that Dunn is done (that was too easy).
Nonetheless, the 32 year old making $14 million this season finds himself batting third in the White Sox lineup this season.
Ubaldo Jimenez was magnificent in 2010, and developed a reputation as one of the best pitchers in the big leagues.
While that title likely flatters Jimenez, it is no longer deserved.
For his career, the Indians "ace" sports a respectable 1.30 WHIP and 3.77 ERA.
However, things are trending downward for him, as he absolutely imploded in 2011. Jimenez's velocity decreased significantly and he posted career lows in the majority of pitching categories, including a 4.68 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 32 starts.
Ubaldo should be better this year than last, but regardless, he should in no way be regarded as a top-tier pitcher in the American League.
While Howard is "out of sight, out of mind" at the moment given his injury, we can't forget that he's still one of the most overrated players in the game.
Once one of the best hitting first basemen in the league, posting 40 home run and 140 RBI seasons regularly, Howard has entered a steep decline.
In 2009, Howard slugged an excellent .571. In 2010, that declined to .505, and it fell once again in 2011 to .488. He also hit .253 last season.
A 30 homer and 100 RBI guy is valuable, but Howard is far from the player he once was.
Howard is simply no longer elite.
There's no need for me to point out that Rodriguez is no longer worth the type of money he receives ($30 million this year) and is a shell of his former self.
Well, I guess I just did anyway.
Excluding those statements, A-Rod is still overrated. He bats cleanup in one of the best lineups in baseball, but just doesn't produce at that level anymore.
His slugging percentage has decreased every year since 2008, falling all the way down to .461 in 2011. He also hasn't batted .300 since 2008.
On top of that, Rodriguez can't stay healthy anymore, as he hasn't played in more than 140 games since 2007.
At 36 years old, his body is wearing down, and can't be relied upon to always be in the lineup. Even when he's in there, he's not so intimidating.
Many view Big Tex as a top-five first baseman, and although the guy can rake, a top-five first baseman he is not.
Teixeira was once the total package as an offensive first baseman. He could slug 30 or 40 home runs, bat in 110-120 runs and hit around the .300 mark.
And while Teixeira can still accomplish the first two, he's no longer a .300 hitter.
In fact, Teixeira is not even close.
In 2010, he batted .256. While Yankee fans wanted to write that off as a fluke entering 2011, Big Tex fared even worse last year, batting .248.
At this point, Teixeira is simply a slugger (albeit a great one), but he's not an all-around hitter like Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and company.