The 2013 MLB All-Overrated Team
The 2013 MLB season has seen its fair share of surprises, both good and bad.
For instance, the Pittsburgh Pirates have witnessed Francisco Liriano and Jeff Locke emerge as ace-worthy pitchers, despite otherwise suspect careers before this season. And obviously, the Baltimore Orioles must be pleased with themselves about Chris Davis and his 42 home runs.
But for every feel-good story, there’s always a bust. High hopes, usually riding on big salaries, have been crushed throughout baseball this season. Arguably the best example of this has been Albert Pujols, who will earn another $212 million through 2021 despite losing a step or two in his game.
But Pujols is just one of many major disappointments this season. On the following slides, you will find the 2013 MLB All-Overrated Team.
Catcher: Miguel Montero (Arizona Diamondbacks)
The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Miguel Montero to a five-year, $60 million extension in the middle of last season. At the time, it seemed like a prudent decision, as the then 28-year-old posted a park-adjusted 122 OPS+ (a career best), 12.7 percent walk rate and 15 home runs for the season.
But so far in 2013, Montero has statistically been one of the worst starting catchers in baseball. The left-handed hitter has posted a dismal .228 batting average, 82 OPS+ and nine home runs.
Currently on the disabled list with a lower back strain, Montero has little time left to prove that his 2013 campaign won't be a complete bust.
First Base: Albert Pujols (Los Angeles Angels)
Few people thought that handing Albert Pujols a 10-year, $240 million contract before the 2012 season was a good idea. Regardless, the Los Angeles Angels inked Pujols to the massive deal shortly before he turned 32, and they have since witnessed the three-time MVP regress over the last two seasons.
The 2013 season has been particularly miserable for Pujols. The right-handed hitter has posted a .258 batting average and park-adjusted 116 OPS+ with just 17 home runs over 443 plate appearances.
To make matters worse, the slugger’s season is now in doubt due to a tear in his left plantar fascia. According to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, Pujols vowed to return to this season, but the fourth-place Angels will likely shelve the first baseman for the remainder of 2013.
Second Base: Dan Uggla (Atlanta Braves)
Most middle infielders do not possess a lot of home run power, but in the case of Dan Uggla, that’s just about all he offers. The slugging second baseman has posted eight consecutive seasons of double-digit home runs—including five with 30 or more.
Home runs aside, however, Uggla isn’t actually a “good” hitter. Over the past three seasons, the 33-year-old has combined for a .217 batting average and park-adjusted 99 OPS+. He has also struck out a whopping 468 times during that span.
Uggla has a poor glove too. In 10,500.2 career innings at second base, he owns a putrid minus-4.2 UZR/150.
Considering Uggla is making $13 million per year through 2015, the Atlanta Braves are stuck with a very one-dimensional—and expensive—player.
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (Texas Rangers)
Despite Elvis Andrus already being signed to a three-year, $14.4 million contract through 2014, the Texas Rangers decided to further extend him to a mammoth eight-year, $120 million deal in April.
As a defense-first shortstop with speed, Andrus’ contributions with the bat were always minimal, as he owns a career park-adjusted 84 OPS+. In 2013, however, that already pedestrian rate has dropped 11 points.
The 24-year-old is certainly a valuable commodity, but he is not close to being worth his contract. And with Jurickson Profar yearning to start, the Rangers’ decision to hand Andrus security through 2022 was a suspect decision.
Third Base: Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants)
For a while, Pablo Sandoval led the National League All-Star vote over David Wright this season. Yet while Sandoval’s popularity might be unwavering, his offensive production has been inconsistent.
So far in 2013, he has posted a mediocre park-adjusted 98 OPS+ (versus career 128 OPS+). Sandoval has also seen a 60 percent drop-off in his home run total since 2011. And while the 27-year-old third baseman might be nimble for his size, Sandoval has gloved a career-worst minus-5.8 UZR/150 this season.
Kung Fu Panda’s $8.25 million salary next season isn’t an albatross, but his designation as an elite third baseman is unjust.
Left Field: Justin Upton (Atlanta Braves)
Heading into the offseason, Atlanta needed an offensive upgrade and took a chance on a maligned Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder named Justin Upton.
Upton, who had slumped from a 141 OPS+ in 2011 to a 109 OPS+ in 2012, appeared to have fixed his inconsistencies during his first month as a Brave. The 25-year-old collected a 1.136 OPS with 12 home runs in April.
Since then, however, Upton has posted a mere .758 OPS with 10 home runs. The juxtaposition between Upton’s first month and the rest of the season so far has been both puzzling and infuriating for the Braves.
At this point, Upton’s elite 2011 season is starting to look more like a fluke than a ceiling.
Center Field: B.J. Upton (Atlanta Braves)
Unlike his younger brother, B.J. Upton has yet to truly enjoy an extended period of success in 2013. Fresh off a five-year, $72.25 million contract he signed in the offseason, Upton has been a complete bust for the Atlanta Braves in 2013.
The 28-year-old has posted a dismal .193 batting average, a 60 OPS+ and only eight home runs. Upton is also on pace to steal the fewest bases in his career, as he currently has just 10.
The center fielder has played well over his past seven games (.357 batting average and .829 OPS), but it hardly makes up for a season full of disappointment.
Right Field: Josh Hamilton (Los Angeles Angels)
One of the biggest surprises of the 2013 season has been Josh Hamilton’s fall from grace. The 32-year-old received a lucrative five-year, $133 million contract from the Los Angeles Angels in the offseason, but he has done little to prove that he’s worth it so far.
Hamilton has posted a .220 batting average, a park-adjusted 91 OPS+ and just 17 home runs over 456 plate appearances this season. Considering the slugger owned a 141 OPS+ and 43 home runs in 2012, Hamilton’s sudden inability to hit the ball with authority has been a source of puzzlement for the Angels.
With another $116 million owed to him through 2017, Josh Hamilton has a lot to prove to Angels fans.
Designated Hitter: Adam Dunn (Chicago White Sox)
Adam Dunn has been an “outcome of three” type of hitter for his entire career. With Dunn, you basically know he’s either going to walk, strike out or hit a home run. But since signing with the Chicago White Sox, he hasn’t been doing nearly as much of the latter.
In fact, despite owning a career .071 home run per at-bat ratio, Dunn has posted a mere .058 metric over the past three seasons. The 33-year-old has also been striking out more as a member of the White Sox, whiffing at a 32.9 percent rate (versus a career 26.9 percent rate).
Considering Dunn has only been worth a cumulative minus-1.3 WAR since 2011, according to Baseball Reference, his $15 million salary next season appears to be a thorn in the side of the White Sox.
Starting Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie (Kansas City Royals)
In an attempt to “win now,” the Kansas City Royals made a flurry of offseason moves. One of the moves included re-signing free agent pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year, $25 million deal.
On the surface, Guthrie is having a solid campaign, posting a 4.10 ERA over 153.2 innings to along with 12 “personal wins.” However, the right-hander’s 4.99 FIP is a better indicator of his actual performance. With mediocre command to boot (1.72 SO/BB), Guthrie has actually been a below-average major league pitcher in 2013.
With $20 million remaining on his deal through 2015, the Royals will be overpaying a mediocre pitcher for another two seasons.
Closer: Huston Street (San Diego Padres)
After Huston Street posted a 1.85 ERA (versus park-adjusted 199 ERA+) in 2012, the San Diego Padres extended their closer for two years and $14 million this offseason.
How did Street repay the Padres for their loyalty? So far, he has done so with a pedestrian 3.38 ERA (versus 103 ERA+) in 2013.
The 30-year-old reliever has been alarmingly hittable this season, allowing a career-worst 2.4 home runs per nine innings. Considering Street has only surrendered home runs at a 0.8 clip throughout his career, his effectiveness as a closer has now become debatable.
With setup man Luke Gregerson always nipping at his heals, Street is going to have to improve mightily to keep his job this year and next.