It’s that time of year again.
The fields are being cut, the dirt is getting watered, and the mounds are being built up and pounded down.
Spring Training 2011 is upon us, and along with it a whole new flood of young players, free agent signings, offseason trades, and, of course, the prognostication and prediction as to where each team and player will stack up against their peers.
Pitchers will be looked at for their ability to win games and strike players out. Hitters will be analyzed for holes in their swing and their talent in both contact and power hitting. Speedsters and leadoff men will practice their leadoffs and jumps in the hopes of a good season of stealing bases and going first to third on singles.
But who is looking at the fielders?
Every player in the league—minus the 14 designated hitters in the American League—will be taking ground ball, fly ball, bunt, and every other kind of fielding practice that their managers and coaches can devise. Considering that every position player will spend around nine times as long playing defense than offense, it’s a small wonder that we rarely take the time to separate the Gold Glove gems from the solid defensive backstops—and also from the pure Fungo failures.
With Opening Day 2011 a little over a month away, we at Bleacher Report thought it was time to dust off the leather and rank not the 25 worst defenders, but the 25 most overrated defenders.
These are the players whom everyone seems to be watching when they make that one Gold Glove play that runs on ESPN for weeks, but they’re buying a hot dog for the Bill Buckner-esque plays they make time and time again.
Hopefully this year they can get the elf out of their glove, catch a can of corn, and throw it around the horn.
Don’t hold your breath.