MLB Power Rankings: Baseball's 12 Most Overrated Power Pitchers
The art of the power pitcher isn’t as relevant in today’s game as it has been in the past. Power pitchers used to dominate games, and still do to an extent, but we aren’t seeing the likes of Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson anytime soon.
Power pitchers use their high-velocity pitches, mostly fastballs, to rack up a high number of strikeouts per nine innings. In some cases, this display of brute force is subdued by wildness and high walk numbers. A good power pitcher can allow fans to forget about the walks by sending hitter after hitter on their way back to their respective dugout with nothing to show for their at-bat.
Today’s game has many good power pitchers, but an equal number of overrated ones. Here are my top 12 most overrated power pitchers in Major League Baseball.
12. Max Scherzer
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Max Scherzer, starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, just squeaked into my power rankings...lucky for him, right?
Scherzer is still young and has a lot of baseball ahead of him, but where he stands right now compared to where he was thought to be, the right-handed hurler is overrated.
Scherzer currently throws fastballs 62.1 percent of the time, and averages 92.5 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Max is 9-4 with a 4.90 ERA. He averages 8.08 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 3.27 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Scherzer was drafted 11th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006, and was the main piece in the trade that brought Edwin Jackson to Arizona.
Edwin Jackson was subsequently traded to Chicago's Southside for young pitching phenom Daniel Hudson. Scherzer has had more than two full seasons under his belt, and should be putting up better numbers than his 4.90 ERA.
11. Ubaldo Jimenez
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Ubaldo Jimenez, starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, comes in at No. 11 on my list of the most overrated power pitchers.
Jimenez is coming off a stellar 2010 season in Colorado, but hasn't shown much of anything resembling the pitcher he was last season.
Jimenez currently throws fastballs 60.3 percent of the time, and averages 93.2 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Ubaldo is 3-7 with a 4.35 ERA. He averages 7.71 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 3.86 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Jimenez's 3-7 record is definitely not the record Colorado wants from its ace. Jimenez needs to start winning games with his dominant stuff in order for the Rockies to get back into playoff contention.
Jimenez also has the power and pitches to strike out one or more batters an inning, not 7.71 over nine.
10. Luke Hochevar
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Luke Hochevar, starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, is the 10th most overrated power pitcher in today's MLB.
Like Max Scherzer, Luke is still young and has plenty of baseball to come in his career. However, he hasn't even put up the numbers that Scherzer has so far in his career. And this is not because he is on the Kansas City Royals.
Hochevar currently throws fastballs 54.9 percent of the time, and averages 92.4 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Luke is 5-8 with a 4.96 ERA. He averages 4.31 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 2.60 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Hochevar was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. He has looked nothing like a first overall selection, let alone a first round selection.
Other pitchers that were taken No. 1overall in recent years include Stephen Strasburg and David Price.
9. Chris Carpenter
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Chris Carpenter, ace of the St. Louis Cardinals, is the ninth most overrated power pitcher in baseball. Interesting—yes—but his stats don't lie.
Carpenter has been a great pitcher for a good while in St. Louis, but the this season has Cardinals fans searching for the Chris Carpenter they used to know. It doesn't help that Adam Wainwright hasn't pitched an inning this year, either.
Carpenter currently throws fastballs 51.5 percent of the time, and averages 92.4 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Chris is 4-7 with a 3.85 ERA. He averages 7.06 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 2.04 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Chris Carpenter is making $14.2 million this season, yet he only has four wins at the All-Star break. In a year where the Cardinals need Carpenter the most, he has yet to answer the call.
8. Brad Penny
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Brad Penny, starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, is the second Tiger to make the list, coming in at number eight.
Penny was highlighted by many major sports outlets as an under-the-radar, value signing by Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski. Penny hasn't been awful, but he certainly hasn't been very valuable to the Tigers.
Penny currently throws fastballs 60.7 percent of the time, and averages 92 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Brad is 6-6 with a 4.50 ERA. He averages 3.82 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 2.86 walks.
Why He's Overrated: For a pitcher to have the fastball percentage and pitch velocity that Brad Penny has, strikeouts should come in bunches. Penny, however, has a 3.82 K/9 ratio.
That just won't cut it for a power pitcher of his caliber.
7. Jeremy Guthrie
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Jeremy Guthrie, starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, is lucky No. 7 on this list of overrated power pitchers.
Guthrie is looking to get out of Baltimore, where he hasn't found much of any success over his five seasons at the beautiful Camden Yards. Guthrie has basically alternated decent season with lackluster season. At least his ball club has been consistent...consistently bad that is.
Guthrie currently throws fastballs 62.3 percent of the time, and averages 92.5 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Jeremy is 3-12 with a 4.18 ERA. He averages 5.89 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 2.21 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Guthrie has four times the amount of losses as he does wins. He is also making $5.75 million this year, making his wins currently worth almost $2 million each!
And you're telling me this guy is amongst the top starting pitchers on the trading block?
6. Ervin Santana
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Ervin Santana, starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is my sixth most overrated power pitcher in baseball today.
Santana has been the definition of what you would call a bi-polar starting pitcher. Ervin had 16 wins in 2006, seven in 2007, 16 again in 2008, eight in 2009, and 17 wins a year ago. What this tells me about Ervin Santana is that he can't follow through with high expectations, yet flourishes under-the-radar. That doesn't bode well for Santana when taking the mound in a high-pressure situation/playoffs.
Santana currently throws fastballs 59.3 percent of the time, and averages 92.7 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Ervin is 4-8 with a 3.89 ERA. He averages 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 2.77 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Santana's stats are actually quite impressive, but his win total is not. Another thing that doesn't help his cause is his track record.
If I were a betting man, I put money on a less-than-stellar remainder of the season for Ervin Santana. He is also making $8 million this year, making his wins currently worth a cool $2 mil a piece.
5. Fausto Carmona
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Fausto Carmona, starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, is my fifth most overrated power pitcher in the Major League.
After establishing himself in his first full season as a starter for Cleveland back in 2007, which was stellar by the way, Carmona has done little to nothing since. Fausto is arguably the biggest name in Cleveland's starting rotation. However, he has been the worst starter statistically thus far this year.
Carmona currently throws fastballs 66.2 percent of the time, and averages 92.3 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Fausto is 4-10 with an ugly 5.78 ERA. He averages 5.35 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 2.85 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Carmona has played a very small part in what has been a surprisingly good first half for the Cleveland Indians.
Being the highest-paid, yet worst pitcher on your staff screams overrated. He is also starting the second half of the season on the DL.
4. Ryan Dempster
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Ryan Dempster, starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, is No. 4 on my list of the MLB's most overrated power pitchers.
Ryan Dempster has been a mainstay for the Chicago Cubs pitching staff over recent years, but this season has been drastically different. Dempster's ability to eat innings and get wins has left him, and the Chicago Cubs are suffering from it.
Dempster currently throws fastballs 54 percent of the time, and averages 90.3 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Ryan is 6-6 with a 5.01 ERA. He averages 8.29 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 3.13 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Just like a handful of his teammates, Ryan Dempster is being grossly overpaid. For his mediocre numbers and bad ERA, Dempster is collecting $13.5 million this season.
3. Aroldis Chapman
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Aroldis Chapman, the fireball throwing reliever for the Cincinnati Reds, is the first reliever and third-most overrated power pitcher in my power rankings.
Aroldis Chapman is the man with the legendary 106 mph fastball, but he is still overrated. Yes, his fastball is epic and can easily be missed with a blink of the eye. However, the extent to which his pitch velocity is praised makes him overrated as a complete reliever.
Chapman currently throws fastballs 89.3 percent of the time, and averages 97.7 mph on those fastballs.
This season, Aroldis is 2-0 with a 4.57 ERA. He averages 13.29 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 9.14 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Aroldis can strikeout batters with the best of them, but with every strikeout usually comes a base on balls. If and when Aroldis learns to harness his power into a bit more accuracy, Chapman will be off this list just as quick as his fastball hits the catcher's mitt.
He also makes a pretty penny for an unproven reliever, which amounts to $3.8 million this season.
2. John Lackey
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John Lackey, starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, is more than deserving of the No. 2 spot in my list of baseball's most overrated power pitchers.
Lackey has been nothing short of a complete failure since arriving in Boston prior to the 2010 season.
Lackey currently throws fastballs 53.1 percent of the time, and averages 90.8 mph on those fastballs.
This season, John is 6-8 with an ugly 6.84 ERA. He averages 5.53 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 3.47 walks.
Why He's Overrated: Lackey is making $15.95 million this year. That's all that needs to be said.
1. Jonathan Broxton
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And to round out the list, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton is the most overrated power pitcher in baseball today.
Broxton has been on the DL for the Dodgers for all but 12.1 less than stellar innings this season.
Broxton currently throws fastballs 70.6 percent of the time, and averages 94.1 mph on those fastballs.
This "season", Jonathan is 1-2 with 7 saves and a 5.68 ERA. He averages 7.11 strikeouts per nine innings, while averaging 6.39 walks.
Why He's Overrated: When Broxton wasn't on the DL for the Dodgers, he was bad. The whole Dodger situation is not one to envy.
To add insult to the current money injury, the LA closer is making $7 million this year.