40 Most Overrated Players in Baseball Right Now
Players can gain their reputation throughout their career or by having a few good seasons. However, many of these players keep that reputation even when they begin to decline, so MLB has a number of overrated players.
Other times, players garner more attention and praise than they deserve because of the media. The New York City media is certainly guilty of making a number of players seem better than they are. As a result, it should come as no surprise that there are quite a few New York Yankees on this list.
With sabermetrics, it has become easier to point out some overrated players. They might have numbers that look good at first glace, but once you take a deeper look at them, they don't live up to what was expected from the player.
Kurt Suzuki is considered to be a fairly good offensive catcher, and after he threw out 37 percent of attempted base stealers in 2008, he was considered to be good defensively as well.
While Suzuki may be able to hit balls out of the park, he is not that good at the plate. His 88 OPS+ last season was below average. Defensively, Suzuki let 46 balls get past him, both passed balls and wild pitches, and he threw out 28 percent of runners in 2011.
Jose Reyes is a very good player, but he does not deserve all of the praise that he gets. He has had problems staying on the field, which have limited him over the years.
It is certainly debatable as to if Reyes is worth $100 million. The Miami Marlins thought that he was, and they have to be hoping that he is able to produce at a very high level.
Tell most New York Yankees fans that Derek Jeter is bad defensively, and they will almost instantly point to his five Gold Gloves to prove you wrong.
The problem is that Jeter was not deserving of those Gold Gloves. He is routinely ranked among the worst defensive shortstops in the majors. Bill James penned a piece about how Jeter is definitely not a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop.
Torii Hunter is less overrated now that he has moved to right field, but his defense is not as good as it was always made out to be. He had a number of spectacular plays that have stuck in people's minds.
In 2010, Hunter's defense was worth eight runs below average, and he was able to improve that number slightly to just two runs below average in 2011.
There are people that will make the claim that Robinson Cano is the best second baseman in baseball. The people that do that are only looking at one aspect of the game.
Cano is outstanding at the plate, but he is not that great in the field. His defense was two runs below average in 2011. Both Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia were at least nine runs above average defensively.
According to FanGraphs, Cano had the fifth-highest WAR amongst American League second basemen in 2011.
Considered by some to be the best defensive catcher in the major leagues, Yadier Molina's season in 2011 was a success by many measures since he won a Gold Glove and a world championship.
However, Molina's defense was not that great in 2011. He threw out 29 percent of runners, well below his career average of 44 percent. According to FanGraphs, this was the worst defensive season of Molina's career.
While Adam Jones has improved offensively, he has gotten worse and worse on defense. He posted a dWAR of -1.7 last season.
Jones was 17 runs below average defensively in 2011. That is certainly not something that would be expected from a player who drew enough praise to win a Gold Glove in 2009.
For the amount of money that Ryan Howard is being paid, he needs to produce at a very high level. While home runs are impressive, Howard's 2011 season was not.
Howard's 1.6 WAR last season ranked him 21st among first basemen behind the likes of Jesus Guzman, who only played 76 games last year. Part of this can be explained by his poor defense and baserunning abilities.
Injuries hurt Alex Rodriguez last season, but he will still likely make this list even if he was healthy. Rodriguez is not the player that he was just a few seasons ago.
He can still produce at the plate, but Rodriguez has declined a bit over the past few seasons. It is hard to justify Rodriguez's salary based on his production.
Jonathan Papelbon is one of the best closers in the game of baseball. However, that does not prevent him from getting the label of "overrated."
Paplelbon has had his save total decrease in each of the seasons since 2009, and he has blown 11 saves over the past two seasons.
Ubaldo Jimenez is supposed to be the ace of the Cleveland Indians pitching staff. The problem is that he is not actually an ace. One outstanding year in 2010 generated a lot of hype for Jimenez.
In fact, Jimenez is more of a No. 2 than an ace. He has a WHIP that is just under 1.30, and his career xFIP is 3.84.
It might be hard to make the argument that Matt LaPorta is overrated, because most people will concede that he his not a great player to begin with.
LaPorta's -0.8 WAR in 2011 means that he was worse than the theoretical replacement player in 2011. He struggled mightily in the field as well as at the plate.
Of all of the starters that threw at least 162 innings in 2011, there were just three that were worse than Mike Pelfrey based on FanGraphs WAR.
Pelfrey posted a 0.7 WAR. The reason that he makes this list is because there are still people that think he is a middle-of-the-rotation starter, when in reality he is nothing more than a No. 5 at this point.
There was no player that had 200 at-bats in 2011 that was worse than Adam Dunn. His year was laughably bad, but it could easily be a down season.
Dunn is another example of how power entices teams. His OPS+ of 58, WAR of -2.9 and .159 batting average were just some of the lowlights from Dunn's 2011 season.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka does not deserve much slack for last season even though he was injured. In 240 plate appearances, Nishioka drove in 19 and scored 14 runs. Comparatively, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson drove in 14 runs in 79 plate appearances, and he slugged one more home run than Nishioka.
Nishioka not only struggled at the plate, but in the field as well. He was worth 13 runs below average between shortstop and second base.
Carl Crawford's first season in Boston was a disaster. He did not look like the same player that he was with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Every aspect of the game was a struggle for Crawford, as his speed and ability to hit for a high average suddenly disappeared. Crawford also had a below-average year defensively in 2011.
Winning an MVP award allows a player to have a down season or two overlooked. Jimmy Rollins has struggled to live up to his 2007 season which won him the NL MVP.
Rollins is still a very good shortstop, but he does not deserve as much credit as he gets. He has a career OPS+ of 97, which is below average.
There are certain aspects of B.J. Upton's game which make him very appealing to teams. He has the ability to put together a 20/20 season, and he did so in 2011.
However, Upton has not batted above .243 since 2008, which certainly hurts his value. His career OPS+ of 105 is not as high as one would expect given his performances.
The production that the Washington Nationals got from Jayson Werth in 2011 was not what they expected when they signed him to a seven-year, $126 million deal.
Werth batted .232 and had a below-average OPS+ of 97. Werth was worth 2.5 WAR in 2011, which is not bad, but it certainly was not the level of production that was expected from him.
In a poll conducted by ESPN, MLB players believed that Nick Swisher was one of the most overrated players in the game. That sentiment likely stems from Swisher's offensive production.
Swisher has power, but he has struggled at times. His career .254 batting average is not great, and he has never struck out less than 110 times in a full season.
Raul Ibanez was one of the worst everyday players in baseball in 2011. He posted a -1.3 WAR during the season.
While Ibanez did slug 20 home runs, he had an OPS+ of 91. Defensively, Ibanez was a liability. He was four runs below average as a left fielder.
Roberto Hernandez Heredia
There are few pitchers in the major leagues that are more inconsistent than the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. Some outings he is outstanding, while others, he is just miserable.
Roberto Hernandez Heredia has a career WHIP of 1.43 and a career ERA of 4.59. For some reason, people believe he is much better than he actually is.
Throwing a no-hitter is an impressive feat. Francisco Liriano's no-hitter was made even more impressive by the fact that he walked six batters and was still able to finish the game without letting up a hit.
Liriano has been fairly inconsistent throughout his career, but people still like him a lot because of his upside. When Liriano is on, he is great. Unfortunately, that is not as often as it should be.
The Washington Nationals sent Derek Norris, A.J. Cole, Tom Milone and Brad Peacock to the Oakland Athletics for Gio Gonzalez. That is a high price for a pitcher who is not actually a No. 1.
Gonzalez has struggled with walks during his career, and as a result, has a 4.4 BB/9 rate for his career. This explains why he has a career WHIP of 1.41.
Mark Reynolds' power makes him very appealing. However, along with the power comes a lot of strikeouts.
Reynolds knocked 37 balls out of the park last season, but he also led his league in strikeouts for the fourth consecutive year and put up a low batting average. Then, there is also the fact that Reynolds was worth minus-24 runs on defense.
Ichiro Suzuki has been outstanding for the Seattle Mariners ever since he came over from Japan, but it appears as if he hit his inevitable decline.
For the first time in his career, Suzuki's average dropped below .303, and he did not eclipse the 200 hit mark. 2011 was also one of his worst seasons defensively.
David Ortiz is another one of the players on this list that is really good, but also overrated. This past season was one of the best that Ortiz has had in recent memory.
However, Ortiz is likely on the decline, and he is not the hitter that he once was. He still draws the same praise that he did years ago.
Teams look for players that can help them win games. Carlos Pena is one of those players, but he gets too much credit for what he does.
Pena is a big power bat that does not hit for a high average. He combats that by drawing a lot of walks, but he also strikes out a lot with men on base.
The past two seasons have not gone very well for A.J. Burnett. It is not often that a player can have two straight seasons with an ERA over 5.00 and still feel fairly safe about his job.
Burnett has struggled with his control and led the American League with 25 wild pitches in 2011. He has seen his WHIP rise above 1.40 each of the past two seasons as well.
The 2011 season was a rough one for Vernon Wells, even though he hit 25 home runs. He posted an 83 OPS+ and he only batted .218.
Wells struggled on defense as well. He is not as good as he is perceived to be, and he was worth five runs less defensively than the average outfielder.
Aubrey Huff has drawn a lot of attention during his career as the result of a number of good seasons. The problem is that he has a number of bad years sprinkled into the mix.
This past season showed why Huff is not exactly deserving of all the attention he gets. Huff struggled and posted a below average OPS+ of 90. He struggled at times in the field as well.
Young pitchers are valuable commodities, so it make sense that the Tampa Bay Rays would value Wade Davis. However, he is not as good as he has been made out to be.
Davis has not posted an ERA+ above 100, the league average, in either of the past two seasons. During the first year of Davis' career, he made six starts and was worth 1.1 WAR. Over the past two seasons, Davis has been worth just 1.5 WAR in 58 starts. He is still living off the buzz he generated by his first stint in the majors.
On the surface, Mitch Moreland's numbers do not look bad. However, once one delves deeper into them, it is clear that Moreland is overrated.
Moreland posted an OPS+ of 92 last season. He was also below average defensively, which resulted in him having a 0.4 WAR in 2011.
Over the past few seasons, Francisco Rodriguez has had his issues, both on and off the field. He definitely spent some time riding on the coattails of his record-setting 2008 season.
Rodriguez still has the ability to close, but he is not the elite closer that he once was. He has not been able to strike out hitters as effectively as he had in the past.
The 2009 seasons was one that made Adam Lind a household name. He emerged as one of the most feared hitters in the American League for that season.
Since then, Lind has not been able to repeat his success. His batting average has dropped significantly, and he has not scored as many runs. In fact, over the last two seasons, Lind has been worth -0.3 WAR.
A solid 2011 season allowed Freddie Freeman to finish second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. This is more praise then he deserved.
Freeman was worth just 1.0 WAR in 2011. This ranked 12th among rookie position players in the National League. He struggled a bit defensively and was a below-average fielder.
It is a bit difficult to consider Jason Bay to be overrated after the struggles that he has had in Queens. Citi Field has seemingly zapped all of his power.
The reason that Bay makes this list is because he was worth just 0.7 WAR last year. That makes him less valuable than players such as Brian Bogusevic and Sam Fuld, both of whom he gets way more attention than.
In his first year back from Japan, Colby Lewis drew a lot of praise. He put up the best numbers of his career.
This season was not as good for Lewis, and he was a fairly average pitcher (101 ERA+). He is often overrated because of the fact that he has performed well in the postseason.
It is a simple fact that as players get older, they do not perform as well. When this happens, some of them still are considered to be good players because of their past performance.
This has happened with Bobby Abreu. Adding to this is the fact that he came up big in clutch moments in 2011. However, Abreu is basically a fourth outfielder at this point in his career.
The Chicago Cubs did not get what they expected when they signed Alfonso Soriano. He is no longer a threat on the basepaths, and he can no longer hit for a high average.
This is a big problem for Soriano since he strikes out a lot and does not take walks. Now, the Cubs are stuck with his albatross of a contract.