MLB's 10 Most Overrated Players: Joe Mauer, Yovani Gallardo Lead the Way

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2011

MLB's 10 Most Overrated Players: Joe Mauer, Yovani Gallardo Lead the Way

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins wipes his forehead against the New York Yankees during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    As fans and followers of sports, we tend to only take into account what players have done for their teams as of late.  Their success from the season before has corresponded with bigger salaries, more media exposure, higher fantasy rankings and a higher level of respect and dependence.

    While the trend for good players is to evolve in the game and continue to get better, there are also those who accomplish statistical breakouts that should warrant some sort of speculation. 

    Whether pitchers explode for an exceptional strikeout-to-walk ratio, hitters post huge power numbers that exceed anything they've done in the past, or the simple breakout seasons that players provide every April to October, we need to look at the facts and be more realistic with our calculations.

    The players on this list are highly respected, highly valuable and significant parts to their team's success. 

    With that said, many of them have overachieved or have produced inflated stats making these 10 names the most overrated players in the MLB.

10. Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers

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    MARYVALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24:  Rickie Weeks #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during Spring Training Media Day on February 24, 2011 at Maryvale Stadium in Maryvale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Weeks finally came on strong last year and produced like the highly-regarded prospect he was tagged as coming into the league.

    Posting 29 home runs and 11 stolen bases, Weeks was able to produce alongside the best second basemen in the MLB.  His home runs improved more than three times from the 2009 season, but it didn't come without a price.  

    The free-swinging Weeks helped his power numbers considerably in 2010, but his power approach also resulted in 186 strikeouts, 60 more than any season he's played in his career.

    Has he finally turned it around to become a top player at his position?

    It's too soon to tell.  The power numbers are there but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is alarming and his speed numbers have gone down.  Not to mention age is becoming a factor for Weeks in attempting to steal more than 20 bases in a season.

    If Weeks can stay healthy in the coming years (posted a career-high 651 at-bats in 2010) his average should stay around the .270 mark, but his walks should go up and strikeouts down.

    For now, one good year from an inconsistent player throughout his career makes Weeks a very overrated player in the MLB.

9. Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, Toronto Bluejays

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    DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Infielder Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats against the Detroit Tigers February 26, 2011 at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    There's not much to say about Bautista to prove that he is one of the most overrated players in the game.

    In 2010, the power-hitting Blue Jay took his 13 home runs from the year before and turned it into 54.

    They got 54 home runs from Jose Bautista!  Call me crazy, but that's the definition of overachieving.

    This is a guy who hasn't hit more than 20 bombs in a season throughout his five-year career.  His 124 RBI total from 2010 was over 60 more than he has ever produced in a single campaign. 

    So what can we take from the most improved player in all of baseball?

    Not much.  Despite the league-leading power numbers, Bautista still batted .260, which was also a career-high.  However, he did have a terrific strikeout-to-walk ratio, posting 100 walks with 116 strikeouts.

    To think that Bautista is capable of hitting over 40 home runs again is pretty risky, not to mention that the lineup around him is highly questionable.  Also, for fans and experts to say that Bautista is one of the best power hitters in the game is ridiculous, the guy simply has not produced on a consistent basis.

    Give him time and his statistical output in 2011 will be enough proof to show that he deserves the No. 9 spot for most overrated players in the MLB.

8. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

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    CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 06:  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies fouls off a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by J. Me
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The former NL MVP has been on the decline for years now.  Due to injuries and significant hitting droughts over the past few seasons, Rollins is finally showing signs of old age.

    Now 32, Rollins' speed and extra-base hitting ability have been taking hits since 2008.  Not to mention he hasn't batted over .280 since 2007, in which he hit .296.

    The problem right now for Rollins is to regain the power he once possessed.  Easier said than done.  He hit 40 home runs from 2008-2010 for the Phillies.  While that might seem impressive for a speedy shortstop, it doesn't remain so when you think about the 30 home runs he hit in 2007 alone, or his 25 from the year before that.

    His walks are down, strikeouts are up, power numbers are down, speed is decreasing and injuries are almost a certainty.  The once-heralded best hitting shortstop in the game has finally lost his touch.

    So it's time to let Rollins go.  If he finds his stride and has something of a bounce-back season then so be it.  But to think that he is still among the best hitting shortstops in the game is like saying Willy Taveras is still the best base runner in the MLB.

7. Delmon Young, OF, Minnesota Twins

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Delmon Young #21 of the Minnesota Twins looks on during batting practice against the New York Yankees during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    In 2010, Delmon Young finally proved to the Twins that trading Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for him was not a mistake.

    However, Young's numbers were highly inflated and he is no where near the prized possession he was thought to be when he came into the league back in 2006.

    Don't get me wrong, Young can flat-out rake, but when it comes to having a power/speed combo, he just doesn't compare to the likes of Drew Stubbs and Carlos Gonzalez.

    For that matter, his speed numbers don't even compare to Josh Hamilton's.  Young's five stolen bases on nine attempts in 2010 were an alarming career low.  This is a guy who stole 20 a year ago in the minors and 14 back in 2008.

    Young, now 25, is slowly approaching the age of no return.  The 2011 season is the year to put it all together, but until he does that you have to think of him as an overrated 20-20 threat. 

    He will more than likely never get back to his 112 RBI and his .493 slugging percentage from last year.

6. Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves

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    KISSIMMEE, FL - MARCH 01:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves hits a 2nd inning double during a Spring Training game against the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium on March 1, 2011 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Heyward is a freak of nature.  Finishing second in the NL ROY voting is a huge accomplishment, but let's take a deeper look at the 21-year-old's production from 2010.

    His 520 at-bats ranked 37th in the league among outfielders.  That's fairly impressive for a rookie in his first season.  However, his 18 home runs ranked 39th among outfielders and his .277 average ranked 24th.

    Those aren't exactly the numbers of a top five outfielder in all of baseball, which a lot of people have pegged Heyward heading into the 2011 season.

    Does he have the potential to be among the best?

    No doubt.  Heyward's success at the plate in his first full season is only a glimpse of what he's capable of doing, but he just hasn't produced enough to warrant the titles that people are throwing his way after one year.

    Time will tell.  Heyward's body is still growing and should enable him with more power-hitting ability as the years go on.  Although, remember many of the sophomore slumps that good hitters like Josh Hamilton, Gordon Beckham and Troy Tulowitzki faced.  Players tend to fall off after outstanding rookie seasons.

    Buster Posey deservedly won the ROY.

5. Daniel Hudson, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Daniel Hudson #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a portrait at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 21, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Remember Zach Duke in 2005 for the Pittsburgh Pirates? 

    Well if you don't, look at Hudson's stats from 2010 and you'll see what I mean.

    While it's ironic that both Hudson and Duke now pitch for the Diamondbacks, it's even more irony in the stat lines that they each produced in their first seasons in the MLB.

    2005 Duke: (8-1, 1.81 ERA, 84.2 IP, 58 KO and 23 BB)

    2010 Hudson: (8-2, 2.45 ERA, 95.1 IP, 84 KO and 27 BB)

    Wow is right.

    Hudson is much more of a talent then Duke ever was, but before we crown him a top-of-the-rotation guy for Arizona we must realize his potential downfalls in the MLB.

    The 24-year old's biggest season in the minors was in 2010, in which he went 11-4 with a 3.47 ERA.  To think that he can transfer his talents to the major league level and consistently post a ERA more than one point less than his minor league days is something that should be left for second graders to ponder.

    Right now, at this current stage of his career and with the surrounding players on his team, Hudson is by no means a top-of-the-rotation guy.  He's currently being ranked higher than the AL ERA leader in Clay Buchholz, Tim Hudson, John Lackey and James Shields—that's just to name a few.

    If you ask me, one more year of his 2010 numbers will be the precursor for a fantastic career.

4. Martin Prado, 2B, Atlanta Braves

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    ATLANTA - JULY 15:  Martin Prado #14 of the Atlanta Braves against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field on July 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The big thing for Prado is consistency.  Not only in hitting, but staying healthy.

    A DL stint last year really hampered his value down the stretch, which has resulted in some people wondering if he's the real deal.

    Prado, now 27, is at that ripe age to breakout even more, but considering he really isn't a power threat, his power production from last year will more than likely decrease.  However, his .307 average is legit considering he's recorded that stat line in back-to-back seasons.

    In over 2,300 at-bats in the minors, Prado only hit a total of 16 home runs in his 10-year career.  So to think he's a perennial 15 home-run guy is sort of a stretch.

    Another alarming stat are his second half numbers.  Prado exploded onto the scene in not only the MLB, but in fantasy, when he hit 10 home runs with a .325 average in the first three months of the 2010 season.  However, after the break he was unable to sustain anything worthwhile, hitting five home runs and batting a mediocre .278 in 227 at-bats.

    So at this moment you have to consider Prado overrated.  Just because a player busts onto the scene in the first half of one season doesn't mean he's automatically a top player at his position. 

    Don't believe me?  Look at what Barry Zito did last year in the first half of the season.  But after his second-half performance, Zito isn't even on his own radar heading into 2011.

3. Chris Young, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Chris Young #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a portrait at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 21, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    A 20-20 threat?  Sure.

    A power-hitting outfielder?  Sort of.

    A base-stealing specialist?  Not really.

    A middle-of-the-lineup hitter?  Not even close.

    Young's resurgence in 2010 was big enough to launch him to an All-Star selection.  However, how good was Young really?

    His 27 home runs and 28 stolen bases is surely fancy, but his career-high .257 is down right disgusting.  Considering he has never been able to hit over .250 in four years before 2010, this shows what kind of hitter he is.

    Young is a home run-or-nothing player.  His 145 strikeouts ranked seventh among MLB outfielders in 2010 and his .341 OBP ranked 29th.

    To think he will improve on his numbers from last year is more than a stretch.  For that matter, to think he might even repeat his numbers is more than a stretch.

    Young's supporting cast is fairly suspect, so he won't see many pitches to hit over the wall.  Look for a lower average, lower home runs, 20-plus stolen bases and more walks. 

    He's just not the top of the top.

2. Yovani Gallardo, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

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    ST. LOUIS - JULY 4: Stating pitcher Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers leaves the game with an unknown injury against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 4, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Brewers 7-1.  (Photo b
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Gallardo has produced some of the most inflated stats among any top pitcher over the past few seasons.

    His 27-19 record (2009-2010) is nothing to brag about and considering he has never pitched over 190 innings in his career, how can he be labeled a top-of-the-rotation, top-20 pitcher?

    His strikeouts?

    Despite popular belief, strikeouts aren't everything.  His 404 strikeouts over the past two years are pretty, but his near 170 walks are the exact opposite.

    A top-of-the-rotation ERA?

    Well, if a 3.78 is a top of the rotation ERA then I stand corrected.  That is exactly what Gallardo has produced over the past two seasons.

    So before you label Gallardo as a great pitcher and a strikeout artist, you have to take into consideration that he is anything but a workhorse and occasionally has trouble with his command.

    The only reason Gallardo is not the most overrated player in baseball is because he's only 25, so he has some time to get better and make a bigger impact for the Brewers.

1. Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins looks on during batting practice against the New York Yankees during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York Cit
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    OK, before I get heckled for putting Mauer on this list hear me out.

    He is currently one of the best contact hitters in all of baseball and is arguably the best all-around catcher in the league.  Nobody is arguing that.  But I can't peg him as the "ultimate hitter", which was his label after his 2009 MVP season.

    Mauer's .365 average and 28 home runs in 09' were some of the most outrageous stats that a catcher with his defense has recorded in a very long time.

    However, I was one of the first people to say 28 home runs?  Really?

    He just isn't that good of a power hitter and sadly that's what the game of baseball has turned into.  You could see the frustration in the eyes of Twins fans when he continuously failed to hit the ball out of the park in 2010 (nine home runs).

    Mauer will never hit over 20 home runs again in his entire career, it just won't happen.  That's like saying Jose Bautista will hit 50 home runs again some time soon.

    Is he a beast?

    Of course, Mauer's average and ability to get on base are the reasons why he is one of the best hitters in baseball.

    On the other hand, don't be sold on him being the best catcher in the league for the next five years.  With the likes of Victor Martinez, Brian McCann, Buster Posey, and Carlos Santana, who all have considerably more power than Mauer, the field is growing more competitive.

    Sorry Joe.  You can pose for all the "MLB The Show" covers you want, you're simply overrated.