MLB Spring Training Is Over: The Game's 10 Most Overrated Players

Zack FarmerCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2011

MLB Spring Training Is Over: The Game's 10 Most Overrated Players

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    CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws from the mound during a spring training workout February 19, 2011 the Carpenter Complex at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Everybody has their list.

    They get a ton of attention and for this group, unwarranted. They're overrated.

    Which stats are the best indicators of being overrated?

    OPS? WAR? Should an eye test be taken?

    Potential sometimes cannot be judged on stats.

    Let's take a look at the 10 most overrated players in baseball.

Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees

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    SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 07:  Infielder Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees warms up just prior to the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium on March 7, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by J
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Derek Jeter is one of the greatest shortstops of all-time.

    He will reach 3,000 hits this season and has a career batting average of .314. But in 2010, his numbers began to reflect his 36-year old body.

    Jeter had a career low .270 batting average and hit only 10 home runs, his lowest total since 2003.

    Worst yet, his WAR (Wins Over Replacement) was the worst of his career at 1.3, which is at the level of a Major League reserve.

    His best years are past him and the only reason he is on this list is the contract the Yankees gave him.

    Three-years, $51 million? Really?

Adam Dunn, 1B/LF, Chicago White Sox

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    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 11:  Adam Dunn #32 of the Chicago White Sox during the spring training baseball game against Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch on March 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Adam Dunn is a great power hitter but has never really made his teams better.

    Dunn has only been on one team in playoff contention and that was when he was part of a midseason trade sending him to Arizona in 2008.

    Down the stretch that year, he hit .244 and the D-Backs came up just short of the postseason.

    He seemingly either hits a home run or strikes out. Dunn has struck out at least 160 times in every season since 2002.

    Dunn finished with a career-worst 199 strikeouts in 2010.

    Great power, not much else.

Andres Torres, CF, San Francisco Giants

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Andres Torres #56  of the San Francisco Giants attempts to steal second base during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Scottsdale Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Trin
    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    There is something about a 32-year old journeyman who has a career year in his first year as a starter I don't trust.

    Torres had not played more than 75 games in any season prior to 2010. It is documented that Torres had to learn how to deal with his ADHD and has learned to focus on the game.

    At 33, Torres still has a lot to prove to the baseball world.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees

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    TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees watch the action during the first full team workout of Spring Training on February 20, 2011 at the George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Am I the only one? Didn't think so.

    Alex Rodriguez has all-time great numbers but has never been the centerpiece of a successful team.

    When he was a Mariner, it was Junior's team. It was his team in Texas and they finished in last place each year.

    The Yankees are Derek Jeter's team and will be until he retires.

    He had 30 home runs and 125 RBIs last season but they was like Rafael Palmiero numbers. It happened but nobody noticed.

    He has been more clutch over the past couple of years but production has gone down (steroids, anybody?).

    A-Rod? Overrated.

Matt Kemp, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Matt Kemp #27 of the  Los Angeles Dodgers at bat during spring training at Camelback Ranch on February 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Matt Kemp is not quite overrated but more under performing.

    Kemp has incredible talent and it showed in the 2009 season. To go along with his 26 home runs and 101 RBIs, Kemp stole 34 bases in 42 attempts.

    But last year, he regressed and hit .249 while only stealing 15 of 28 bases.

    If he plays his potential, he is an MVP caliber player.

    He is the biggest key for the Dodgers and their success this season.

Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 23:  Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning of Game Six of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvani
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Chase Utley has been one of the best second basemen over the past decade and mainly due to his power numbers.

    But Utley has tapered off over the past few years, partly due to injury, and has seen his OPS drop each of the past three seasons.

    Take a look:

    2007: .976

    2008: .915

    2009: .905

    2010: .832

    The 32-year old former All-Star will miss a good chunk of the 2011 season and his production should decrease even when he returns.

Jonathan Sanchez, SP, San Francisco Giants

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 07:  Pitcher Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in the first meeting between the two teams since the World Series at a spring training baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium on Mar
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Jonathan Sanchez carried the best batting average against in baseball throughout 2010.

    He led the San Francisco Giants staff with a 3.07 ERA.

    But this is fool's gold. Sanchez is as fragile of a pitcher there is in baseball.

    He led the league in walks and got himself into trouble quite often.

    He averaged just under six innings per start. If Sanchez got in early trouble, he would be yanked quickly by manager Bruce Bochy.

    When Sanchez is on, he is unhittable. But when he is off, he can't find the strikezone.

    High risk, high reward with Sanchez.

Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

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    CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 06:  Pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches 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. Meric/Getty Images
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Let me have it. Yes, the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner is overrated.

    Is Cliff Lee an extremely good pitcher? Of course, he is. But that does not mean he cannot be overrated.

    Here are four sets of 2010 stats. You decide which is worthy of the most attention:

    1. 12-9, 3.18 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 185 K

    2. 11-6, 2.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 186 K

    3. 13-11, 3.14 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 177 K

    4. 15-8, 3.35 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 170 K

    The first line belongs to Lee but the others are Josh Johnson, Matt Cain and CJ Wilson respectively.

    None of those guys get the recognition of Lee despite having the numbers to back it up. Johnson and Cain have put up numbers like this for multiple years, much like Lee.

    Once again, Lee is good but still not worth more notoriety than some of these guys.

Jose Bautista, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

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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

    The words "flash in the pan" come to mind when I think about Jose Bautista.

    It's very hard to believe that a player who is a career .244 hitter and without a season of more than 16 home runs could all of a sudden turn into the league's best power hitter over night.

    Can Bautista do it again?

    To ask for him to get 50 home runs again is ridiculous.

    But if he can get at least 30 home runs this season, then this slide gets retracted.

Carlos Gonzalez, CF, Colorado Rockies

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies swings during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields on February 26, 2011in Scottsdale, Arizona..  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    This one bothers me quite a bit. After his breakout season in 2010, almost everybody is screaming and praising Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

    He had a great year, no doubt, but was it only a one year thing?

    Gonzalez finished with 34 home runs and 117 RBIs.

    But did everybody forget he plays in Colorado?

    He hit 26 of his 34 home runs and hit a blistering .380 at Coors Field. That leaves eight home runs and a .289 average.

    Car-Go is still a solid player but you have to wonder if some of his production is due to the thin air.


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