Yanks atop SI’s most overrated player survey

Miranda back up; Russo back down
Game 89: Win it for the Boss

The Yankees may be, for the 8th year in a row, the game’s most popular team among baseball fans, but its players aren’t well loved by those on other teams. According to a recent Sports Illustrated poll of 187 Major Leaguers, players have view a handful of Yankees as the most overrated players in the game.

Leading the pack is 24-year-old reliever Joba Chamberlain. A whopping 12 percent of respondents picked him as the most overrated. Despite Joba’s struggles this year, he’s still young and should have a promising future ahead of him. He can take comfort in the fact that Derek Jeter earned the same honors in the 2008 poll.

Joining Joba on the list are fellow teammates Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher. It’s hard to say if this hatred is justified or if other Major Leaguers simply don’t like the guys who grab headlines. The other two in the top five were J.D. Drew, one of the game’s best hitting outfielders over the last five years, and Gary Matthews, Jr., someone regarded as so bad that it’s hard to believe he could be overrated.

It’s pretty clear to see how players view this question though. It’s not about which players are actually overrated. Rather, it’s about which players receive too much attention based on their skills. A-Rod is hated because, well, he’s A-Rod, and we know of his crimes against baseball. Nick Swisher ran one of the most over-the-top All Star Game vote campaigns in the history of the Final Vote, and if he weren’t a Yankee, we’d probably hate him too.

Joba’s inclusion on this list is because he’s legitimately overrated. Right now, he’s a 24-year-old struggling to find consistency at the Major League level. There’s certainly nothing wrong or unexpected in that. But because of the amount of press he has received and the way he blew away the league in 2007, other players expect him to be better than he has been this year. We shouldn’t expect Joba to be as dominant as he once was, and although he can still have a very successful career as a starter or reliever, right now, perception of him as a pitcher just hasn’t lined up with the results.

Miranda back up; Russo back down
Game 89: Win it for the Boss
  • bonestock94

    I wonder who the 187 players that voted are? Probably bitter bottom of the depth chart guys.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      That’s good point. Not what are these guys responding, but who is giving these responses? Basically only 6 or 7 guys per team are responding to this. I’m sure A-Rod responded and called himself underrated…..

    • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

      I bet a LOT of White Sox voted considering Swisher is on this list. It’s no secret that Ozzie Guillen hated him and it would be right up his alley to push the anti-Swisher campaign around his clubhouse as vehemently as Swisher pushed his own campaign for the “Final Man” vote.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Joba having a bad year=Overrated
    Swish having a career year=Overrated

    It’s all about the uniform.

  • Pat D

    Yea, I’d say this is a bunch of pettiness and jealousy. ARod’s on there because he is ARod and people just hate him. Swisher’s on there because…he’s a lively personality? That’s really hard to fathom. It’s just because he’s a Yankee, really.

    This is further proof why MLB players shouldn’t be consulted on such things.

  • Ryan

    Haters gonna hate….

  • Kevin in Delectable Princeton

    Who seriously thinks J.D. Drew us overrated? If anything, he’s underrated. And Gary Matthews Jr. isn’t even good! This baffles me.

  • Doug

    A-Rod’s also overrated because he’s making a ton of $. Whether he’s justly earning it or not, could be some jealously in the vote.

  • Opus

    Would like to see this list of voters get the Mitchell treatment.

  • Philthy65

    Dallas Braden was easily one of them

  • swo

    Something tells me the notorious fistpump (O NOES!!!11) has something to do with this………

    • swo

      In fact, something tells me the players who voted thought this was a poll about the most HATED player……

  • Alex

    i would definitely not hate swisher. in fact, i really liked him when he was with the A’s and white sox. how could you hate a guy who clearly enjoys what he does, isn’t a robot, and doesn’t take his fame and rihes for granted?

    • Rivera Venue Blues (formerly Spaceman.Spiff)

      He’s a Yankee.

  • Chris0313

    Well let’s flip this around on everyone here…

    Name the top 5 most overrated players in MLB?

    • Tom Zig

      Torii Hunter
      Hideki Matsui

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        What, no Nomo or Dice-K?

        • Tom Zig

          Definitely forgot Dice-K and John Lackey

          • Chris0313

            I will agree with Torii Hunter, but who overrates Hideki Matsui? Also Ichiro is a gold glove outfielder with 50 steal ability and he is going to get 3000 hits with missing 10 years in the bigs. He is not overrated.

            Who overrates Lackey and Dice-K?

            • Rivera Venue Blues (formerly Spaceman.Spiff)

              Josh Beckett
              AJ Burnett
              Torii Hunter (defensively)
              Jacoby Ellsbury (also defensively)
              Jimmy Rollins

              Dice-K (not anymore but, teh GYROBALL)

            • Salty Buggah

              Well, for Ichiro, it’s probably because of people saying he could hit HRs if he wanted to.

              Lackey was considered an ace-type, but he’s not.

              Matsui is probably not overrated, but I could see the argument. People think he is this all-world hitter but in reality he “only” has a career OPS of .842. His “clutchiness” might lead to him being overrated, but in reality, he’s a very good hitter, but not elite, as some may have thought (not many on RAB though).

    • Salty Buggah

      Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Torii Hunter (though he’s been pretty good offensively this year and last year), Jacoby Ellsbury, & Daniel Nava.

      These are the guys I thought about on top of my head. Had I given this a bit more thought, I’m sure I could do a better list, but it seems ok.

      • Salty Buggah

        Oh, and Josh Beckett & Ichiro (thank to Tom Zig’s comment).

        How about AJ Burnett & John Lackey?

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Burnett – does anyone really overrate him? I think most people who are really into baseball recognize he is what he is.

          Lackey – maybe before this year, but then again no one saw him being as awful as he’s been.

          • Salty Buggah

            Yea, you’re probably right. It’s probably that domination of the Yanks in 2008 that led to people overrating him but everyone knows who he is now.

            I know there’s bad AJ & good AJ but in the end, from what I’ve heard from Twitter and similar places, he’s good in the end. It depends on what your definition of “good” is. He has a 109 ERA+ for his career, which is solid but not really that good. Maybe it’s the contract that made me think he’s overrated?

            • Zack

              His salary makes you believe he’s overrated, when he is really just overpaid.

              He’s paid like an ace, he has ace-like stuff, but only for ~15 starts throughout a year, so he’s not an ace. If people called him an ace, he’d be overrated, but since they don’t, he’s not overrated.

      • Alex

        what? ryan howard?

        howard career ops+ 141

        teixeira: 135

        is teix overrated too?

        • Salty Buggah

          Hmmm, maybe not then. After 2-3 more years, I’d probably say so.

          However, it is an interesting thought to consider Tex overrated. He is elite offensively but not as great as many thought he was on defense. He’s still very good but not crazy good on D. I’d say he’s probably not overrated, but if you had to say he was, I could see an argument if someone said Tex is slightly overrated.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Howard has a couple of notable holes in his game, namely that he sucks against lefties and his defense. Apart from being a slow starter (and he’s only gotten excruciatingly slow in the first month the past two years, unfortunately), Tex doesn’t.

      • Chris0313

        Rollins is a good one. Ellsbury is another good one. It’s too soon to overrate Nava, no one knows who he is.

        So far

        1. Rollins
        2. Hunter
        3. Ellsbury

        are the only solid choices i’ve seen.

        • Salty Buggah

          Nava was a joke, btw.

        • Pete

          ichiro, too. There will be people at the end of his career who chalk him up as one of the ten or twenty best players ever, which he is not even close to being.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Anyone who is repeatedly called scrappy or gritty.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Beckett. Beckett, a lot.

      Probably Ichiro, Torii Hunter, Ellsbury, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes too. Pedroia, maybe? Morneau, this year aside (though he’s going on the DL)? Chone Figgins? Alex Cora? Aside from Cora, these guys are good players, just not worthy of the hype they get.

    • Zack

      1. Howard
      2. KRod (and every closer not named Mo)
      3. Beckett
      4. Figgins
      5. Guys like Boesch who are obviously playing over their head, yet fans/media won’t admit it so for the next 5 years we’ll have to listen to “Yeah but in 2010 he hit, he’ll do it again”

    • steve (different one)

      Michael Young

    • Januz

      Here are my five most overrated players starting with number one: The most overrated player in baseball is Prince Fielder. Borass compared him to Mark Teixeira (Despite the fact he is awful in the field). All of these 1st baseman are superior to this guy. Pujols, Cabrera, Gonzalez, Tex, Youkilis, Howard and of course, Morneau. I can only imagine how fast his skill level will deteriorate because he is about 260-270 lbs. I happen to agree with Joba being overrated, but the most overrated pitcher has been and still is Kerry Wood. He lives off of the early days when he was a starter for the Cubs. He has essentially stunk or been injured since then. Other names on that list: Oliver Perez (Borass comparing him to Walter Johnson and Koufax nuff said), Mike Cameron, and Jacoby Ellsbury (He is Brett Gardner without the Borass hype. Even Youkilis tore into him, for disappearing on the team during rehab).

      • Pete

        yeah…no. Maybe ellsbury, but who overrates ollie perez/mike cameron/kerry wood? And honestly, while I think Youkilis is an amazing baseball player, he’s kindof a douche off the field. What he says about players really shouldn’t count against them.

    • http://twitter.com/AnaMariana42 Ana

      Papelbon. A lot.

  • Kyle Litke

    That’s a stupid list. I actually think Joba is a fair one, right now he’s pitching like crap, and frankly has been very inconsistent now for almost 2 years, but until very recently he was still treated as this amazing guy for what he did in two months in 2007 (and continued to do in 2008, but it was 2007 that got everyone to think he’d do that forever).

    The other 4 are dumb. Gary Matthews Jr, is he even RATED? Since when did anyone think he was this amazing player? Not since he got that Angels contract a few years ago. JD Drew is frankly underrated. Nick Swisher? The hell did he do to piss people off? Just because of Moneyball? Because outside of Moneyball, I don’t remember anyone talking about Nick Swisher as anything more than he is. And Alex is one of the best players in baseball, not as much this year but in general.

    • bonestock94

      But then again Joba is dirt cheap. I think you can argue that Arod is overrated just because his performance for this season (in july) doesn’t justify the pay.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      If you said GMJ was overrated in like… 2007, okay, I’d understand. That one catch got him way too much money. But when the heck was the last time anyone like talked about him?

  • Chris0313

    My list of overrated players:

    1. Torri Hunter – Not deserving of that contract.
    2. Jimmy Rollins – Not deserving of the hype.
    3. Jose Reyes – Not deserving of the hype.
    4. Jason Bay – Not deserving of the hype or contract.
    5. David Ortiz – Fat, overrated, etc…

    1. Josh Beckett – Sucks.
    2. Jonathan Papelbon – Walks the park.
    3. Francisco Rodriguez – Walks the park.
    4. AJ Burnett – “Good” AJ should consider making more appearances before we grant his existence.
    5. Cole Hamels – Why does everyone expect something good to happen every time he pitches?

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      No one overrates Cole Hamels any more. All I hear about is how he’s a sissy nancy-boy who can’t handle pressure and whatnot.

      • Chris0313

        Really? I watch Phillies games and ESPN highlights and they expect the world of the kid every time he pitches. And they are shocked when he gets destroyed.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Phillies announcers are horrible, pay no attention to them. I can’t say I’ve ever seen ESPN overhype him, either. I’ve seen Mitch Williams do it on MLBN, but he’s a ridiculous Philly homer anyway. Maybe I say this because I have a very very good friend who’s a Phillies fan who feels the same way about him as I imagine most of us feel about Joba, just like thirty times worse.

          Anyway, Hamels is not the ridiculous stud he was in 2008, but he’s not the ZOMG CHOKER he was in 2009 either. I think he’s a quite solid pitcher. It’s silly to claim he can’t handle pressure, too, when he was both NLCS and WS MVP in 2008.

    • Januz

      I would consider Hunter underrated compared to Fielder any day of the week. Fielder and Boras think he is worth more than $100m for 5 years. I know they play different positions, but Hunter is a Gold Glove winner, while Fielder is a butcher in the field, with all the agility of a walrus. This season, his hitting has been below average as well. Prediction: His career will fall somewhere between Dave Kingman and Mark McGwire (Likely closer to Kingman).

      • Ed

        I know they play different positions, but Hunter is a Gold Glove winner, while Fielder is a butcher in the field,

        You just proved the overrated point right there.

        According to UZR, the last time Hunter’s defense was a positive was 2005. In 2003 he had a great defensive year, but the other years he was a positive, it was only marginally so.

  • Philthy65

    Most underated players in MLB??

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Funnily enough, I’d put JD Drew on that list. Shin-Soo Choo. Angel Pagan, Brian McCann. Maybe Franklin Gutierrez.

      • Pasqua

        I think McCann gets a lot of attention by virtue of his being a catcher.

    • Januz

      1: Joey Votto. 2: Josh Johnson. 3: Adrian Gonzalez.

      • Philthy65

        how bout jimenez(before this season) and rios?

  • cranky

    About as dumb a poll as you could find anywhere. SI is written for people who don’t yet get enough of an allowance to be able to afford to buy it.
    What in the world does “overrated” mean?

    BTW, there is no player on the Reds named Gary Matthews, Jr.

    SI=Stupid Idiot

    • Rivera Venue Blues (formerly Spaceman.Spiff)

      He’s in their organization at the moment. But dumb poll, agreed.

  • Guest

    My list:

    1. David Eckstein (I know people don’t talk about him that much more anymore, but as long as he is in the majors, I will always put him on my overrated list)
    2. John Lackey
    3. Joba Chaimberlain (it’s a shame he’s had to deal with such incredible expectations so quickly, but he has not lived up to them nonetheless)
    4. BJ Upton (Has done some very good things, but his production has yet to match the hype)
    5. Jimmy Rollins

  • Zack

    This issue is overpaid v overrated.

    ARod has the #1 salary, but is not the #1 player anymore. So does that mean he’s over-rated? No one proclaims that he is the BEST in the game, but he is still on that elite level.

    Compared to say Ubaldo, who’s under-paid but an elite player. Just because he’s under-paid doesn’t mean he’s under-rated.

    And then GMJ is extremely overpaid, but who is saying “Damn GMJ is worth $10m this season”? No one, therefore he cannot be overrated.

  • Pasqua

    Subjectivity has become synonymous with the mainstream sports media. The “Ready, Fire, Aim” mentality that infects newspaper / mag writers, and especially sports talk radio, is so frustrating that it has become too exhausting to combat with rational thought.

  • Pete C.

    Arod says, “I can’t hear you because of my Stanley Cup rings are blocking my ears”. Oh wait, wrong sport

  • Pete

    To me, the five most overrated players in baseball are the following:

    1. Ichiro: By far the best player on my list, no doubt, on account of his being excellent defensively and good offensively and ridiculously consistent. But the guy seems to be considered by many to be one of the top offensive players in baseball history, despite never crossing the .380 wOBA mark, and only once crossing the .370 mark. He has a very unique skill, but it doesn’t translate into immense value. On offense, he is roughly equal to Nick Swisher.

    2. Torri Hunter: It’s hard to believe he is still considered even a decent defensive centerfielder, let alone one of the best ever. He has never been great in any part of the game, and is still considered great.

    3. Josh Beckett: He’s always been a solid #1 on a bad team/#2 on a good team type pitcher, and yet is only now starting to be considered anything other than an ace.

    4. AJ Burnett: He has always been a two pitch pitcher with a nice moving fastball that’s generally in the 94-96 range (down a bit this year) and an inconsistent but sometimes dynamite curveball. His control has always been meh when he’s on and horrible when he’s off. And yet, even into his thirties people seemed to think that he had the potential to become an ace. AJ isn’t a middle of the rotation starter because of his head, as people always claim – he’s a middle of the rotation pitcher because he has shitty control and an extremely shallow repertoire.

    5. David Eckstein: the Eckstein love has thankfully fallen off somewhat in the past couple years, but the guy has never, ever, even come close to resembling a good Major League Baseball player. He should not have ever been talked about, period. And he was. A lot.

  • MikeD

    So basically 9 players out of 187 believe A-Rod is overrated? One is no doubt Dallas Braden. Seven or eight players think Swish is overrated? When the math is done, the poll seems totally pointless.

  • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

    Who is it that’s overrating Joba? As far as I can tell, most everyone acknowledges he stinks this year.

    As far as Nick Swisher goes…I’d actually put him on the list of underrated players. He’s a lot better than most people give him credit for. Outside of Cano he’s been the most consistent position player for the Yanks this year.

  • Captain Jack

    My list for most overrated players:

    1.) Jimmy Rollins
    2.) Torii Hunter
    3.) Joba Chamberlain (the fact that he’s not in Scranton seals it for me)
    4.) Francisco Rodriguez
    5.) Ichiro Suzuki

    I’d put Jake Peavey somewhere near here too.

    To most players I think “overrated” means “Banging someone hotter than what I come home too” or “makes more money than me, yet is a shittier player.” Naturally guys like Jeter, and now Swisher, are there. Joba Chamberlain I also feel is overrated, mainly because of what he is now and what he was two years ago and the way fans, and the organization, treat him. Alex Rodriguez? Well…I wish SI asked Joe Nathan for his opinion of him being here.

  • Mango

    Yeah, ARod sure looked overrated when he blew the notion he can’t get it done in the playoffs away last year.