Labeling anything as overrated has a negative connotation. In sports, in this case baseball, it can’t possibly be good, can it?
Baseball players tend to be rated from an early age. Coaches put you into a lineup based on how you rate and move you to a position where they believe you will be most effective. There are also plenty of statistics where we can compare how you rate to others.
Then when players hit college, they are rated in the draft by MLB teams selecting them in a certain spot. Rating baseball players is necessary and unfortunately some of them become overrated, even when they are good players.
Calling someone overrated always means at least someone out there likes them. On this list you will find plenty of All-Stars. You will also find guys who have earned MVP consideration or have come within striking distance of a Cy Young Award. Some are overrated because many placed their expectations too high. Others are overrated because scouts see something we don’t, then insist it’s only a matter of time before they turn it around. Then there are those players who are overrated because they don’t live up to their contracts.
Every team in the MLB has overrated players. Some have more than others and there are teams where it was tougher to find a guy who is more valued than the truth. We did our best to remain fair. For the playerswe believe have the opportunity to improve, we made sure to at least acknowledge their potential.
There are far worse things to be called than overrated. So to the thirty men, one on each team, who made our list, just remember you’re only overrated because someone else loves you more than we do.
30 Arizona Diamondbacks: A.J. Pollock
Let’s begin with a guy who is a great player, yet is worthy of being called overrated. Outfielder A.J. Pollock was the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first pick in the 2009 draft and it wasn’t until 2014 where we saw him really break out. He was even better in 2015 and he will likely continue to produce on the field. His overrated label comes with the fact that he hasn’t done it for long enough. By next year, it's entirely possible we will eat our words and we'll bet Diamondbacks hope that's the case. Casual fans may not know much about Pollock, but many die-hard baseball fans think far too highly of a guy who need to remain consistent for another couple of years before being called elite.
29 Atlanta Braves: Julio Teheran
Made up of mostly mediocre players, not too many players on the Atlanta Braves' roster are rated highly. One player many people believe in is pitcher Julio Teheran, though he hasn't done enough to prove he is an ace. Teheran had a good rookie season in 2013 going 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA. He was an All-Star the following year, going 14-13 with a 2.89 ERA. The 2015 season, however, set him back, as it did the entire franchise. Teheran was 11-8 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He has time to turn it around, but, as of right now, he's nothing more than a solid starter.
28 Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman
The saddest thing about the Baltimore Orioles right now might be that Chris Tillman is considered their number one starter. A very solid pitcher in 2013 and 2014, he was simply terrible in 2015. Tillman went 11-11 behind a strong offense and posted a 4.99 ERA. He can definitely bounce back next year, but if he remains the number one starter in Baltimore, they're in huge trouble. Tillman is more of a number two in a good year. Already having pitched seven years in the big leagues, Tillman has a career 4.20 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, and an unimpressive 6.7 strikeouts per 9 ratio.
27 Boston Red Sox: Pablo Sandoval
After last year, many fans probably realized how overrated Pablo Sandoval was. In his first year with the Boston Red Sox, he slashed just .245/.292/.366 and all of these were new career lows. Sandoval has never been a particularly great player, either, never knocking in 100 runs in a year. Slow-footed and not a great defensive player, Sandoval is a third baseman who should be ranked in the middle of the pack and not near the top, except when it comes to nicknames. Even the biggest Sandoval haters have to admit Kung Fu Panda is a great nickname.
26 Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester
Jon Lester was a coveted free agent pitcher in the winter of 2014-2015 and was paid big bucks by the Chicago Cubs. As a lefty starter, he was valued a little higher than he probably should've have been. Lester is deservedly paid well, but he is not the elite pitcher many make him out to be. Lester has only been selected to three All-Star Games and received Cy Young Award considered twice: finishing fourth both times. He has a career ERA of 3.55 and has never been a league leader in any major category. Lester was only 11-12 in 2015 for a team that won over 90 games. How does a great pitcher manage that?
25 Chicago White Sox: Melky Cabrera
Even during his early days with the New York Yankees, Melky Cabrera wasn’t a particularly strong outfielder. Perhaps because of his unique name, people have clung to the idea that he's better than he actually is. Cabrera is a doubles hitter who does a good job of getting on base and making contact. On an already strong team, he is a useful piece. However, with the Chicago White Sox, we see his flaws a little clearer. When he has to take on a larger role, Cabrera comes up short. His past steroid use is also a gray cloud hanging over him and could be a reason why his numbers have been slightly down in the past few seasons.
24 Cincinnati Reds: Todd Frazier
We love Todd Frazier as much as the next New Jersey native, but he is definitely a more one-dimensional player than we are willing to admit. Frazier had a great 2015 season, hitting 35 home runs and driving in 89. However, his second half was pretty weak after he won the Home Run Derby in triumphant fashion in front of the Cincinnati Reds’ faithful. Home runs turned into doubles and his average dropped. Frazier would finish the year with a slash line of .255/.309/.498 which obviously only looks nice when you get to the slugging percentage. His inability to poke the occasional single through is his main weakness right now. Almost 30 years old, it’s hard to imagine Frazier will develop into anything else.
23 Cleveland Indians: Carlos Carrasco
The Cleveland Indians’ front office loves Carlos Carrasco and we're not sure why. He was 28-years-old in 2015, which happened to be the first year in his career where he managed to win double-digits. Carrasco has developed into a nice arm who can rack up strikeouts. However, with no All-Star appearances at his age and with only one year where he successful started over 20 games, we're not quite sure why he's looked at in such high esteem.
22 Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez
At this point in his career, is Carlos Gonzalez really valued anymore? Well, after hitting a career high 40 home runs in 2015, we'd like to believe he’s back in the minds of many. Gonzalez was at one point a really good outfielder who unfortunately suffered from injuries. His numbers were certainly inflated by playing half of his games at Coors Field, but we won’t hold that against him. Instead, it’s the fall off in stolen bases and drop in batting average that have us calling the current Cargo an overrated player. Even if his home run production continues, he’s still not playing at the level he was in 2010.
21 Detroit Tigers: Victor Martinez
Victor Martinez put together a monster 2014 campaign for the Detroit Tigers, helping him finish second in the AL MVP voting. This earned him a ridiculous contract the following year. Detroit apparently didn’t take into account how many shortcomings Martinez already had. Essentially a DH-exclusive player, V-Mart is handicapped by his inability to play the field. He is practically a walking injury waiting to happen and his poor performance in 2015 is pretty close to what we should expect for the future, instead of the near MVP seasons he had in his younger days.
20 Houston Astros: Evan Gattis
We hate to take away what Evan Gattis brings to the Houston Astros. He’s a great player for them, but if you look over his career slash line. you will see that he is a limited power hitter with a poor eye. Last season, Gattis hit a career high 27 home runs, but his slash line was worse than the year before, going .246/.285/.463. For his career, he’s just .250/.296/.476. Gattis also lacks gap power, knocking in only 20 doubles last year. He did, amazingly, have 11 triples, which might be the strangest statistic you will see from the 2015 season.
19 Kansas City Royals: Salvador Perez
It’s rather bold to call the reigning World Series MVP overrated, yet that’s exactly what Salvador Perez is. The Kansas City Royals’ catcher is a great fielder, but not a very good hitter. Perez has hit .260 over the last two seasons and had OBPs of .289 and .280. Drawing only 13 walks in all of 2015, Perez is not great at getting on base. If he could fix this one part of his game, we would gladly remove him this list. Until then, he’s a defensive-oriented player with occasional pop in his bat and great leadership abilities.
18 Los Angeles Angels: Garrett Richards
Starting pitcher Garrett Richards is still young enough to improve, but for now he ranks as the most overrated player on the Los Angeles Angels. A very strong 2014 season gave him the reputation as a really good pitcher, which he unfortunately could not carry into 2015. Richards has a career 3.65 ERA and, in the past two seasons, has led the league in wild pitches. Richards is simply too wild, without the strikeouts to justify all of the running he makes his catchers do. At the moment, Richards isn’t the number one starter the Angels thought they may have had.
17 Los Angeles Dodgers: Yasiel Puig
Where do you rank Yasiel Puig? Most still think he's a top outfielder even if he has fallen off from his great debut. Not yet a bust, Puig’s numbers have declined each season since 2013. After hitting 19 home runs in 432 plate appearances in 2013, Puig had just 16 in 2014 in 640 plate appearances. His playing time was reduced to just 79 games in 2015. mostly due to injury and occasionally because the Los Angeles Dodgers had other, better options available in their outfield. His hot rookie season will always make him overvalued and his poor performance over the last two seasons only justifies that.
16 Miami Marlins: Marcell Ozuna
Marcell Ozuna is one of baseball’s top young outfielders. Currently a member of the Miami Marlins, happily not in Triple-A, Ozuna is a bit overrated considering what he has offered the big league team thus far. He’s slashing only .265/.311/.416 through his first 346 games and appears to be a guy who will strike out often without contributing an incredible amount of power. Certainly someone to watch develop, Ozuna is currently overvalued based on what he has done so far. It could change, and hopefully will, once he lands on a team that actually respects his ability.
15 Milwaukee Brewers: Jean Segura
Shortstop Jean Segura’s All-Star season in 2013 set expectations he has yet to match again. Segura hit 12 home runs and 10 triples that season. Over the past two years, he has 11 home runs and 11 triples combined. Maybe even worse, Segura stole 44 bases in 2013. Combined, he has 45 in 2014 and 2015. His OBP has also been below .290 the last two years and we're doubtful that we'll ever see Segura perform at the high level he did such a short time ago. Briefly seen as an offensively strong shortstop, Segura is not the cornerstone many believe he might be.
14 Minnesota Twins: Phil Hughes
Starting pitcher Phil Hughes had such a nice season with the Minnesota Twins in 2014 that they decided to resign him to a larger deal. So far, it looks like it was a mistake and, if previous numbers were looked at, they would have seen how much they were overvaluing him. Hughes has only one year where he worked exclusively as a starter and his ERA was below 4.00 (2014). Hughes allows a ton of home runs, he gave up a league leading 29 in 2015, and doesn’t strike out many batters. On a really good team, he’s a solid late-rotation guy. For the role the Twins have him in, he’s just not the guy. There is way too much pressure on Hughes.
13 New York Mets: Matt Harvey
We’ll probably get some flak for this one, but we do believe that Matt Harvey is overrated. There's no question that he's a really good pitcher. However, no season with 200 innings, a career high 13 wins, and no proof of dominance makes us wonder why he's so highly rated. Harvey is ace material for sure. He is not, however, the kind of pitcher we would classify in the top tier. It'll be very interesting to see how he does in a year where he receives 30 starts. In 2015, he set a new high with 29 of them. With only 65 career starts, Harvey is more of a mystery than anything else. Mets fans want to retire his number already, which is why he is overrated.
12 New York Yankees: Brett Gardner
A quality outfielder many teams would love to have, Brett Gardner is certainly overrated thanks to the New York City spotlight. A lifetime member of the New York Yankees, Gardner has changed into a different player over the last two seasons. He has traded in 40+ stolen base seasons for power, hitting more than half of his career home runs over the past two seasons. Gardner is only a career .264 hitter though, with batting averages of .256 and .259 over the last two years. For a guy with leadoff hitter abilities, Gardner strikes out too much and doesn't get on base like he used to. Valuable for sure, he just doesn’t have the impact his reputation says he does.
11 Oakland Athletics: Josh Reddick
It’s odd to see a player like Josh Reddick being overvalued by the Oakland Athletics. His career slash line of .251/.311/.435 leaves a lot to be desired. He’s completely unpredictable, hitting anywhere from 12-32 home runs and sometimes sacrificing power for average or vice versa. Never an All-Star, it’s strange that Oakland never traded him when it looked like more teams would have interest. Now regarded as a quality player by many people, he's beginning to look like less than that because of his lack of special qualities.
10 Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Liriano
Behind Gerrit Cole in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting rotation is Francisco Liriano. The Pirates are lucky as they have seen the best of Liriano, who in spite of his recent success still qualifies as overrated. A low 3.26 ERA over the last three seasons, Liriano has failed to log innings and gives up far too many walks. It’s tough to believe Liriano has suddenly figured it all out after several poor seasons before joining the Pirates. He’s a fine pitcher, but expectations for him must remain tamed if we want to rate him correctly.
9 Philadelphia Phillies: Odubel Herrera
Finding someone on the Philadelphia Phillies who is overrated is tough, considering the poor state of their roster. Rookie Odubel Herrera is our pick only because Phillies’ fans got a little too excited about what he did for them in 2015. Herrera has the chance to prove doubters wrong with a follow-up to last year. A lighter-hitting outfielder that fell just shy of hitting .300 in 2015, Herrera is only overrated because pessimistic fans have latched onto him a little too strongly. Back off a bit and he may end up as one of the biggest surprises in team history.
8 San Diego Padres: James Shields
James Shields has the nickname “Big Game James,” even though he tends to come up small when it matters most. He has a career 5.46 ERA in 11 postseason starts with only a 3-6 record. Shields is beloved because of his ability to pitch 200 innings every year, however, this has not always resulted in successful seasons for him. Only twice in his career has Shields received Cy Young consideration and 2011 was the only time he was an All-Star. His career 3.74 ERA is far from matching his reputation as a top pitcher, nor is the 3.91 ERA he posted for the San Diego Padres last season.
7 San Francisco Giants: Jeff Samardzija
The newest member of the San Francisco Giants is also their most overrated player. Pitcher Jeff Samardzija is frequently talked about as if he has been an ace for a decade now. The 31-year-old has actually only been an All-Star once and has a career 4.09 ERA through 131 starts. His 2015 season was a huge step backward, even if he did set a low career high with 11 wins. Samardzija is a workhorse pitcher that does have his value. He’s a right-handed Mark Buehrle with the potential to strikeout a few more batters, but nowhere near the ace he's being paid to be.
6 Seattle Mariners: Kyle Seager
There’s a lot to love about Seattle Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager and to toss the word overrated at him will probably get a few fans angry. However, if you compare him to some of the MLB’s other third baseman, he comes up short. Seager has never hit above .268 and has a career .328 OBP. His 162 game average of 23 home runs and 80 RBIs also falls well short of the type of player many people make him out to be. He's still young at 28-years-old, but so far we've gotten a player that, according to Baseball-Reference, has statistics that are similar to Tim Wallach.
5 St. Louis Cardinals: Lance Lynn
Lance Lynn will miss all of 2016, so it'll be a while before he can prove he doesn't belong on this list. Lynn has been a stable part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation for a few years now, capitalizing on winning games because of how good they have been behind him. As an individual though, Lynn walks too many batters and doesn’t have a spectacular strikeout ratio. He was only an All-Star once in 2012 and owns a career 3.37 ERA. His career 1.30 WHIP is mostly due to his poor pitch control, as he has a 162 game average of 71 walks per season.
4 Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria
Not to be confused with the Desperate Housewife with a similar name, Tampa Bay Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria has lost his All-Star caliber abilities over the last few seasons. After starting off his career on a high note, Longoria has slowed down dramatically. Over the last three seasons, he is slashing .264/.331/.446 with an average of 25 home runs and 84 RBIs per season. He's still one of the American League’s better third baseman, but he has since been passed by lots of new guys.
3 Texas Rangers: Derek Holland
Derek Holland returned to the Texas Rangers’ rotation late in 2015 with many thinking he could pick up where he left off in 2013. He was 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 2013 followed up with a very short 2014 season where he was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA. Holland did toss a shutout in one of his 10 starts last year, but also offered a 4.91 ERA. In fact, other than 2013 and 2014, he hasn’t been particularly deserving of a spot in the rotation. He has only a 4.28 ERA for his career and a 1.31 WHIP. Serving up 1.2 home runs per 9 innings in his career, pitching in Texas is going to continue to hurt him.
2 Toronto Blue Jays: Russell Martin
The Toronto Blue Jays must think Russell Martin is the greatest catcher of all-time with what they’re paying him. While he's a solid catcher, he's nowhere near as valuable as he's believed to be. Martin does get on base, as his career .352 OBP shows us. However, he is only hitting .257 for his career, which was mostly built up in the first three years of his career from 2006-2008. Martin did show some power and promise with the Blue Jays in 2015, but slumped far too much and likely benefited from playing on a terrific offensive squad.
1 Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg
Let’s end this list with as much controversy as we started it with. Stephen Strasburg is the most overrated player on the Washington Nationals. There, we said it and we'll continue to say it until he departs and joins a new team, in which case he will probably become that city’s most overrated MLB player. As the first overall pick in 2009, the hype was huge for Strasburg. Unfortunately he has a career 3.09 ERA and is a frequently on the DL. Strasburg was an All-Star once in 2012 and only received Cy Young consideration when he finished 9th in 2014. Still a very talented pitcher who deserves praise, he's simply not as good as many believe he is. With one complete game on his resume, Strasburg is overrated because we thought he would be much better.
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