Showing posts with label j.d. drew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label j.d. drew. Show all posts

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stark's Top Ten Most Overrated

I really have a lot of work to do, but a friend of mine alerted me to a Jayson Stark article delineating who he thinks are the top 10 most overrated players in baseball. He thought the article was very well written. Obviously, I thought, Jayson Stark + opinion = sketchy. Sure enough, this is my study break

I by no means have a problem with everyone he listed, but a few of these are seriously awful.

First off, here's the definition of "overrated" according to Stark.

Overratedness -- like underratedness -- is all relative, remember. It's about perception. It's about illusion. It's about myths. It's about assumptions we tend to make about all kinds of players -- assumptions that sometimes turn out not to match up real well with a condition best described as "reality."

So the question I kept aspiring to answer as I wrote my book -- and as I wrote this companion column -- was this:

How does the perception of this player match up with the kind of player he really is (or was)?

Here we go.

No. 1 -- Barry Zito

Fine. He should be a #3 starter on a contender and is filthy rich now. I won't argue.

No. 2 -- J.D. Drew

It's like, when I clicked on the link, I thought, "please, please let J.D. Drew be on this list."

Nobody denies that Drew has massive talent oozing out of his eyebrows. You can tell because he entered this season as one of only 13 active players with a career slugging percentage over .500 and an on-base percentage over .390.

But now the bad news: Those other dozen players have made a combined 70 All-Star teams (and all have made at least two apiece). And Drew has made, well, zero.

I learn a lot from Jayson Stark. Mark Redman > J.D. Drew. Scott Podsednik > J.D. Drew.

If you're trying to make a case for a player being overrated, why are you citing his lack of All-Star game appearances? All-Star game appearances are evidence of a player being rated HIGHLY. If anything, this makes Drew underrated. That having been said, DONT EVER USE ALL-STAR GAMES AS EVIDENCE OF ANYTHING AGAIN. Travis Hafner and Francisco Liriano, the best hitter in the AL per plate appearance and pitcher per start last season, weren't on the All-Star team. And the game took place before either got hurt.

It sure is funny how all that talent has added up to just one 30-homer season, only one 100-RBI season, a .180 lifetime average in seven postseason series, no All-Star at-bats, nearly 400 games missed with a massive assortment of injuries and a $14 million a year paycheck. Let's just say this guy is realllly fortunate the Red Sox's great start has obscured his messy .169 average since April 21 -- because so far, the occupants of Fenway have been shockingly patient with him.

Speaking of patience, Drew has walked once in just over every 10 at bats. His batting average is bad, but he's still on-basing above the league median. When his bat gets luckier, the numbers will be more J.D. Drew-like. Poststeason series stats are ridiculously irrelevant. And oh, the paycheck thing. Let's do a comparison between someone that is not on this list and J.D. Drew

J.D. Drew: Career .303 EqA. Contract: 5 year/$70M
Carlos Lee: Career .275 EqA Contract: 6 year/$100M

Drew has especially been great in his recent career, posting EqA's of .335, .323 (limited time), and .305. He is a very good baseball player. I don't care what your batting average and All-Star games say.

No. 3 -- Andruw Jones

I'm not gonna argue. He's seen as a great defensive outfielder, and hasn't been above average by FRAA since 2003.

No. 4 -- Juan Pierre

Attaboy Starkie

No. 5 -- Bobby Abreu

Boy, do people love arguing about this fellow. Who can blame them?
The folks who only peruse Abreu's numbers don't just wonder what he's doing on this list. They wonder when he's getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. How multitalented is Bobby Abreu? Well, he does happen to be the only active player with a .300 career batting average, a .400 on-base percentage, 200 homers and 250 stolen bases. And his .909 career OPS tops the OPS of Sammy Sosa, Chase Utley, Derrek Lee and many, many, many other famed batsmiths out there.

Right. He's a great player.

But there sure are a lot of people who watched him in Philadelphia who think Abreu is the poster boy for an unquantifiable division of the All-Overrated Team -- players who mysteriously seem to be less than the sum of their spectacular numbers.

We'll put that subset of people living in that one American city into group A. The rest of the world (the sensibles, if you will) into group B.

When people battle me on this guy, I always sum it up this way: As great as Bobby Abreu can be, he lacks that all-important Derek Jeter gene. There is no voice in his head, screaming: "This ball has to be caught." Or: "That runner on third has to be driven in." In Philadelphia, where he was the centerpiece of the franchise, that one flaw showed up way too glaringly. Now, in New York, as the Yankees flounder, they're getting aggravated over the same stuff. Funny how that happens.

Look Stark, I don't know what to tell you. The Derek Jeter gene is recessive. Both of Abreu's parents were carriers, but Bobby just got unlucky.....or did he?

At the age of 7, Abreu showed tremendous talent. He would beat all the other kids in dodgeball. He would dive all over the place playing kickball. No one, and I mean NO ONE, could attack the monkey bars with as much intensity as this kid, boy lemme tell ya. And he had this mysterious gleam in his eye that made him look fierce, yet calm. One day, his parents asked him how he was able to perform so well. Bobby told them that there were voices in his head screaming at him to do his best at everything. His parents had heard enough. It was off to the child psychiatrist. After about a half year, the voices dissapeared and the gleam in his eye was gone. And that's the sad tale of how Abreu lost the phenotype of the Derek Jeter gene.

To all sportswriters who wonder why there are blogs making fun of the things you say, re-read what Stark just wrote. It enrages people who would love to have your jobs when you invent intangibles that make writing easy and devoid of any cogent analysis.

No. 6 -- Brian Giles

Remember back when Giles was a perennial 37-homer, 100-RBI, .600-slugging walk machine in Pittsburgh? What happened to that Brian Giles?
That one-time .600 slugging percentage didn't even make it to .400 last season -- and has submerged below .350 in 2007. And that quick, 37-homer bat mostly ropes balls the other way now -- leaving us with a guy who has as many homers this year as Kip Wells (one).

Not to suggest that Brian Giles isn't still a really useful player. Still cranks out tough at-bats and walks 100 times. Still gaps 35-40 doubles a year. But there's a difference between a star player and a useful player. And it's a difference that can propel a guy right onto an overrated list just like this one.

Based on the way you defined overratedness, there's really no major issue here. I would argue that not many people think he's a star player, though. and that most would agree that he is a very useful guy with power who gets on base. Based on the way you're arguing things, you could say anyone aging is overrated, just because they aren't as good as they were before. Giles is 36. He's past his prime. He's inevitably going to get worse.

No. 7 -- Alfonso Soriano

I kinda agree, just beacuse a guy as talented as Soriano should get on base more.

No. 8 -- Richie Sexson

Sexson and Adam Dunn fit into a category of overratedness I figured I'd better get to in this column someplace: Guys We Love Because They Can Pulverize A Baseball About 900 Feet.

I have no problem with the Richie Sexson argument. I have major issues with people saying that Adam Dunn is overrated. He consistently puts up 40 HR seasons while getting on base a lot. Just because of Dunn's low batting averages, he has become one of the most underrated players in the game.

No. 9 -- Bob Wickman

A little bit. I think people slam him too much, but a little bit. The 3.57 career ERA. He's underrated because

No. 10 -- Jeff Suppan


Again, why is Carlos Lee not on this list?