The Week That Was in Baseball: October 12-18, 2009
How A-Rod Got His Groove Back • The Most Overrated Players in Baseball
Divorce McCourt: Frank v. Jamie • Rating the Gate: MLB attendance in 2009
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The Monkey Has Left the Building
The Dodger Divorce Docket
Mis-Touched by an Angel
The Wild Child
Dead End Street
LDS Fun Fact 1
LDS Fun Fact 2
Off and Gunning
Jonny the Robot
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More Credit Than They Deserve?
The whole Jeter controversy led us to wonder: Who are the most overrated players in the majors today? Absolving those whose careers have been derailed by recent injuries (and are thus unfairly tagged with the overrated stigma), following are ten players, listed alphabetically, who are far more deserving of the honor than Jeter, who, whether you love him or not, willand shouldbe a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
A.J. Burnett. The Yankees paid All-Star money for a guy who might not even be the number two starter in the rotation on some major league clubs. Burnett is a career .500 pitcher, and even when he broke out and won 18 games in 2008, he did so with an unimpressive 4.07 ERA.
Pat Burrell. Never mind the awful numbers he put up this year at Tampa Bay; Burrell was always a frustrating one to root for in his better years at Philadelphia, struggling to hit .250 and not playing the greatest of defense.
Joe Crede. People keep expecting this guy to “return” to 2006 form, when he hit .283 with 30 homers and 94 RBIs for the Chicago White Sox; the fact is, that year was the exception to the rule of his career in general, which has been saddled with subpar averages (further dragged down by a lack of walks) and okay power. Crede is what he is, and he’s not that exceptional.
Adam Dunn. Despite the constant and prodigious production of home runs and walks, Dunn is not a franchise player. He’s Dave Kingman cloned; poor averages, many strikeouts and lousy defense.
Matt Holliday. Some players have all the luck in the world. What any major leaguer would kill for to have a chance to either hit a mile high in Denver or bat behind Albert Pujols. Holliday’s done both. But his short stint in Oakland proves that, when naked in the lineup, he’s a solid playerbut not great.
Nick Johnson. Here’s a guy who wishes he could be a player like Burrell or Dunn above. Many still have the perception that he is. Johnson adds up walks like there’s no tomorrow, but his power potential is frustratingly still trying to kick into gear.
Daisuke Matsuzaka. Even when he put up good-looking numbers in 2008an 18-3 record and 2.90 ERAhe still averaged less than six innings per start thanks to a preponderance of walks and high pitch counts, and that doesn’t win you many friends in the bullpen. Beyond that, he hasn’t shown OMG stuff and continues to struggle with control. The ace that would be, to this point, has not.
Freddy Sanchez. Sure, the defensively sound second baseman hits for a high average (and won a batting title in 2006), but much the way Bill Madlock used to; with little power, few walks and without the triple-digit threat of either runs or RBIs.
Vernon Wells. We’re not tying Wells’ inclusion on this list to the generous contract Toronto gave him; he keeps underachieving while relative nobodies like Adam Lind and Aaron Hill punch out big-time numbers alongside him.
Kerry Wood. The Cleveland closer will always have his 20 strikeouts on May 6, 1998. The game that put him on the national map may actually be his curse in life; he has never lived up to the greatness expected of him, even as many around baseball continue to believe he can.
Down With the Count
Commissioner Bud Selig’s kneejerk response in public to the decline was to point out that the two New York teams opened play this season in new ballparks with much smaller capacities than their previous locations, which is truebut less supply did not translate to higher demand, as the Yankees and Mets had trouble selling out their new ballparks on a daily basis (the Yankees filled up their pricey new joint just seven times during the season; unbelievably, 3,000 tickets for Game One of the ALCS went unsold).Of MLB’s 30 teams, only nine saw increased attendance, and most of those increases were marginal; the 10% rise at the gate in Arlington for the Texas Rangers was the highest to be found anywhere. Of the 21 other teams that say decreased numbers, those with the most precipitous drops included the Mets (as expected with the smaller new ballpark), Detroit (even with a surprising performance on the field), San Diego, Toronto and Washington. Finally, this note: In 2009, 11 teams failed to sell two million ticketsup from seven in 2008.