Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
The Most Overrated Ballplayers Since 1990

The Deadspin’s Most Overrated NBA Players of the Past 30 Years was a team effort, then we had Chris Baud, Sam Fels and Jesse Spector do the NHL version in a roundtable format, because no one else would admit to watching hockey.

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For baseball, we did a combination of the two, with the staff picking overrated MLB stars of the past 30 years, and then a subcommittee of Baud and Spector picked the team. Then we let other people chime in. The best part of this series is Ed Murawinski’s memorable artwork and the graphics done by The Onion production team.

CHRIS BAUD: OK let’s talk about overrated players in baseball, 1990 to present. The staff has submitted lineups and we get to choose the most overrated!

JESSE SPECTOR: I’m part of the staff! So, let’s just go with my list. There, that was easy. Good chat.

CB: I was thinking something more collaborative ...

JS: Okay, fine, but I’d like to state for the record that my takes are unequivocally correct.

CB: This is my project, you’re just here cuz you’re smarter than me. The idea is we let everyone pick some players so it’s like a democracy. Everyone has a voice! But then I just get to choose whoever I want, because it’s a democracy in the way that America is a democracy.

CATCHER

CB: Let’s start with your choice at catcher though, Yadier Molina. I’m going to admit I don’t remember the difference between Molinas at this point due to senility and the destruction of many brain cells.

JS: Yadier is the active one, and the one actively campaigning already for the Hall of Fame.

CB: I feel like he’s just going to get in because he has that ESPN narrative going for him but I can’t say I support it.

JS: I think he’ll probably make it, too, which is a good measure of how overrated he is. The guy has a career OPS+ of 98, only two seasons with 20 homers, and a lot of “leadership.”

CB: That’s a lot like Thurman Munson without the MVP. Or Elston Howard, who was a much much better hitter than Munson or Molina, and was held back for years due to racism.

JS: Munson is 12th among catchers in JAWS (Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score). Yadi is 24th. There are 16 catchers in the Hall. Molina absolutely does not belong, but he’s been hyped as the heart of those Cardinals teams since Pujols left, which is true, and he’s the best defensive catcher of the era, but he’s still not Hall of Fame material.

CB: I’m sold. How about Jorge Posada as overrated and/or HOF?

JS: Posada is 18th in JAWS... and got bumped off the ballot in his first year.

CB: He’s a HOF-worthy hitter I think but I have issues with his defense.

JS: Honestly, I think Posada is underrated because of all the crap he took for his defense. That was legitimate, but he was an elite offensive catcher, just overshadowed in the same market by Mike Piazza. Piazza obviously deserved to go to Cooperstown. Posada maybe, maybe not, but definitely deserved better than 3.8 percent of the vote and a see-ya-later after one year.

CB: He’ll be a popular candidate for whatever version of the Veterans Committee exists in 12-20 years.

JS: I’m sorry, I’m still laughing at my open tab of “My numbers are obviously there” from Molina. The numbers are extremely not there, guy! Thinking about it more, if Posada and Pettitte had been on the Yankees 60 years ago, they’d have gotten in, and probably Bernie Williams too.

CB: I don’t think I actually support Munson for the Hall of Fame, but I’m down for putting in Howard or Bill Freehan, and those guys are just clearly better than Molina.

JS: Who else was on this catcher list for us?

CB: Piazza and Varitek. Piazza, pass. The greatest hitting catcher in history besides Josh Gibson.

JS: I get the idea of Piazza being overrated, but disagree — and agree with you. Varitek is a poor man’s Posada, but I don’t think he’s overrated if you leave New England. He did smack A-Rod. That was funny.

Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko
Photo: Getty

FIRST BASE

CB: Not much consensus here. I didn’t think of Paul Konerko as being overrated but he was your choice. Meanwhile, I picked Prince Fielder.

JS: This was one of the harder positions to choose. Konerko might be overrated to me because I watched too many games with Hawk Harrelson at the mike. He was really good, but it’s kind of mind-boggling that he was a six-time All-Star.

CB: We’ve seen most of the best 40 or 50 best first basemen of all time play in the past 30 years.

JS: Two seasons — two! — of 4 WAR or better.

That’s true.

CB: I picked Fielder because I think it’s laughable that any team thought he was worth a 9-year contract at age 29.

JS: Kind of a perfect storm of where he hit the market, and it didn’t work out. He was crazy good for a few years, though.

CB: A similar guy is Ryan Howard, who was very very good, but got a bad contract and ended up getting massively overpaid. And he probably got too much credit for helping the Phillies win, when Utley and Rollins and the pitching staff were the real heroes on those teams.

JS: I’m not going to fault anyone for getting their money, and dingers get dollars. He just wasn’t the same after the Achilles injury.

CB: It’s hard to argue against a 58-homer season but he won the MVP while only being 10th in WAR that year.

JS: But I think even Phillies fans would agree that Utley and Rollins drove those teams. Howard got his MVP for a huge homer year, and you can argue that Pujols should’ve gotten it.

It’s not the most outrageous MVP of all time, but it is a mark in the overrated column.

CB: Right. Pujols was actually Lou Gehrig-, Hank Aaron-good with the Cardinals.

JS: But I will say, I saw Howard play for the Batavia Muckdogs the year he was drafted, and it was pretty clear then he was going to be a big deal. He also was blocked by Thome, which held down his career numbers because he made the majors later than he should’ve.

Is Fielder overrated because the baseball internet loves chubby dudes?

CB: Maybe! I’ll mention that Bagwell and Thome were also submitted as overrated, and I’ll dismiss those choices because those guys were that good.

JS: But (Fielder’s) also a six-time All-Star and his peak seasons were better than Konerko’s.

Bagwell might have been underrated, honestly. His offensive numbers early were held down by the Astrodome, and he could run, which is uncommon for a first baseman.

CB: Thome is hitting for the same or more power as Fielder and Howard, and he’s an on-base machine. Bagwell is a markedly better hitter (than Fielder or Howard), defensive player and runner. His strike-interrupted 1994 season is Jimmie Foxx at his peak, with speed.

JS: Yup. It’s crazy that he didn’t get into the Hall faster.

Between Konerko, Fielder, and Howard, I think it’s clear that Konerko is the worst (still very good) player, but is he the most overrated?

SECOND BASE

CB: OK at second base we can go through quickly because I’m going to let Sam talk about D.J. LeMahieu.

JS: The fuck?

CB I think I want to go with Howard, who actually won an MVP.

Rude!

JS If you want to call it based on a questionable MVP, I can get down with that.

I mean, “the fuck,” as in “the fuck D.J. LeMahieu is overrated?”

Because, yeah, he got talked about a little as an MVP candidate last year, and that was silly, but it’s always silly when people talk about MVP candidates in a world where Mike Trout is Mike Trout. But he was unquestionably the most important player on a Yankees team that had everybody else get hurt and still walked in the AL East.

CB: I get that it’s boring to just give Mike Trout the MVP every year.

JS: Or is he overrated because he won a batting title with the Rockies? Again, I say, “the fuck?” because I think we got a pretty damn good idea last year that he’s not just a product of Coors Field.

Yeah, I think it’s healthy enough to have those conversations because there’s always a chance Trout could retire in August to chase hurricanes, and then it would be weird to give him the MVP. Gotta have a backup.

CB: I talked to Mark Gubicza about this, and I hadn’t thought of it because Trout will get into the HOF regardless of this season, but it’s definitely a shame to lose a full season of prime Mike Trout.

JS: Sam’s just mad that the Cubs traded LeMahieu for Ian Stewart, and if he says otherwise, he’s lying.

SAM FELS: Denial has always been a strong part of my game, Jesse. But LeMahieu’s offensive charm, the two seasons of it where he’s actually been above average, are just fiendish BABIP treachery. One season was thanks to being in Coors, and last year was being able to gently push a ball down the right field line 270 feet and get a homer out of it like you would push a toddler into a pool, thanks to Yankee Stadium. Had he done this in Cincinnati, no one would care. More New York exceptionalism. And now cue Spector whining about New York exceptionalism being impugned in 3...2...1...

CB: I’m going to make the executive decision to declare Craig Biggio not overrated.

Talk about Brandon Phillips some?

JS: Brandon Phillips had exactly one (1) legitimately good offensive season. Very solid defender, but there are plenty of those. He got hyped as a big offensive threat because he drove in a bunch of runs, while Joey Votto, the guy who was getting on base ahead of him, got slagged for not driving in enough. Phillips also is a cool guy, and understood early how to effectively use social media, something baseball still struggles with. I like him a lot, but he’s not nearly the player he was made out to be.

CB: I have a soft spot for guys who are that cool. Him and Jimmy Rollins could have been the coolest DP combo ever.

JS: Sure! But cool guys get overrated pretty often, because we want them to be better than they are.

CB: I will make this comment about Biggio: Bill James called him the best player in baseball at his peak, which I don’t think was true and I’m not sure Bill still supports that. So that’s an argument for him being overrated, but no one else was pushing that narrative, and so I think he’s arguably underrated.

JS: Craig Biggio played at the same time as Barry Bonds, yes?

CB: He had this year where he hit .309 with 22 homers and 47 steals, which is great enough. But then you get into oddball stats like he hit into 0 double plays, and was hit by pitch 34 times. That’s a lot of value outside normal stuff that people never look at.

Barry who?

JS: Bonds. Bobby’s son.

CB: Bonds could definitely play some baseball.

JS: Yup.

CB: I don’t think either of us want to re-litigate the steroid era at this point. I have Bonds as the best player in the history of the game and I doubt I’ll ever see someone better.

JS: I’d like to re-litigate the steroid era by saying, DID YOU SEE THAT GODDAMN DINGER?

Give everyone steroids if that’s what they do. Shit.

SHORTSTOP

(Here, we let two New York media guys complain about guys who were hyped by New York media guys. And Dustin Foote, who wishes he was around in the Derek Jeter era to lavish more praise on him.)

ERIC BARROW: I’ll get this started. Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer, not going to knock that. But in an era where shortstops added power to their games (Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra, to name just two), somehow Jeter’s ability to line singles between first and second was regarded the same. His “intangibles” can not begin to relate to A-Rod’s “tangibles”

And, let’s be honest, had he played his entire career in San Diego and not the bright lights of New York, would he be as revered as he is? No.

DUSTIN FOOTE: We don’t need hypotheticals for this debate. Jeter did play under the bright lights for 2 decades and won. A lot. In pressure situations he came through in the clutch. see 2001 — “The Flip” and “Mr. November,” 2004, “the Dive” 2009 — becoming the Yankees all-time leader in hits. He was not a slugger, but he was a steady hand when it mattered most.

EB: Jeremy Giambi was safe.

And when I think of the greats of all time, you know one word that never pops into my head? Steady. He was a team guy, right? The Captain? Then why didn’t HE move to third when a better shortstop arrived in A-Rod? And why, during the tail-end of his career, when he was becoming an automatic out, did he not ask to move out of the 2-hole? And slide down to say the 8-spot where his numbers belonged?

Even his persona is overrated. His final year he hit .256 batting in the 2-hole, and occasionally leadoff.

DF: Dez Bryant caught the ball vs. the Packers. We can play selective if you would like. I know it’s easy to remember the last thing you saw. Jeter may have retired too late, I’ll give you that. But you’re forgetting the entire body of work. 14 All Stars, 5 Gold Gloves, 5 World Series Championships as a shortstop and, yes, as a captain. When A-Rod arrived, Jeter was having a GG winning season. The Yankees were also in the midst of a 100 game season? Why shake up what’s working?

JIM RICH: Jeter was never the best shortstop in baseball. He was never the best shortstop in the AL. And, once A-Rod joined the Yankees, he wasn’t even the best shortstop on his team. He also was never the best player on his team. A-Rod held that distinction nearly the entire time he was a Yankee. Before that, at any given time players such as Alfonso Soriano, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez put up better numbers than he did. And, yes, Giambi was safe. If there had been replay review then, half of Jeter’s lore wouldn’t have ever existed.

By the way, this isn’t to say Jeter wasn’t a really good player. It’s just that, because he was on incredibly dominant teams that were stacked with incredible talent, and they won lots of titles, Jeter was given this exalted status by the N.Y. media. Mostly because Jeter said all the right things about the right topics. But that doesn’t change the fact that he was far from a dominant player. He scored lots of runs and got lots of hits while batting leadoff in what was usually an incredibly deep lineup. Pitchers rarely pitched around Jeter to get to someone else in those Yankees lineups.

DF: If someone is not the best on their team that does not make them overrated. He played with All-Stars his entire career! Both of you admit Jeter has HOF talent and was a “really good player.” What am I missing here? You don’t like the attention he got in N.Y.? Let the awards and stats speak for themselves.

EB: Does not mean he was not overrated. One Yankee fan friend I know wouldn’t have traded him for Albert Pujols when he was in his prime. If that’s not a sign someone might be overrated, I don’t know what is.

David Wright
David Wright
Photo: Getty

THIRD BASE

EB: OK…now what about another New Yorker, David Wright.

It’s my belief that pretty much every N.Y. player gets overrated to a large degree. He had just one season as a legit MVP candidate, including the years he was healthy. Also believe that 3B was such a wasteland for the Mets for decades, that finally finding a solution, elevated him even greater. Had just two 30-plus HR seasons.

DF: Talk about a N.Y. ballplayer that did not live up to the hype...

EB: Early in his Mets career, when he had big bats around him in Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, he was a dangerous bat. But when those guys were gone, and he was the center of that Mets team, the franchise plummeted. And he complained about Citi Field. That’s something no great player would ever admit.

JR: I feel much less strongly about Wright being overrated. To the extent that he was, I actually blame Jeter. Or at least Jeter’s presence in the same town, at the same time. The N.Y. writers wanted Wright to be the Mets’ version of Jeter, so they bestowed upon Wright the same lavish, distorted praise. With that said, it never felt quite as odious to me as it did with Jeter, except when it came to how Wright was portrayed compared to his star teammates. Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Beltran were as, if not more, important and productive than Wright, but never were viewed as the “heart and soul” of those Aughts Mets teams. That title was almost solely reserved for Wright. And his performance just didn’t warrant that.

DF: Yes, Jim. Jeter and the Yankees set the bar pretty high for Wright. As Eric mentioned, Wright never could never carry a bad Mets team but was labeled as their captain/savior. Fair or unfair, the talent did not match the hype.

LEFT FIELD

CB: OK, Bonds not overrated. Who do you have for most overrated left fielder?

JS I have Justin Upton. I’m here for the Bo Jackson voters, though. I get it.

I love Bo and he was a phenomenon, and maybe he would’ve wound up being an astoundingly great baseball player in his late 20s, but the total of his baseball career is more hype than performance, with the highlight reel making a legend that doesn’t quite live up to the stats.

Or that the stats don’t live up to.

Put it another way: There are probably about as many memorable Bo highlights as a baseball player as there are as a football player, but he was a way better football player.

CB: I wrote a story about the legend of Bo Jackson and I’m a big fan. But yeah, I view him as a mythical being who hung out as a baseball player for a few years and gave us a glimpse of his ridiculous talent. I’d take Bo at running back for a single game at his peak over anyone.

JS: He could do amazing things as a baseball player, for sure. But he never really got to have a prime. I hate to say it, but for a single game at running back, I think I’d take Emmitt Smith. He wouldn’t give you the highlights, but you’d win the game.

CB: The thing about baseball, and I think we saw that with Michael Jordan, is that it takes more than raw athletic talent. Controlling the strike zone is more or less a learned skill I think, and focusing on football in your developing years doesn’t help.

JS: I’m curious what Jordan could have been as a baseball player, and I don’t mean if he’d stuck with it in the ‘90s, but if he’d just played all along.

Also, the Knicks might have a couple of titles... sigh. Yeah, Bo did strike out a ton, before everybody struck out a ton.

CENTER FIELD

JS: I looked at our list for center field, and I think Sam and I are on the same page with Jim Edmonds and Kevin Kiermaier, although I think Edmonds’ bat was better than Sam’s giving him credit for.

CB: I’ll represent the Johnny Damon voters here. Terrific player, but it seemed like he was a bigger cultural phenomenon than his ability warranted.

JS: Edmonds is good enough that JAWS has him as the 15th-best center fielder of all time... yet he only got one year on the Hall ballot.

CB: I like Edmonds, I think he’s a reasonable HOFer. He’s in the category of guys like Larry Doby, Reggie Smith, Bernie Williams, Fred Lynn, and he was a better defensive outfielder than them.

JS: I mean, I waited in a line around the block in New York to have Damon, then with the Red Sox, sign a copy of his book.

CB: Earl Averill is with the Doby group, too. The Larry Doby family of center fielders are guys who aren’t quite Willie Mays types (that would be DiMaggio, Mantle, Mays, Griffey, Trout)

JS: And my girlfriend, now my wife, went as Damon for Halloween. I went as John Olerud.

So, yeah, he was a cultural phenomenon. And a godawful defensive player, especially given his speed.

CB: Who had a worse arm? Damon or Lenny Dykstra?

JS: Yeah, the all-time greats are all-time greats for a reason. Edmonds is just below that level.

Oof. I think Damon.

Larry Walker
Larry Walker
Photo: Getty

RIGHT FIELD

CB: OK. For right fielders people seem to have gone for Larry Walker and Matt Kemp. Also some votes for Bryce Harper although he was listed as a left fielder.

JS: The old Alex Ovechkin trick? There was the year Ovi was all-NHL on one wing and second team all-NHL on the other. I had Trot Nixon, and have clearly been outvoted.

CB: No one knows who the fuck Trot Nixon is.

JS: Kemp has mostly been a center fielder, though he moved to right in later years when he started to fall off. Who’s saying Larry Walker is overrated, though? He got into the Hall this year, his last chance on the ballot, and he was awesome. Because he played for the Rockies? He was just as awesome on the Expos, and honestly, his defensive play for Colorado is all the more impressive given how big that outfield is.

CB: Matt Kemp dated Rihanna for a year, what a baller.

I think people are overrating the Coors effect for Walker. Hell of a player.

JS: His numbers might have been a tick lower elsewhere. But he raked on the road, too.

CB: For his career, Walker homered once every 15.9 at-bats at home, 1 in every 24 at-bats on the road. That’s significant, but it’s less than 3 HRs a year. He hit 70 points higher at home, but overall he’s a .278/.379/.495 road hitter. That compares well to Reggie Jackson (.262/.356/.490), though a different era, shorter career. Add on 7 Gold Gloves, he’s a Hall of Famer.

JS: As a former Rockies Magazine columnist, I can tell you he was legit. Seriously, though, it would’ve been nuts if he hadn’t gotten into the Hall.

CB: Walker is the modern version of Chuck Klein. They had similar skills. Klein put up huge numbers in the Baker Bowl, which was the Coors Field of the 1930s. Overall, Walker’s a better player.

Is Bryce Harper overrated?

JS:

And Tony Fernandez could run.

Harper is overrated by his fans, underrated by his critics.

CB: Harper has one inner-circle HOF year where he won the MVP. Outside of that he’s been roughly Reggie Jackson. He was super hyped as a kid, and I think people hold it against him that he didn’t turn out to be Mike Trout.

JS: He alternates good and bad years? It’s weird. The old Bret Saberhagen effect.

CB: I might just overrule the field and go with Juan Gonzalez at this position.

JS: I’m fine with him being our overrated right fielder. Harper, I mean.

But let’s hear it on Gonzalez.

CB: Juan Gone is the classic overrated player: Great power hitter in a hitter’s park, an RBI guy who didn’t put up huge OBPs. Not much defensive value. Won two MVPs which were just terrible votes.

JS: Five 40-homer seasons is still a lot.

CB: In the AL in the 1990s he’s just another guy practically. He was never as good as Manny Ramirez IMO.

JS: Also, is he overrated now? Because I don’t disagree that he was at the time.

CB: He won an MVP when Pedro was Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax all rolled up in one.

JS: And his MVPs weren’t his best seasons. His best season was 1993, when John Olerud should’ve won and Frank Thomas did.

CB: I’ll go with Harper for the younger crowd and reserve my veto power at the pitcher position. Take it away, DeArbea!

DeARBEA WALKER: I could just start with the year after he leaves the Washington Nationals they magically win the World Series. Harper finished the 2019 season with a batting line of .260/.372/.510 with 35 home runs, which is definitely not worth 13 years 330 million dollars.

When you think about franchise guys that deserve that type of payday paired with the media frenzy he commands you’d think Harper was one of the top pitchers in the game. Harper is who you need if you’re looking to solely market a team, not if you’re looking to win championships.

RIGHTY STARTER

CB: I’m not sure I understand the “Adam Wainwright is overrated” argument.

JS: Yeah, I don’t think he’s overrated. I do think he looks like Edgar from “Deadliest Catch.”

CB: I’m just going to say we should go with Jack Morris here.

JS: I mean, he’s a guy who’s in the Hall of Fame who shouldn’t be. I don’t mind it anymore, and I’m happy for his fans to get to celebrate him, but yeah. Wainwright’s better, and he’s not going to the Hall.

CB: He has some 20-win seasons and big innings, but a lot of those seasons are the byproduct of enormous run support. Basically, he got in because he pitched one amazing World Series Game 7.

And it WAS amazing and maybe the greatest high-leverage performance of all time. But there are at least 20 guys I would take over him who no one wants in the Hall of Fame.

Some of them are direct contemporaries: Orel Hershiser, Doc Gooden, Dave Stieb.

JS: Thank you for mentioning Dave Stieb.

CB: Dave Cone, Kevin Appier.

JS: Yup. Of those guys, I would say Gooden and Hershiser didn’t have sustained enough peaks for the Hall, but Stieb, Cone, Appier, absolutely. (Ron) Guidry better than Morris, too.

CB: Gooden and Hershiser have the distinction of being the “Absolute Best Pitcher In Baseball” for a couple years.

JS: And Dave Stewart.

CB: There’s a great story about Stewart getting help from Koufax by The Athletic, you should check it out.

JS: Yeah. He’s also not a Hall of Famer because of the early part of his career before that... but damn he was so good with the A’s.

CB: He has basically all the qualities Morris did. Durable, intimidating, pitched some big postseason games.

Larry Walker
Larry Walker
Photo: Getty

LEFTY STARTEER

JS: Well, the staff pick seems to be Pettitte, and I’ll go back to what I said before: if he pitched for earlier Yankees dynasty teams, he’d be in the Hall of Fame.

So, no, I don’t think he’s overrated.

CB: I’ll say this about Pettitte: I still think he probably gets in the Hall of Fame.

JS: Maybe! But he isn’t now. And I think him being borderline is appropriately rated.

CB: But I think there was this perception about him being this tremendous big-game pitcher. And I was at the N.Y. Daily News during this time, helping to make front pages and stuff, so I helped make him overrated. But everyone seemed to forget that he had plenty of mediocre postseason games too. His postseason record overall is fine: 19-11 3.81 ERA.

JS: That’s extremely good.

CB: But we’re not talking Bob Gibson here.

JS: Maybe not extremely.... but the ERA isn’t that high for the era.

He also was weirdly much better in the playoffs following Yankees losses. Like, if they lost Game 1 of a series and he came back in Game 2, they were winning that game.

But yeah, he got clobbered a few times.

My pick was Madison Bumgarner, who rightly has the postseason ace status, but that’s carried over into him being talked about as a real ace — also, he was always the guy matching up with Kershaw — but he’s not quite at that level and never has been.

CB: Mike Mussina has a 3.42 postseason ERA, and he was positively dominant with the Orioles in 1997. But his Yankee postseasons weren’t as good.

JS: When Pettitte got hit in the playoffs, he got HIT. 1996 and 2001 World Series really stand out without even looking.

CB: Should we acknowledge votes here for Glavine and Kershaw? Glavine is here because some Mets fans on staff are bitter at his post-Braves career I think.

Kershaw has been sort of the anti-Bumgarner.

JS: He absolutely has. He also suffered in the playoffs from being left in games by managers who (rightly) didn’t trust the Dodgers’ bullpen.

Do we have to note that Glavine played hockey?

CB: We’re Hockey Guys, so sure.

I saw someone on Twitter once ask if there’s a great pitcher of Kershaw’s caliber with as ordinary a postseason record. That’s not quite fair because guys like Bob Feller and Juan Marichal didn’t get to pitch in the postseason as often, but the answer is probably no.

Of course, there are probably less than a dozen pitchers in history as good as Kershaw, so it’s a small class.

JS: Yeah, he’s in the playoffs every year.

CB: It’s probably a John Elway thing, where he can’t win in the postseason until he does.

JS: And the question is if he’s a Hall of Famer or an inner-circle Hall of Famer.

CB: Elway/Oveckin/LeBron etc.

JS: But maybe he’ll never win!

CB: If the Dodger fans want to say Koufax was better because he was great in the World Series, I’ll grant that.

JS: Koufax also didn’t get to have a late part of his career. Just one more note on Kershaw: He does have the record of eight playoff games with five or more runs allowed. After him, it’s Glavine, Pettitte, and Tim Wakefield with seven each.

But Greg Maddux has six and nobody calls him overrated.

CB: Alright let’s wrap this up with closers. Sam and I are going with “every closer is overrated.” Thoughts?

JS: I’m sticking with Aroldis Chapman, a domestic abuser who also sucks.

CB: Fair point. Maybe you just hate Yankees!

JS: It’s because of that putz that D.J. LeMahieu is getting talked about as overrated instead of hitting a crazy homer in the ninth inning last year. Anyway...

Illustration for article titled The Most Overrated Ballplayers Since 1990

CB: Everyone sucks after Mariano.

JS: Who you also could argue is overrated because of the unanimous Hall of Fame vote, but really, also, no, he’s not.

CB: My argument about closers is that they just don’t have the impact other players do, which is objectively true. Also, for the most part I’m not a fan of overstating the value of postseason records. But I’ll make an exception to both of these things for Rivera. I realize that’s not groundbreaking material.

I’ll give a nod to Jim Rich’s pick of John Franco, because man, I never thought a lead was safe when he came in.

JS: But, to his credit, his entrance music was “Johnny B. Goode,” which also was like the sound system at Shea pleading with him.

CB: On that note we’re good!

JS: Hooray!

Been editing/writing sports for over 20 years, mainly in NYC and a stint in LA.

Managing editor. Former N.Y. Daily Newser. Former broke poker player.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

Have you ever looked at a dollar bill, man?

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