Another one of those great "player polls" was published earlier this week by Sports Illustrated about who is the most over-rated player in the majors. Top 3...Jeter, Beltran, A-Rod. All play in NY, all have big contracts. Is it surprising? Jeter is a little surprising since it was a player poll, maybe the fans I could see it. The other two are not shocking, but still not necessarily deserving.
First off all, if I may be a bit philosophical, exactly what rating is this based on to which we are saying these players are over-rated? The obvious answer is salary. There are high expectations that come with their contracts. But if that's the case how come Bernie Williams was not considered over-rated last year when he made a boat load of money and produced hardly anything. The same can be said for a number of athletes who sign long term contracts which end when they are in their late 30's and no longer produce at the rate which warranted the contract. How about Grant Hill? Was he overrated? When he played he didn't earn a dime on the dollar of that contract. I am a huge Grant Hill fan and everyone knows it was injuries, but if we base over/under rating solely on money, then he was overrated?
A second reason, most pertinent to Jeter, is that people rate a player based on their power numbers. Jeter is not a power hitter, never pretended to be one and never will be. But what about the clutch hitting, the 200 hits and .300 average every season, the moving runners over and base running skills that go larely unnoticed but manufacture a mountain of critical runs. What about the defense? Jeter is much better than the ridiculous sabemetrician measurable fielding stats show, and both A-Rod and Beltran are gold glove caliber.
Personally, I think some of those power hitters that strikeout a bunch, can't play defense, and don't run are the real OVER-rated players. At this point, Barry Bonds fits into that category. What about Tejada? Great player, trmendous hitter, but are you going to tell me you take him over Jeter for your team? Come on, when did Jeter complain about contracts and request trades? Yeah, he was taken care of, but not until after A-ROd and Nomar's first contract. And can you remind me the last time Tejada got a big hit when it mattered? He did get a chance for a few consecutive years with Oakland, did he not?
This argument can clearly barrel on for quite some time, but one more question...what about pitchers? Has Josh Beckett proven to be as good as advertised yet? Well, I saw the 2003 World Series but he is hyped as one of the best and he still has yet to win 15 games in a season. Wood and Prior? No debating the arms and talent, but they are overrated given the production on the field. Closers as a whole, with the exception of Rivera, are way overhyped. They get 3 outs, 3 stinkin outs, mostly with 2 or 3 run cushions against what can often be an already beaten team. Even spot started straigt from Double-A can do that without a problem. Come on.
But I'll go toe to toe with anyone on this...prove to me that Jeter is overrated.