May 17, 2012: Jonathan Papelbon of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates his save and a Phillies victory over the Chicago Cubs. The Phillies beat the Cubs 8-7.
Last week, Sports Illustrated released its list of the most overrated players in baseball, as voted on by the players themselves. This is something that they've been doing for a few years now, and it's nothing if not good for a few shocked “Well, I never!” responses from readers.
This year is no different, as the list is composed mostly of players who we can all agree are perfectly rated by most fans and teams. That said, this year's list included four – count 'em – four Phillies players.
They are, as follows...
Jonathan Papelbon – 5
Cliff Lee – 11
Roy Halladay – 13
Cole Hamels - 15
Couple things. First, these polls always crack me up because it seems like the guys who were polled just think of a handful of the best players in the game and throw them on top of the list.
Second, what's the deal with four Phillies being on top of that list? Not only that, but four good Phillies? No one will ever accuse those guys of being slouches, but overrated? Not so sure about that.
First, Papelbon. It makes sense that he is the highest Phillie on the list, because he is a closer (a position that is, in and of itself, overrated) and he is making a good chunk of change. That said, overrated? He's one of the best relief pitchers in the game right now. Of course, he does have a personality that is particularly grating, so there's that. I mean, dude calls himself “Cinco Ocho.”
Second, Cliff Lee. I blame this on the bidding war that went on for Lee prior to 2011. He was the biggest free agent on the market, and all the talk of him taking less money to sign with the Phillies (he really didn't) probably rubbed a lot of guys the wrong way. Still, Cliff Lee has been really, really, really good since 2009. Overrated? Not so much.
Next, Roy Halladay. This one is just laughable, because really? Really? That's just jealousy, is what that is.
Lastly, Cole Hamels. He's one of the best young pitchers in the game, and will be a very, very rich man after this season when he hits free agency for the first time in his career. In his seven-year career, he has an ERA of 3.36, a World Series MVP, and 1,103 strikeouts. And he only appears to be getting better.
More than anything else, these polls are interesting, and that's about it. It's neat to see what the players think about each other when they are provided anonymity by a poll like this, for they will certainly not call so-and-so overrated with a camera and microphone in front of them.
Still, it's fairly laughable that, of all the Phillies to make the list, not one of them are actually overrated, at all. Had Ryan Howard or Hunter Pence been on that list, maybe they'd have something.
But really, just about every player on there is a fairly recognizable name, plays for a somewhat big market, or is getting paid a ton of money to under-perform. None of those things convey “overrated,” really. It just tells me that the players polled didn't want to think long enough to think of guys who are actually overrated, and instead said the first names that came into their head, because if there is one thing that Big Leaguers love to do, it's placate reporters who are putting together stupid lists lists like this.