Being underrated is a tricky business. The more underrated you become, the more people note how underrated you are, and thus the more people try to emphatically make your case for being better than people think and thus the quicker it is that you become overrated. Ask Ben Wallace how this works. Or the city of Portland, Oregon.
Or ask Shin-Soo Choo who, according to a poll of major leaguers conducted by Sports Illustrated, is the most underrated in all of baseball:
Most selected was Shin-Soo Choo (13%), followed by the Atlanta Braves’ Martin Prado (5%), the Texas Rangers’ DH Michael Young (4%), the Boston Red Sox’s 1B Adrian Gonzalez (4%) and the Washington Nationals’ 3B Ryan Zimmerman (3%).
Choo is a Boras client, of course, so expect to see this poll show up in his little prospectus when he hits free agency. I’m not sure how one goes about overselling underratedness, but I’m sure Boras will figure it out.
UPDATE: Well, this is bad timing.
On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”
Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.
Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.
Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.