The whole overrated/underrated game is always dicey because no one ever agrees on a rating baseline to begin with. Really, the underrated list tends to represent the most under-publicized and the overrated list tends to highlight the most overpaid.
Still, Sports Illustrated polls players on this stuff from time to time and, following up on Shin-Shoo Choo’s status as the most underrated player earlier this month, the magazine reveals that Alex Rodriguez is the most overrated. Right behind him is Joba Chamberlain, Derek Jeter, Jonathan Papelbon and Jayson Werth.
Last year Chamberlain “won” this award. I guess his sliding down the list means he’s better now! Or, wait, maybe it just means he’s more accurately-rated as sucking. Except, he doesn’t really suck in an absolute sense … Look, I told you that this was a dicey business, didn’t I?
All I ask is that when you start to argue about this in the comments, you at least define your terms, OK? Who rates them where and why are they overrated or not. If it’s just you saying someone sucks, well … OK, that’s probably no different than any other day. I’m just saying that it’s not all that illuminating.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: