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The 15 most overrated MLB players of all time and why they fell short of expectations
Some of the baseball players who get a lot of acclaim and attention in the MLB today are the most overrated players in the league. They regularly need to meet expectations, live up to the hype, and sometimes have an inflated sense of their achievements. When assessing which MLB players in the league are the most overrated, there are several things to consider.
Who is the most overrated baseball player? Being overrated does not necessarily imply that a player is not good. Some merely suffered from the misfortune of being unable to fulfill some of the worst baseball contracts ever. Others were overrated MLB prospects who fell short of their lofty expectations and failed to live up to the hype.
Many talented athletes, such as Jake Cronenworth, Cal Raleigh, Christian Walker, Ian Happ, and George Kirby, merited at least a cursory glance in the top 100 in 2023. Whatever the cause, this article ranks the top 15 MLB players of all time.
1. Derek Jeter
From 1995 through 2014, he played for the New York Yankees. He was a 14-time All-Star and received the Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger awards five times each. Jeter is recognised as one of the best shortstops in the sport's history and was an essential member of numerous championship-winning squads.
Although Jeter's statistics compared to other all-time greats may lead some to believe he is overrated, his reputation was mostly built via his leadership abilities throughout a long career. Jeter was a model professional, and his popularity with fans and teammates attests to his influence on the game. He is among the most overrated MLB players right now.
2. Mark McGwire
He played for the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals from 1986 to 2001. He was known for his incredible power hitting, and he set several records throughout his career, including the single-season home run record of 70 in 1998.
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However, McGwire's career has been tainted by his admitted use of PEDs, which he used during his career. This has led many to view his achievements with suspicion and has raised questions about whether his success was due to his natural abilities or using PEDs.
3. Barry Bonds
He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants from 1986 to 2007. He is regarded as one of the greatest players, with numerous awards and records, including seven National League MVP awards and an all-time home run record of 762.
However, like Mark McGwire, Bonds' career has been tainted by allegations of PED use. While he has never admitted to using PEDs, his connection to the BALCO scandal and his sudden increase in power hitting late in his career have led many to believe that his success was partly due to the use of these substances. Critics argue that his impressive statistics were due to his use of PEDs and less to his natural abilities. His personality and behaviour off the field detract from his legacy as a player.
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4. Roger Maris
He played for several teams, including the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals. He is best known for breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record of 60 in 1961, hitting 61.
While Maris' achievement was undoubtedly impressive, he is sometimes viewed as an overrated player because he had relatively modest career statistics compared to other all-time greats. He only hit 275 home runs in his career, and his lifetime batting average was .260.
5. Ryne Sandberg
He played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs from 1981 to 1997. He is regarded as one of the greatest second basemen of all time, with numerous awards and records, including 10 Gold Glove Awards, nine All-Star selections, and a National League MVP award in 1984.
While Sandberg's achievements on the field are undoubtedly impressive, some critics argue that he is an overrated player because his offensive statistics could have been more special than other all-time greats. He finished his career with 282 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .285, which are good but not outstanding numbers for a Hall of Fame player.
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6. Joe Carter
The former baseballer played for several teams, including the Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, and Baltimore Orioles. He is best known for hitting the walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, which gave the Toronto Blue Jays their second consecutive championship.
While Carter's achievement in the 1993 World Series is impressive, some critics argue that he is overrated because his overall career statistics could have been more special than other all-time greats. He finished his career with 396 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .259, which are good but not outstanding numbers for a Hall of Fame player.
7. Nomar Garciaparra
During his career, including the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a six-time All-Star, won two batting titles, and was a two-time Silver Slugger award winner.
While Garciaparra was excellent during his peak years, some critics argue that he is overrated due to his injury-prone career and lack of longevity. He had several seasons in which he missed significant time due to injuries, preventing him from compiling the impressive career statistics that many other all-time greats have.
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8. Don Mattingly
He played for the New York Yankees from 1982 to 1995. He was a six-time All-Star, winning nine Gold Glove Awards and the American League MVP award in 1985.
While Mattingly was a great player during his peak years, some critics argue that he needs to be more overrated due to his lack of playoff success and relatively short career. Despite playing for the Yankees during the 1980s and early 1990s, Mattingly only appeared in the postseason once, in 1995, and he never won a World Series title. This lack of success on the biggest stage has caused some to question his place among the all-time greats.
9. Kirby Puckett
He formerly played for the Minnesota Twins from 1984 to 1995. He was a ten-time All-Star, won six Gold Glove Awards, and won two World Series championships with the Twins in 1987 and 1991.
While Puckett was a great player, some critics argue that he is overrated due to his short career and clinching statistics in his final seasons. Puckett's career was cut short at age 35 due to glaucoma, preventing him from compiling the impressive career statistics that many other all-time greats have.
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10. Sandy Koufax
He played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955 to 1966. He was a six-time All-Star, winning three Cy Young Awards and the National League MVP award in 1963.
While Koufax is widely regarded as one of the best pitchers of all time, some critics argue that he is an overrated player due to his short career and lack of postseason success. Koufax's career was cut short at 30 due to chronic arm pain, preventing him from compiling the kind of impressive career statistics that many other all-time greats have.
11. Ken Griffey Jr.
He played Major League Baseball (MLB) for 22 seasons. He was born on November 21, 1969, in Donora, Pennsylvania, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport's history.
Griffey Jr. started his MLB career with the Seattle Mariners in 1989 and quickly became one of the most exciting players in the game. He was known for his incredible athleticism, exceptional fielding abilities, and powerful swing that produced numerous home runs. Griffey Jr. won 10 Gold Glove awards for his outstanding work as a centre fielder and was named an All-Star 13 times.
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12. Albert Pujols
Pujols made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001 and quickly established himself as one of the premier hitters in the league. He won the National League (NL) Rookie of the Year award in his first season. He had a storied career with the Cardinals, earning numerous accolades, including three NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards (2005, 2008, 2009).
In 2012, Pujols signed a 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, where he continued a successful career. However, injuries and declining performance in the latter years of the contract impacted his overall production.
13. Alex Rodriguez
He played Major League Baseball (MLB) for 22 seasons. During his career, Rodriguez played for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. He is considered one of the greatest baseball players, with numerous awards and accolades, including 14 All-Star selections and three American League MVP awards.
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However, Rodriguez's career was also marred by controversy. He admitted to using PEDs during his time with the Texas Rangers, which resulted in a suspension for the entire 2014 season.
Determining the most overpaid baseball players of all time can be subjective and difficult to measure. However, Rodriguez is one of the players often considered among the most overpaid in MLB.
14. Tony Gwynn
Gwynn played in the MLB for 20 seasons, all with the Padres, from 1982 to 2001. He was known for his exceptional hitting ability and is regarded as one of the best contact hitters ever. Gwynn won eight National League (NL) batting titles with a career batting average of .338, the highest batting average by any player who played his entire career after 1940.
Gwynn was a 15-time All-Star and won numerous awards, including seven Silver Slugger awards and five Gold Glove awards for his defence in the right field. He was also a member of the 1998 Padres team that reached the World Series.
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15. Pete Rose
He is a former professional baseball player,- and manager considered one of the greatest players in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB). Rose played for several teams, including the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and Montreal Expos. He was known for his hustle and aggressive style of play, and he holds several MLB records, including the record for hits with 4,256.
However, Rose's career was also marred by controversy. In 1989, he was banned from baseball for life due to allegations that he had bet on baseball games, including games involving the team he managed, the Cincinnati Reds. Rose is one of the most overrated MLB players ever.
Most overrated MLB players have fallen short of expectations, including injuries, lack of postseason success, statistical decline, or failure to live up to their hype or potential. It is important to note that even players who are considered overrated still have impressive achievements and contributions to the sport, and their place in baseball history is still significant.
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