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Most overrated baseball playersPosted Monday, June 22, 2009, at 3:58 PM
The Payoff Pitch
Here is this week's installment of The Payoff Pitch, where I'll voice my opinions on non-Cardinals-related issues. This week, I'm going to list my opinion on the most overrated baseball players in the history of the game.
Let's be honest; the only reason Rizzuto is in the Hall of Fame is because he was on the Yankees. He's a product of the New York media machine and of east coast bias. Rizzuto was a great defender, but not good enough to justify being elected to the Hall of Fame. He is, without a doubt, the worst player to be honored in Cooperstown. Take a look at his career statistics:
Rizzuto was a career .273 hitter, which would be respectable for a power hitter; however, Rizzuto hit 38 home runs in his career. You could justify this lack of hitting if he were an on-base machine, but he really wasn't, as he logged a .351 OBP for his career. And if he were someone who could routinely manufacture runs, you could also make the case for him, but he only scored 100+ runs twice in his career, and he was never a threat to steal bases.
Some may make the argument that if Rizzuto wouldn't have set the precedent for light-hitting shortstop then Ozzie Smith wouldn't have made it into the HOF. The difference is that the Wizard was a far better defender, drove in more runs and stole 580 bases, while also being a fantastic run-producer with his bunting ability and his speed. Even without Rizzuto, Ozzie makes it in on his own.
Jackson was the classic all-or-nothing player who made way too much money and talked way too much. He was a good postseason player, and he is more than worthy of being in the Hall of Fame, but I think he gets way too much play as a great hitter. Let's compare an average season of Jackson's with the average season of the most underrated player in Major League history, Stan Musial:
BA HR RBI SO SLG OPS
Musial .331 25 104 37 .559 .976
Jackson .262 32 98 149 .490 .846
Musial was never known as a power hitter, per se, but Jackson was and Musial's numbers are significantly better aside from home runs, as he dwarfed Jackson in SLG and OPS. To have been a "power hitter" Jackson has a low SLG because if it wasn't a home run, it was a strikeout, whereas Musial was a doubles machine and would always put the ball in play. Jackson is purely an overrated, selfish player who doesn't deserve the hype he gets.
Jeter is far and away the most overrated player in the Major Leagues right now. Don't get me wrong. He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and he is a fantastic average hitter that young hitters should model themselves after; however, everything he does gets totally blown up and made into the greatest thing to ever happen. You know why? Because he plays in New York. Jeter always gets hyped up because of his defense, but he is statistically one of the worst defenders in all of baseball due to his lack of range. The great plays you seeing him make are a product of his lack of range. And don't even get me started on the overhyped plays he has made in the postseason. Give me a break. If Hanley Ramirez makes the same plays, nobody really hears about it. But if Jeter picks his nose and flicks it on the dirt, it goes straight to Cooperstown on a goose-down pillow. It's so annoying to continually hear about how great he his, when the players in the MLB routinely say he is the most overrated player in the league.
In my opinion, Ryan is the most overrated player of all time. The games he pitched were often painful to watch. A strikeout here. A walk there. Another walk there. Another walk there. Another strikeout here. Load the bases up with a walk, and strikeout the side. Four and a half hours later, he either has a no-hitter or a loss. Ryan's 5714 career strikeouts will never be touched, but neither will his 2795 walks. For his career, Ryan averaged 4.7 walks per nine innings pitched, and that is atrocious. It's no wonder he didn't give up hits, because nobody in the park had a clue where the ball was going to end up when it came out of his hand.
Also, Ryan's 324 career wins are a productive of his longevity alone. He also had 292 career losses, for an average win-loss record of 14-13 for his career. That's hardly stellar, but he played on terrible teams to his credit. Even still, he's not nearly the pitcher everyone makes him out to be.
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A blog for Cardinals fans by a Cardinals fan. This blog will explore the happenings in the St. Louis Cardinals organization on a semi-daily basis, from roster moves to game-by-game analysis.