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Jayson Stark has written a new book, which I won’t link to here for reasons I’ll state in a minute. In a nutshell, it’s about over-rated and under-rated players in the Major Leagues.

He has a column, basically designed to use the dotcom prowess of ESPN.com to promote his new book, which I will link to, here. Read the column, and if you want to buy the book, you had a much different reaction to the column than I did.

Anyway, in the column, Stark lists the top 10 over-rated players in the league. Here’s his list:

  1. Barry Zito
  2. J.D. Drew
  3. Andruw Jones
  4. Juan Pierre
  5. Bobby Abreu
  6. Brian Giles
  7. Alfonso Soriano
  8. Richie Sexson
  9. Bob Wickman
  10. Jeff Suppan

My problem with his list, even though I agree with several of the selections (Drew, Pierre and Sexson to name a few) is that he’s all over the place in his method for choosing them. Zito, he’s basically added to this list because he’s off to a bad start. Ditto Soriano, Jones, Abreu and to an extent, Drew. He goes a step further into irrelevancy with Drew, saying he’s over-rated because he’s never made an All Star Game. Uh, if a guy has amazing career numbers, and never makes an All Star Game, wouldn’t that make him under-rated?

I’m not sure who, besides Theo Epstein, actually rates J.D. Drew highly, but I guess that wasn’t included in the equation. Abreu was great for the Yanks last year, this year, he’s struggling. The criteria Stark uses for including him is a missing “Derek Jeter” gene. Soriano hasn’t lived up to his contract in the first two months of the season, so now he’s over-rated.

I can’t think of anyone who thinks Wickman is good. He was a cheap alternative for the Braves to fill a need, and he is what he is. He gets saves, but does it very ugly. Suppan is an innings-eater, again, I don’t think anyone considers him great. I don’t think there are any great illusions about what Andruw Jones is either: Great defense, good power, lots of Ks.

Pierre is definitely over-rated (Erin over at Blue Thoughts, is keeping track of Juan’s inneptitude, check it out). A lot of “speed” guys are, Pierre more than most because he had a couple of really good years. Sexson hasn’t lived up to the expectations, but again, this isn’t news to anyone. He’s a bust in Seattle, everyone knows it. Who’s rating him highly?

Giles doesn’t hit for power anymore. He doesn’t hit for power anymore because he’s playing in the most pitcher-friendly stadium in the league.

I was hoping for some deep statistical analysis when I saw the tease for this column on the front page of ESPN.com, not a quick hatchet job designed to get me to buy his book. The column had the opposite effect on me.

by Brian on May 25 2007
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