Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yankees lead baseball in overrated players

I opened my latest issue of ESPN the magazine to find out that my New York Yankees have some of the most overrated players in baseball, according to a poll of 100 big leaguers published in the magazine. In the most overrated category, Joba Chamberlain beat Alex Rodriguez 17% to 9%. I was a bit surprised that Joba came out on top, but not at all about controversy-magnet ARod, who deserves a lot of the criticism although I'm sure that jealously over his monster contract was a factor in the result.

The players have a point about Joba. He wasn't impressive in the rotation during the second half of last year (although Yankee officials share a lot of the blame for that). But he had a genuine opportunity to win a starting job in spring training and he blew it. Phil Hughes has showed why the Yankees think so highly of him and have great expectations for his future, displaying fantastic stuff and a maturity beyond his years en route to winning three games this season and becoming a major cog in the Yankees rotation. But maybe Joba will again become the dominant reliever we saw when he first came up. He's already proven himself in two save situations this week.

But the Yankees as a team fared pretty well, with 38% of the players saying the Yanks will repeat as World Series champs and one player quoted as saying they are unbeatable. The Bronx Bombers were also voted best franchise by a wide margin: 52% versus 16% for the archrival Boston Red Sox.

This poll shows that despite some genuine dislike for individual Yankees, the team as a whole, let by guys like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, command the respect of their fellow big leaguers.

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