Skip to content

MLB players think Bryce Harper is the most overrated in all of baseball

Mar 24, 2014, 9:48 AM EDT

bryce harper getty Getty Images

ESPN the Magazine has joined in the increasingly common “let’s anonymously poll a hundred or two players and ask them who’s overrated” game. Except none of these things ever define what overrated means. Heck, I don’t know that anyone who talks about overrated/underrated knows what they really mean when they say that. Really, these kinds of polls are totally overrated.

Anyway, the players think that Bryce Harper is the most overrated. Which suggests to me that what most of these guys think of as “overrated” is really “overhyped” or “overreported.” I say this because I don’t get the sense that the general assessment of Harper’s skills are out of line with what he’s done thus far, especially at his young age. Also, they rate A-Rod as the third most overrated player, and who is rating A-Rod all that highly these days? It’s all about spilled ink, methinks, not what people actually think of them vis a vis their qualities as ballplayers.

  1. gothapotamus90210 - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    He posted a 9.0 WAR (BBRef) in 257 games before he turned 21. That’s pretty damn good.

    • Henshaw - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Harper is good, but look at the coverage he’s received vs. Mike Trout.

      Perhaps it’s an East Coast vs. West Coast thing, but even Yasiel Puig got more attention last season.

      Trout posted a 9.2 WAR last season!

      • mordecofe - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        Why do people say this? Mike Trout, deservedly, has gotten SO much coverage, and definitely more than Harper in 2013 and so far this year. You can perhaps say that Harper got more in 2012, at the beginning, but this narrative is way overblown.

      • mordecofe - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        Also, a quick Google search for “Mike Trout” yields around 32 million hits, while “Bryce Harper” yields about 10 million hits, to put it in perspective.

      • Henshaw - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        Go to Google Trends.

        This is the breakdown: http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=Mike%20Trout%2C%20Bryce%20Harper%2C%20%2Fm%2F0k1k5k1&date=3%2F2013%208m&cmpt=q

        It’s not even close.

      • Henshaw - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        Also, if you sort by News stories it’s just as bad.

      • seitz26 - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        I think the conventional wisdom may be that it took two historically great seasons from Trout to reach the level of accolades that were showered on Harper from the get go. But even so, it’s a little unfair to Harper (I say this as a big Angels fan). He was the consensus #1 pick after his sophomore year in high school, and was in the majors and contributing at age 19. It’s natural that he would receive a lot more press than a kid who was taken toward the end of the first round.

        Just my $.02, but I would guess that people may feel (right or wrong) that Trout’s accolades have been deserved, while Haper’s were based on hype. I don’t really think that’s right or fair, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was underlying theme of the “overrated” opinion.

    • apeville - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Give the kid a couple of years. He may catch up with the hype. But yeah, too much hype is annoying- and somewhat of a curse.

    • mpzz - Apr 5, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Actually that’s pretty damn meaningless. WAR is a made-up stat for something that can’t possibly be numerically measured.

  2. baberuthslegs - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Harper would look better if there was no Mike Trout to show us
    what a truly exceptional young ballplayer looks like.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Harper currently leads all Spring Training hitters with a 1.206 OPS. He is also 21 years old.

      • stercuilus65 - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        WOW he leads SPRING TRAINING?!?!?! That’s AWESOME!

      • thenaturalmevs - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        What are you talking about? No he doesn’t.

        McCutchen for one of about 50 examples higher than Harper – has an OPS of 1.638

      • spudchukar - Mar 25, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        You are correct, but in my defense, there is something screwy with the MLB stat site. Yesterday, upon discussion of Harper I went to their player sortable stat site, and Harper and his 1.206 OPS jumped out at me as he sat atop the ST OPS category.

        Then last night I saw where Moustakas had a 1.6 something OPS. Today I can only bring up two Washington players, and neither are Harper, so I don’t know what to think.

        Anyway my bad. You asked what I was talking about and that is my best explanation. Usually I consult Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, but for some categories MLB is quicker, but I doubt that I will trust them again. Sorry for the misinformation, I try hard to be accurate when quoting stats, and thanks for correcting my error.

  3. darthicarus - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    I think ESPN the Magazine is overrated.

    I agree I think if they had worded it as overhyped that would make more sense…but having MLB players say one of their peers is “overrated” will sell more magazines. (or drive more web traffic)

    • mpzz - Apr 5, 2014 at 10:26 PM

      He is overrated! How many other .270 hitters get his ink?

  4. gatorprof - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    A better question would be whether or not they wanted Harper on their team.

    Then they should have asked all baseball GMs whether or not they would want Harper on their team.

    Trout looks like he may be a once in a generation player, but that doesn’t denigrate the fact that Harper is looking like he is at least a once in a decade player.

    ESPN thrives on “making” news stories out of nothing. Think of their stupidity with Tebow, Johnny Football, Jason Collins, Jonathon Martin, Sam, etc.

    • big64d - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      Batting .270 and hitting 20 homeruns makes you a once in a decade player? Well the league is loaded with them.

      • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        He had a .817 OPS in his rookie year. At the age of 19.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2012/09/28/bryce-harpers-ridiculous-19-year-old-season-in-perspective/

        He also had a 133 OPS+ last year at the age of 20, which is also quite impressive.

        You absolutely have to take age into account. Very few players have done what he’s done in the majors at his age.

      • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Very few players make it to the majors at the age of 19. Or even 20. Even fewer have any kind of success in those seasons.

      • jjschiller - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        You very, VERY rarely make a better point by being reductionist, and by eliminating context. That’s not the way information works.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Think of their stupidity with Tebow, Johnny Football, Jason Collins, Jonathon Martin, Sam, etc.

      Jason Collins is the first active gay male to play in the four major professional sports in the US. This is major news no matter how many people try to downplay it. Michael Sam was SEC defensive player of the year on a good Missouri football team, rejecting the notion that being gay would be “toxic” to a locker room like those cowardly anonymous GM/Scouts that SI interviewed.

      The coverage was warranted in both of those cases.

      • bolweevils2 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        As far as I know Collins has only played in one of the four major professional sports in the US.

      • bendover09 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        Michael Sam is small. He is not that good either.

        He is undersized and will not make it in PRO football. Heck, he will be lucky to even get drafted not bx he is gay just bc he is.not that great

    • apeville - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      With these 24-hour news cycles, you got a lot of fluff to sort through.

      http://bermseyeview.com

      Like mine!

  5. davemvh - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Harper is a turd,and an egotistical one,not as bad as Puig,but still an ego on feet.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      He is a better Baseball player than you are a writer. That long black bar on the bottom of your keyboard, it is called a “space bar” for obvious reasons.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      You’re a turd, and an egotistical one, not as bad as Mel Gibson, but still a turd.

      Yeah, man. I get what you’re saying.

    • big64d - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      Totally you cant type so you are so wrong about everything right guys…..

      #Bharpersmustache

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        I think you are lost. We are not on twitter.

    • natstowngreg - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Setting aside your challenges with the space bar, you’re just blindly spouting The Narrative. The one that says he’s a spoiled brat, and always will be a spoiled brat. Bryce Haper has done much to disprove The Narrative, but you weren’t paying attention.

  6. big64d - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    For some reason Bryce Harper is the first name that pops up when ESPN and others talk about young talent in the league. When he shouldn’t even have his name mentioned with Mike Trout, Manny Machado or Jose Fernandez. Wil Meyers put up the same numbers Harper did last year in less games and no one mentions his name. Then again Harper did hit a 500 foot homerun with a metal bat so I think we can all agree he deserves to be in Cooperstown.

    #swag

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      While I agree with you in principal, I feel that due to your use of a hashtag followed by the word “swag” on a comment section of a website, I must call you a little child.

      • big64d - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        burn

        #child
        #swag

      • mpzz - Apr 5, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        It’s not a hashtag. It’s a number or pound sign.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 6, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashtag

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      Wil Meyers put up the same numbers Harper did last year in less games and no one mentions his name.

      Wil Meyers – 22
      Bryce Harper – 20

      Age matters a ton in baseball. And maybe some of you should broaden your reading/watching materials beyond ESPN if you think no one is talking about these kids.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        yikes, nice formatting fail:

        Wil Meyers put up the same numbers Harper did last year in less games and no one mentions his name.

        Wil Meyers – 22
        Bryce Harper – 20

        Age matters a ton in baseball. And maybe some of you should broaden your reading/watching materials beyond ESPN if you think no one is talking about these kids.

      • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        For sake of comparison, Myers was in AA at the age of 20.

  7. pappageorgio - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    I think Harper is doing a fine job and I’d take the guy on my team. The ESPN article is an example of what Harper has had to deal with that Trout has not…..expectations.

    Harper has been stamped with the “chosen one” label since he was like 14. Trout burst on the scene, but in no way did he have to deal with the expectation that he’d be a franchise player from his first day in the biggs.

    Harper is a hell of a player……but there will always be some BS like this that calls him “overrated” because he’s not playing (and defying expectations) like Mike trout does.

  8. savvybynature - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Couldn’t agree more. People act like he is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP every season when in reality he’s been a borderline All-Star player. Still very good for a young player, but nowhere near Trout-level production.

  9. dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Player polls are stupid anyway.

    • rdillon99 - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      Agreed. It was a clown poll, bro.

  10. natstowngreg - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Of course, it’s about overhyping. Young Mr. Harper has been in the public spotlight since he was 15 years old. He’s a prodigy, and prodigies get overhyped as a matter of course.

    Both Harper and Trout have accomplished things few baseball players that young have ever accomplished. Trout has accomplished more, duh. Harper is a season younger, and isn’t the same style of player. The comparisons are inevitable, and will continue throughtout their careers. Not the worst thing to be in the discussion for best player of your generation–whether you’re thought to be overrated or underrated.

  11. themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    I wonder how much of this has to do with “any press is good press” = “they talk about him all the time thus he’s over hyped”

  12. sdelmonte - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Surprised no one has said what a clown question that is, bro.

    Would I want Harper to sit next to me on a long bus ride? Probably not. Would I want him in my outfield? As long as we pad the walls, hell yes.

    • Old Gator - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      I think the “koala question” crack from last week may have brought the whole “clown question bro” thing to its apogee here. It should begin to recede into history, along with Benjamin Franklin’s “and they’re so grateful.”

  13. realgone2 - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    I’d say it’s a toss up between him and Strasburg.

  14. rdillon99 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    “Surprised no one has said what a clown question that is, bro.”

    I know. That would’ve been funny.

  15. infieldhit - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    I don’t think ESPN the Magazine is as bad a fluff/hype machine as ESPN TV. They’ve embraced sabermetrics, and not in the perfunctory way that the networks have (and certainly not scoffed at it like a lot of MLB Network.)

    Anyway, I think is more about the media than Harper himself. And I’m sure SI has these same kinds of polls, including “Who you’d least want as a teammate.” Even if they’re anonymous, athletes no doubt enjoy getting a chance to voice opinions they can’t say in public.

  16. big64d - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    I know this kid who hit 10 home runs and 25 RBI in little league this last year in 15 games. Dudes only 6. Hes the real deal because age matters….

    #swag

    • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      You’re not the sharpest bowling ball in the shed.

      • big64d - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        Roasted

        #armextended

  17. thomas844 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Harper is supremely talented and I bet he will live up to his hype possibly starting this year. As for his first two years, though they were impressive, were not All-Star caliber seasons and yet he is a 2-time All-Star. I see why he is called overrated right now but soon enough he will prove himself.

  18. metrocritical - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    That’s a clown survey, bro.

  19. The Dangerous Mabry - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Well this is timely:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2014-positional-power-rankings-left-field/

    Harper’s considered the best Left Fielder in baseball according to Fangraphs. I can’t really say they’re overrating him either, if you assume he’ll stay on the field.

  20. psousa1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    What are the chances ESPN the magazine does not interview anyone and just publishes this ‘anonymous’ poll? I would say the chances are pretty good. Never mind the fact in sports journalism you can tout ‘anonymous sources’ until the cows come home because, well, the writer will never get called on the carpet never mind anonymous polls.

  21. buddysguys - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    i think because we saw Harper running into walls and knocking himself out and smashing bats off his head more than we saw Trout or other comparable (by age) players.

    It should be most overhyped player not overrated

  22. Mark - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    They misspelled Brandon Phillips.

  23. provguard - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    I’d take the second coming of The Mick” than the arrogance of a spoiled brat…imo

  24. beast2727 - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Harper is the best player in the league

  25. bbk1000 - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Harper is good…….real good.

    I do’t agree with what his dad did to get him here…but he is here and he is a good player.

    Read about LeBron’s high school years…

    Parents are different……good or bad…

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Who are the favorites for Rookie of the Year?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Soler (3439)
  2. Y. Molina (3296)
  3. R. Castillo (3011)
  4. D. Wright (2259)
  5. D. Murphy (2113)
  1. B. Colon (2090)
  2. S. Doolittle (2084)
  3. D. Ortiz (2060)
  4. T. Lincecum (2005)
  5. B. Posey (1994)