BBTN 500: Nos. 201-300
A look at the most overrated and intriguing players, and the value of defense
Day 3 of the BBTN 500 consists of players ranked 201-300. We asked our experts to weigh in with their thoughts on the players in this group.
1. Anyone here we are overrating?
Eric Karabell (@karabellespn), ESPN Fantasy: Many players are being overrated, including way too many "closers" who aren't great pitchers, but the Mets' Johan Santana is years past being valuable, and unlikely to return to relevance with his shoulder woes. Younger, stronger, upside arms like Mike Minor, Chris Tillman and Neftali Feliz are more valuable now. Santana has made 21 starts in two years, and he might not make that many this year. It's harsh, we'll always have the memories, but it's time to move on.
David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot: Jeremy Affeldt is a nice reliever, a key member of the Giants' bullpen for two World Series championships. But the 201st-best player in baseball? Ahead of good every-day catchers like Alex Avila or Jonathan Lucroy, a potential Gold Glove shortstop in Alcides Escobar, or solid regulars like Kyle Seager, Brandon Belt or Jhonny Peralta? I don't think so.
Mark Simon (@msimonespn), ESPN Stats & Info: I saw a lot of players on the 300-to-400 list that I'd take over Carlos Marmol, who seems forever destined to be a great adventure. If I could flip his spot with someone from that group, I'd probably swap him out for Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, who I think was the most underrated on that list.
2. Who's the most interesting player in this group?
Karabell: Two spots after Santana there's intriguing Cardinals right-hander Trevor Rosenthal, a future ace after he's through dominating as a setup man this year. Think back to how Adam Wainwright was introduced to the big leagues; he closed for a World Series winner and then became a 200-inning guy. Rosenthal hasn't received the acclaim Shelby Miller has, but his stuff is outstanding, and he should be just as valuable.
Schoenfield: One reason I'm high on the Braves is Mike Minor. His overall numbers last year won't blow you away (11-10, 4.12 ERA), but he went 6-4, 2.16 in the second half, as his fastball command improved and his home runs fell. Minor ranked 12th among NL starters in opponents' on-base percentage. With one full year now under his belt, look for a strong season slotting behind Tim Hudson and Kris Medlen.
Simon: Melky Cabrera because we'll get to see if he reverts to being the .267/.329/.380 player he was from 2006 to 2010, or performs closer to the .322/.360/.489 player he's been over the previous two (considerably tainted by suspension) seasons.
3. Darwin Barney led NL in defensive WAR in 2012. Why is he No. 282?
Karabell: It tells us he was terrific defensively, and worthy of his Gold Glove award, but you've still gotta hit to truly get noticed. Sorry, Brendan Ryan. Defensive analysis has come a long way, but it remains difficult for some to combine offensive and defensive value and believe Barney was one of the 15 most valuable non-pitchers in the NL last year. Give him credit, but he's still not a special player.
Schoenfield: Well, it says lot of the people on the panel (a) ignore WAR; (b) ignore defensive metrics; or (c) ignore Darwin Barney because he's Darwin Barney. We probably should be a little cautious about his off-the-charts defensive rating. If he plays like that again in the field, then we say he's underrated.
Simon: That it takes a lot more than being a good defender to be a good player. I probably would have had Barney a little higher than 282, but I don't feel that we're egregiously off on that one. He had a .299 on-base percentage and .287 wOBA last season. Even being an incredible defensive player (as Barney has shown he can be) doesn't make up enough for that.
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TOP 500 MLB PLAYERS OF 2013
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ESPN 500: 2012
Albert Pujols left St. Louis for Anaheim and was voted the game's No. 1 player.