Proving that MLB players and Internet commenters sometimes agree, Bryce Harper was voted the "most overrated player" in baseball in a poll of his peers conducted recently by ESPN The Magazine.
Harper, the 22-year-old Washington Nationals outfielder, garnered a whopping 41 percent of the vote, according to The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog. Yasiel Puig finished second with 15 percent. The two of them finished in the same spots in the same poll last year, though the percentages were closer — Harper with 24 percent, Puig with 21 percent.
Harper is seen as something of a baseball villain by your average fan, even though our own Tim Brown wrote last week that Harper is miscast in that role. No matter, some baseball fans see him as a young punk. And heck can you blame them, what with that haircut and that Instagram account. (Please notice our tongue firmly in cheek). Other fans are just tired of hearing about Harper, since we've been following his exploits since he was the 16-year-old annointed as "The Chosen One" on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
It can't be too different for MLB players. Harper gets a lot of attention and endorsement money. He's looked at as one of the emerging faces of the game, though, truth be told, he hasn't proven too much on the field yet. It's not because Harper isn't talented, he obviously is, but injuries have caused him to miss 106 games over past two seasons. But he did win the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012.
When he's played, Harper has been exciting and effective, hitting 55 homers over three seasons and posting a combined .816 OPS. But he hasn't put it all together yet. So in the sense that his hype has lapped his production, yes, you could say Harper is overrated.
One of the challenges for Harper this season will be staying healthy and proving he's actually as good as we've been hearing all these years. That would help him get that ring and it would help him shed the "overrated" label — or at least make the ESPN poll a closer race in 2016.
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