Bryce Harper talks MVP after being voted by peers as MLB's most overrated player

On Tuesday, The Athletic published the results of a poll of MLB players on various topics ahead of the open of the 2019 season.

While noting that the poll was unscientific, the publication wrote that it got responses from around a third of MLB’s players representing all 30 teams.

Of the 20 questions asked, the results of one stood out above the others.

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A lot of MLB players think Bryce Harper is overrated

MLB players think Bryce Harper is overrated — in overwhelming fashion.

According to The Athletic, 62 percent of the poll respondents voted Harper as the most overrated player in baseball.

Harper’s was the only name that came up more than half the time in any of the poll questions asking players to vote for peers. Mike Trout’s was the second-most common answer to a player question, voted by 40.2 percent of respondents as the most intimidating hitter in the game.

The consolation for Harper is that he qualified in the others “receiving multiple votes” section of the intimidating hitter question.

But he did not rank in the top four, which also included Aaron Judge, J.D. Martinez and Giancarlo Stanton.

Bryce Harper's peers believe that the Phillies slugger is the game's most overrated player — by a wide margin. (AP)
Bryce Harper's peers believe that the Phillies slugger is the game's most overrated player — by a wide margin. (AP)

Who else registered as overrated?

As for the other players voted as overrated? Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman finished second in polling with 4.1 percent of the vote. Trout, to nobody’s surprise, did not register in the overrated category.

Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Kevin Kiermaier, Manny Machado, Noah Syndergaard and Gary Sanchez also received multiple votes.

Harper seems surprised

So what does Harper think of all this?

He sounded surprised despite having earned the same distinction in last year’s preseason poll from The Athletic and twice in similar polls in past seasons conducted by ESPN.

"I don’t really know what to say," Harper told USA Today Wednesday. "I mean, I have no answer. I have no idea.”

Harper earned 48.6 percent of the vote in last year’s poll by The Athletic that was two seasons removed from his 2015 National League MVP campaign with the Washington Nationals.

It appears that his 2018 performance that included a .249 average and no playoff appearance didn’t do much to change the minds of his peers.

Pressure will be intense in Philadelphia

The pressure on Harper will only be intensified this season after he signed a $330 million deal to play for the Philadelphia Phillies. He appears aware of the kind of season he’ll need to quiet his critics who don’t believe he’s lived up to the hype that led him to the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old.

"I knew ESPN did (a similar poll) a couple years back, and I won MVP the next year. So I don’t know. Maybe we’ll do that again this year. We’ll see."

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