By Tom Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Bryce Harper has a new team, but he still has the same distinction among his peers. The vast majority of Major League Baseball players believe Harper is the most overrated player in The Show, per a new anonymous poll.
According to The Athletic, which polled “about a third of the league overall, including players from all 30 teams,” Harper is overwhelmingly the most overrated player at 62 percent. That’s up from 48.6 percent in the website’s 2018 players poll.
“It’s marketing. It’s star power,” one player told The Athletic. “But what has he done besides have one year?”
“Especially now,” another player said.
Especially now. Especially after Harper, 26, signed a 13-year, $330 million record contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on Feb. 28.
That contract stood as an American sports record for one month when the Los Angeles Angels re-signed Mike Trout to a 12-year, $430 million deal.
The past two years are not the first time Harper’s held the distinction as the most overrated player in baseball. In 2014, anonymous MLB players also listed Harper, then 21, as the game’s most overrated player in ESPN The Magazine.
This comes with the territory as one of baseball’s most marketable players, one who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old, one who won the NL MVP at 22.
One of the interesting nuggets from the players poll is the player who said, “It’s marketing. It’s star power.”
In a game that needs more star power, it’s ironic players view Harper as the most overrated, especially if marketing and star power is behind it.
Phillies fans will have the opportunity to cheer MLB’s most overrated player Thursday on opening day at Citizens Bank Park. Knowing Philadelphia, the fans will let the Phils’ new right fielder know exactly just how overrated he is.
Baseball can use more Bryce Harpers, and jealousy is never a good look – for anyone.