According to a recent poll conducted by beat writers at The Athletic (subscription required/recommended), MLB players believe that Javy Baez is among the most overrated in their sport. That wasn’t the only question in the poll (there were 21 total) and many of the 240 players surveyed anonymously declined to respond to some of the more controversial topics, but this particular topic stands out.
Now, it should be noted that Javy may have only received two votes. We only know that Bryce Harper ran away with the polling, receiving 48.6 percent of the votes to easily beat out Chris Davis of the Orioles (10.8%) for the top spot. And that feels like more of a semantic issue, since I’m pretty sure no one’s thinking enough about ol’ Crush these days to overrate him.
We know that only about half of the total pool voted on this topic — one player cited “bad karma” as a reason for his abstinence — we can figure that Javy received around 12 votes at most. What’s interesting about his inclusion, however, is that he’s the only player other than Harper or Davis to receive multiple votes.
Like, how is Yadier Molina not on that list? Even knowing that baseball players in general are fiercely protective of the old guard and the whole veteran leader who’s paid his dues thing, a not-insignificant number of people think he’s the greatest catcher ever, which is ludicrous. Or at least that he’s the best catcher in the NL Central, which still isn’t true.
What you have to remember, though, is that ballplayers view the game through a different lens than we do and they’re not out here among the rabble breaking things down the same way. So how they evaluate and discuss other players is naturally going to deviate from the way you and I do.
The explanation one player gave to voting for Baez perfectly encapsulates those differences.
“To a baseball player, a lot of the shit he does is really risky and stupid,” the player said. “When you play against him, you fucking hate watching him. But as a fan, I would want to watch him every single day. I get it.”
Sounds like we’ve got a hater in the house. We’ll probably never know who provided that quote, but my money’s on Cardinals closer Bud Norris. Of course, there are undoubtedly many more players who don’t like the way Javy goes about his business. And that’s too bad, but you can take all that metaphorical salt and inject it directly into my veins. I’m here for it.
The Cubs had a little more representation elsewhere in the poll, with Joe Maddon being named by 27.1 percent of respondents as manager other than their own that they’d like to play for. He was followed by Terry Francona (18.6%), Torey Lovullo (10%), and Bruce Bochy (7.1%). It’s weird that Cardinals players made up such a high percentage of the total, right?
Interestingly enough, Maddon also finished second for manager you’d least like to play for, and he wasn’t far behind Buck Showalter. The man who chose to keep Zach Britton out of a Wild Card game garnered 23.3 percent of the vote, while Maddon finished with 20 percent. Mike Matheny somehow pulled only half of that.
The Cubs (14.1%) finished just behind the Mariners (15.3%) for most fun city to visit, with Oakland (36.2%) running away with the worst.
Players voted overwhelmingly against a pitch clock (86.6% No), but were less sure about a shorter season (59.3% No) and DH in the NL (53.7% No). Finally, MLBers determined that St. Louis does in fact have the…ahem…best fans in baseball (23.2%). The Cubs (13%) finished tied with San Francisco for third, a few points behind Boston (18.8%).
There was no vote on whether putting sour Velveeta on a saltine cracker can legally be called pizza, but no one really needs to answer that one for us to know what’s right.