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Insider

Don't believe the hype

The fourth edition of the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language defines je ne sais quoi as "a quality or attribute that is difficult to describe or express."

When looking for the most overrated players in the majors, that French phrase seems pretty appropriate. What does overrated mean, anyway? Just a notable underachiever? Or simply a player who's grossly overpaid, given how well he's currently playing? Or a chronic slacker, who has reached a certain level but shows no ambition to take his game to a higher level?

Or maybe a fan favorite whose reputation is greater than his actual talent? A player whose skills are overestimated by his teammates and opponents? Possibly a star who regularly receives lavish praise from broadcasters despite his lack of production?

Answer: All of the above.

Catcher: Mike Matheny

No-hit, good-field catchers are a baseball tradition dating back to the days when stealing bases actually mattered. The Giants' Mike Matheny continues that tradition in an era when catcher defense is not really important. Here is a guy who has averaged a pathetic .239 with five homers per year over his 10 full seasons; his career OBP is sub-.300; he doesn't have gap power, can't run even by catcher standards, and should be a career backup. His defense, no matter how good, comes nowhere close to making up for that laundry list of deficiencies – and his defense is overrated, too.