I want to read this book, don’t you?
Today’s random feature is Bill James’ 10 Characteristics of Underrated Players! Enjoy the excellence.
- Specialists and players who do 2 or 3 things well are overrated; players who do several things well are underrated.
- Batting average is overrated; secondary offensive skills, summarized in secondary average, are underrated.
- Driving in runs is overrated; scoring runs is underrated.
- Players who play for championship teams are often overrated; players who get stuck with bad teams are often underrated.
- Players who play in New York and LA are sometimes overrated, while players who play in smaller and less glamorous cities are sometimes underrated, although this factor is not as significant as many people think it is.
- Players who are glib and popular with the press are sometimes overrated, while players who are quiet are sometimes underrated, although, again, this factor is not as significant as many people believe it to be.
- Players who play in parks that do not favor their skills are always underrated. Players who play in parks that favor them- hitters in Colorado, pitchers in the Astrodome- are always overrated.
- Hitters from the big-hitting eras (the 1890’s, 1920’s and 1930’s) are overrated in history, and pitchers from the deadball era and the 1960’s are overrated. Pitchers from the big-hitting era and hitters from the 1960’s are underrated.
- Undocumented skills (leadership, defense, heads-up play) tend to be forgotten over time. Everything else deteriorates faster than the numbers.
- Anything which “breaks up” a player’s career tends to cause him to be underrated. A player who has a good career with one team will be thought of more highly than a player who does the same things, but with three different teams. Switching positions causes a player to be underrated. A player who plays 1,000 games at 3rd base and 1,000 games at 2nd base may be underrated, because it’s harder to form a whole image of what he’s done. This is the same principle as camouflage gear- break up the silhouette of a man, break up his colors and his outline, and he’s harder to see. This also explains factor #1 above.