Overrated, underrated on ESPN 500

The ZiPS projection system weighs in and sets the rankings straight

Updated: April 4, 2012, 6:39 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | Baseball Think Factory
Mike StantonChristopher Pasatieri/Getty ImagesIf the ESPN 500 is any indication, Giancarlo Stanton could be quite underrated in 2012.

ESPN's panel of experts has spoken, and the full top 500 list for the 2012 season has been unveiled. So, what better time to start ripping it apart?

Since nothing makes someone more popular than second-guessing, except perhaps tattling or backseat driving, let's get right down to business and look at some of the bigger mistakes the panel (myself included) made in the rankings. I've highlighted some of the most egregiously overrated and underrated players based on the gap between their ESPN 500 ranking and their ranking in terms of projected 2012 wins above replacement (WAR).

Underrated

Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
ESPN: 40, ZiPS: 10

At 22 years old, he is coming off a season in which he had a line of .262 AVG/.356 OBP/.537 SLG and hit 34 homers for the Marlins -- and he falls this low? Plus, Stanton is now using his far cooler birth name and is sorely underrated as a defensive player.

Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs give Stanton's 2011 an average WAR of 5.0, and there's more to come. ZiPS even sees Stanton cracking the bottom of the top 10 this year, at No. 10 with 5.3 WAR in the new park.


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