The Braves traded for Johnson before the 2013 season, and he paid instant dividends. After posting a .321/.358/.457 slash line with 12 home runs and 68 RBI in 142 games, the Braves rewarded him with a three-year, $23 million contract. He in turn "rewarded" them with a significant dropoff across the board. In 2014 he had a slash line of .263/.292/.361, with 10 home runs and 58 RBI in 153 games. The only stat that saw an increase was strikeouts, where he saw a spike from 116 in 2013 to 159 in 2014. He had worked on a new stance this spring, which had rejuvinated his numbers a bit. Since reverting to his old stance, though, his numbers have dropped again.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY SportsEvan Habeeb
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marlins
It’s hard to find an overrated player on the Marlins, as their core players are young and living up to expectations. But if there's one, it's Saltalamacchia. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013, producing a .273/.338/.466 slash line with 14 home runs and 65 RBI. That prompted the Marlins to give him a three-year, $21 million contract, with the thought that his championship experience would help lead a young and talented ball club. But he simply was not good in 2014, as he produced a .220/.320/.362 slash line with 11 home runs and 44 RBI. Defensively, he led all big-league catchers with 15 errors. If he does not bounce back, the Marlins could look to trade him and go with prospect J.T. Realmuto.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
Curtis Granderson, Mets
The former Yankee took his talents a mere nine miles from the Bronx to Queens, with a shiny $60 million contract in tow. But he left his power behind. In 2011 he had 41 home runs and 119 RBI in 156 games. In 2012 he had 43 home runs and 106 RBI in 160 games. This past season, his first with the Mets, he only had 20 home runs and 66 RBI in 155 games. The former Silver Slugger Award winner was supposed to add power to the Mets’ lineup, but he didn't come close to living up to his lofty contract.
APPhelan M. Ebenhack
Maikel Franco, Phillies
The Phillies are clearly building for the future, and Maikel Franco is supposed to be their next big star. They have him pegged as a third baseman and also toyed with the idea that he could help push first baseman Ryan Howard to the bench. Franco has done pretty well in the minors, and he lit it up in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. But the problem is that atthe Major League level, he can’t hit. Last spring he hit .184 before being sent down to the minors. This year he improved, to .200. He has 13 combined hits from the two camps, all singles.
David Manning-USA TODAY SportsDavid Manning
Bryce Harper, Nationals
Harper is one of the most talented players in baseball, and he has one of the highest ceilings. The guy has Hall of Fame potential. That said, he’s also one of the most overrated players in the game, a beneficiary of superstar treatment without superstar results. Even his colleagues believe this: they voted him the most overrated player in the game for a second consecutive year. Harper has been compared to Micky Mantle numerous times, which would rub most people the wrong way. Injuries have been his biggest issues. But when he's healthy, he has put up Hall of Fame-type numbers for a player at this stage of his career. Staying on the field for a prolonged period of time will help him shake this label.