MLB players say: Hear less about Harper, pay more for Trout

A survey of major leaguers says the Nats outfielder is most overrated.

As far as his peers are concerned, Mike Trout is the best player in the game and should be paid like it.

Michael Zagaris

A jury of his peers has ruled — and they say, "Enough with Bryce Harper already!"

In an anonymous survey of 143 major league players by ESPN The Magazine — a survey covering everything from A-Rod and PEDs to marijuana use and gay players — the Washington Nationals' 21-year-old All-Star outfielder came out on top as the most overrated player in the majors. He garnered 24 percent of the responses, though he didn't beat out the Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig by much; Puig got 21 percent.

One player identified as an American League All-Star told the magazine: "I like Bryce Harper. I think he's going to be really good. But the attention for him — and for Puig, to a certain extent — is overkill. It's just been hype so far."

Third in the most overrated list was Alex Rodriguez (14 percent), though that may just be a reflection of how many MLB players just don't like him — because who is overrating the suspended New York Yankees third baseman these days? A majority of respondents, 51 percent, said they would like to kick A-Rod out of the players association. That's the same players association that Rodriguez was trying to sue.

And speaking of performance-enhancing drugs, the major leaguers don't believe very many players are still using PEDs. The surveyed put the percentage at just over 9 percent.

In a quite decisive result, the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout was picked as baseball's best player with 56 percent, more than doubling the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera. The ballplayers say Trout deserves to get paid: Asked how much he would merit in free agency, the average of the answers was $27.8 million a year. That's more than the $27.5 million average value of A-Rod's contract — which, of course, he won't be getting this year because he's suspended.

"What (Trout is) doing is sick," a National League outfielder said. "I'd pay Trout $1 more than Cabrera, whatever that would be. The numbers Trout has put up the past two years are about as good as you'll ever see, and Cabrera is right there with him."

Trout, the 2012 Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star, is 22 and not yet eligible for arbitration, much less free agency. He will make $1 million this season.

But if he keeps going the way he has started out, Trout will be able to afford his own survey in a few years.

Other notable results of the survey:

• More than 80 percent of respondents agreed that MLB is ready for an openly gay player.

• Not surprisingly, the most overhyped team in baseball is the Yankees (44 percent), with the Dodgers edging the Angels (13 percent to 12) for the runner-up spot.

• Who will win the World Series? In a tight battle, the Cardinals were the most popular pick at 19 percent, just ahead of the Tigers at 18 percent, the Dodgers at 15 percent and the defending champion Red Sox at 11 percent.

• The closest call came on the issue of whether a player would consider using marijuana for pain relief if allowed. No beat yes, 51 percent to 49.

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