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Who is a superstar?


Frobby

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This comes from the thread on the main board asking whether Jones or Wieters can become superstars. I said it depends what you mean by a superstar. Personally, I'm very stingy with that title. For me, there can only be 15-20 superstars in MLB at any one time. A superstar, IMO, is someone potentially on a path to a Hall of Fame career.

Superstars: Pujols, Mauer, Cabrera, Verlander, Price, Halladay, ARod, Jeter, Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Beltran, Ichiro

Borderline: Fielder, Howard, Braun, Cano, Longoria, Votto, Beltre

That's pretty much my list. Obviously, a few of these guys are over the hill, but they've achieved lifetime superstar status.

And I don't call someone a superstar based on potential. Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are gonna be superstars, but I won't give them the title yet.

Lots of guys play like superstars for a year or three, but I need to see at least four years of really excellent play to bestow the title, and the title, once bestowed, can be lost if a player fizzles early (Lincecum).

What are your criteria, and who's on your list?

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I think pretty much all of those guys are 'superstars' besides Beltran. He's old, he's liable to break down, he's still good but not going to challenge for MVP any time soon, he isn't a household name anymore. I'd probably rather have him than A-Rod but A-Rod's a superstar no matter what he does. I don't see how Braun and Votto, perennial MVP contenders, wouldn't be superstars. Or Prince, who's one of the more famous ballplayers around.

So I guess that's my criteria. Players whose names you'd be surprised to not see get MVP/CY votes every year and/or players who are household names.

Or maybe put a better way: players who would make a very solid nine figures in free agency or made a very solid nine figures last time they hit free agency, assuming some stupid team didn't go crazy on a Zito/Wells/Soriano/etc. The players sportscasters spend most of their time talking about in the offseason when they're available.

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An important semantic part to this question is whether 'superstar' refers only to baseball performance relative to the league or whether the term also carries the requirement of being one of the most discussed names in the public mind. Beltre is maybe an example of a guy who fulfills the first requirement but not the second. He's probably going to wind up as a legitimate borderline hall-of-famer, but he isn't tremendously discussed and I think people are only recently catching on to how great of a player he has been for most of a decade. Someone like Matt Kemp fulfills the second requirement but not the first. He's maybe one of the 8-10 media favorites in baseball right now and as such he might be seen as one of the game's bigger star players, while on the field he's been very good but not dominant for a long enough period of time to fit many people's label of a superstar based on statistics only.

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Gonna have to go ahead and disagree with Beltran being a "superstar." Very good player, yes, but not a superstar. Also wouldn't put Howard on the borderline list. Gonna take more than a year or two to make you are borderline superstar.

My case for Beltran is that he's 8th on the active rWAR list, at 62.3, he is a 7 time all-star, three time Gold Glove, and former Rookie of the Year, who has had 8 100 RBI seasons. However, I do see the arguments for leaving him off the list. Just a matter of personal preference.

Braun is definitely a superstar. Cano and Longoria are really close as well.
Maybe Beltre too. I think he ends up a Hall of Famer.

They are all deserving of consideration. Braun's PED test bothers me and that's one reason I left him off. I agree he has a strong case.

I should add that I left Chipper Jones (81.5 career rWAR) and Scott Rolen (66.6 rWAR) off my list. Jones is only off because I consider him to be retired now; he was a superstar. Rolen has a good career case, but it's been about 6-8 years since he was really at his peak, so I just don't think he quite gets to keep superstar status.

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ArPe

If you take into account media hype and name recognition (and talent...) Adam Jones is borderline.

Jones is not borderline a super star. He's a good CF prone to lapses in the field. He struggles swinging at low and outside junk, doesn't walk much lower obp than a super star. He certainly overrated here and in the local media including the Orioles owned MASN. Hes certainly a good player.

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ArPe

Jones is not borderline a super star. He's a good CF prone to lapses in the field. He struggles swinging at low and outside junk, doesn't walk much lower obp than a super star. He certainly overrated here and in the local media including the Orioles owned MASN. Hes certainly a good player.

I wouldn't say Jones is overrated here. There are what, 3,000 posters on this board? With a community that big you are always going to find a number of posters who overrate a particular player and are vocal about it, and other people who always stress the player's flaws without giving enough credit for the positives the player brings. But overall, I think the board is pretty objective on Jones. The vast majority would say he is a good to very good player, but not a superstar. Of course, different people also have different criteria for how good a player has to be to deserve to be called a superstar. To some people, there are 50-75 players they'd call a superstar. But to me, that cheapens the term.

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