When I'm on this site, It really annoys me when certain stats are used to argue a players greatness or lack thereof. People dont realize that there are stats that have been completely blown up for years and years, but actually have very little effect on a teams overall performance. I find it necessary to compile a list of the most overrated hitting and pitching stats in baseball today.
Most overrated hitting stats(No particular order)
Batting Average- People dont realize that batting ave. is only a small part of a players ability to generate runs for his teams. A great player could have a batting ave. of .250, and a mediocre player could have a .300 batting average. It has been proven over time that On base percentage is a much more sucessful way of measuring a players contributions for a team. If a high batting Ave. doesnt compute to a high obp, then it simply should not be used in arguments.
RBI's- This could very well be the most overrated stat in baseball. It's completely unfair to measure a player's greatness on his ability to load RBI's onto the back of his baseball card. The only way for a player to get a high number of rbi's is to have batters on base ahead of him, and the players in the middle of the order always have the most rbi oppurtunities. RBI's dont translate into a players greatness per say, merely that he has more chances to hit with men on base. See Joe Carter for more info.
Stolen bases- People think that if someone has a whole bunch of Stolen bases that he must be a great baserunner and a huge contribution to his team. But that is not the case. Stolen bases have such a little effect on a teams overall run creation, and if a player doesnt have a 70% sucess rate, he is actually costing his team runs. Sad, but true. See Juan Pierre for more info
Most Overrated Pitching stats(no particular order)
Wins and losses- People people people. When will we realize that a pitcher can not be measured by the amount of wins or losses he amasses? A win is a team effort, and if a pitcher doesnt receive the proper run support, a win is not going to come. Wins and losses are one of the most inconsistent stats in baseball. A pitcher can win 20 games one year, then very few the next, and it all is based on the amount of run support and the team's ability to field behind him. Matt Cain will have a word with you about that.
ERA- A pitchers sucess is also almost always measured in his ability to post a low era. The thing is, there are so many things wrong with this stat. If a pitcher leaves a game with runners on base, and a reliever fails to keep those runners from scoring, the other pitcher will still get tagged with the earned runs. If a pitcher has 5 straight 7 inning games with only 2 er's, followed by a game in which he gave up 8 runs in 4 innings, he will still be rated on his overall era, even though he was dominant in the other five games.
Saves- This is probably the most overrated stat for pitchers. How can greatness be measured by your ability to get three outs without giving up three runs? A closer comes in and its his job to close the game without totally blowing it. This stat has mainly been around for only 30 years, and it is being used as hall of fame credentials for such pitchers as Bruce Sutter and the still not in Lee Smith. However, I do believe there are two hall of fame closers in the game today, Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman.
Last overrated stat
Fld Pct- Fielding pct has been used to measure a fielders ability for years. The fielder with the highest fielding pct at his position usually wins the gold glove. But stats like Range Factor are just now starting to be recognized as a fielders true ability. Your not going to have a bad fielding pct. if your not comitting errors on balls you couldnt even get to with an 8 foot rake, while the guys who actually do have the range will probably have more errors because they can get to more balls, giving them more total chances in the field.