Anytime you hear a discussion start up about whether or not a player is underrated, it's probably a good time to take a stroll.
It's an endlessly frustrating experience, mostly because one person's idea of underrated can differ greatly from those on the opposite side. That creates an argument about what it means to be underrated and by whom one must be underrated which leads you away to the question that started the whole thing in the first place.
Which is fine because it is almost guaranteed that having a conversation about whether or not a player is underrated means that he isn't. Usually it means that he's accurately rated, which is to say that he is recognized as a good player who isn't one of the selected few lifted up to deity status by fans and/or media. But our world doesn't do so well with people being accurately recognized for their performance, so we must put them on one side of the line.
That leads us to Michael Young, who has been named the Most Underrated player in baseball in a poll of 100 major leaguers by Men's Journal magazine. The question of definition is important here because it's hard to see a seven-time All-Star as some undiscovered baseball artist starving out of the spotlight.
Let's not even take this season into account since it is pretty hard to underrate the contributions of a player who has contributed nothing to his team. We'll only look at the bigger picture when it comes to Young.
We already mentioned the All-Star appearances, including one last season so it isn't as if Young's appreciation society has somehow shed members in recent years. He even received a first-place MVP vote last season, something plenty of people have argued is wildly overrating Young's contributions to the team.
An answer might come from a quote in the article, which comes via the Dallas Morning News because the article isn't available online from the magazine.
"He gets screwed over by his own organization."
The Rangers didn't trade Young before last season and moved him to designated hitter, both against his wishes. That could be read as underrating someone's abilities, right up to the point where Young remains on the Rangers in the starting lineup.
It was such a tragedy that he had one of the best seasons of his career. That was the third position change of Young's career and all three replacements (Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre) have been as good or better than Young since taking over.
That screams accurately rated. It also screams that such discussions are about as essential to our daily lives as ones about voting for Stevenson over Eisenhower.