Fellow players rank Cubs' Cody Bellinger as one of the game's most overrated stars

A lack of true star power is one of the chief complaints surrounding this Cubs team.
Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

There were all kinds of interesting tidbits to come out of The Athletic's annual survey of MLB players. Unsurprisingly, Shohei Ohtani ran away with the title of 'best player in baseball' once again and Jazz Chisolm took home 'most overrated' player in the game - but the highest-paid player on the Chicago Cubs roster, Cody Bellinger, also made an appearance on that same 'overrated' list.

To be clear, Chisolm was, far and away, the leading vote-getter here, earning 20.3% of the 59 tallied votes. Anthony Rendon came in second with 10.2%, followed by Carlos Correa (6.7%), Tim Anderson (5%) and Jack Flaherty (5%). Then came Bellinger, who received 3.3% of the vote, tied with Pete Alonso, Alex Bregman, Manny Machado, Blake Snell and Elly De La Cruz.

Cubs lack that clear-cut, household superstar to build a roster around

So while he wasn't a front-runner for the title, it's still disconcerting to see the Cubs' marquee free agent signing from last winter in the running here. Making more than $27 million this season, Bellinger has been worth 0.8 bWAR/0.9 fWAR to this point in 2024, well behind the league leaders in that regard such as Aaron Judge (4.9 fWAR) in the AL and Mookie Betts (3.3 fWAR) in the NL.

According to Baseball Reference, Bellinger has been the Cubs' 10th-most valuable player this year. If the offense is going to find its footing and get hot heading into the summer months, it's going to need Bellinger to replicate the bounceback showing he turned in last season. He hit his stride last July and, hopefully, that means another hot stretch is coming.

Looking past Bellinger for a moment, a major criticism of the Cubs post-2021 sell-off is a lack of true star power. Dansby Swanson, who came to Chicago on a seven-year, $177 million deal prior to the 2023 season is supposed to be that guy, but there's a chasm between him and someone like Juan Soto - or even a name that's popped up in recent trade rumors, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Despite being one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world and playing in a major media market, the Cubs have yet to sign a $200 million contract. If they want to put themselves back on the national radar, it might take Jed Hoyer breaking that barrier in free agency and adding a true household name to the roster in the years to come.