10 Most Hated MLB Players in the Game Today

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 26: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on from within a pile of players during a bench-clearing incident in the second inning against the New York Yankees during MLB game action on September 26, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays, widely regarded as MLB’s most hated team, feature two players in the top 10 | Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Major League Baseball players have a pretty good reputation. The coolest ones actually hang out on the field to sign autographs before games, create their own charities, and otherwise have a positive impact on the community. You’ll find them chatting with the opposition during breaks in the action; they’ll even take selfies with fans when they have a chance. But ballplayers are people, and there’s always that one guy on the 25-man roster who gets under everyone’s skin — players, coaches, and fans alike.

In the early days, Ty Cobb was the guy you avoided; more recently, fellows like John Rocker and Curt Schilling inspired teammates to look busy or start walking the other way. On the field, there is no escaping the team’s most disliked player, as he tends to spark bench-clearing brawls and other types of altercations.

Here are the 10 most hated MLB players in the game today.

10. Brett Lawrie

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox looks on during the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Is a KISS cover band playing tonight? Should camouflage sleeves blend in with wrist tattoos? Such questions arise when Brett Lawrie plays baseball. | Al Bello/Getty Images

Some say Brett Lawrie competes with “a hockey player’s mentality”; most people just think he plays like an idiot. Whether screaming his head off after the one hit he gets every few days or showing up his third-base coach, Lawrie is a shining example of how not to act on the diamond.

A 2016 series between Oakland and Kansas City had his powers to infuriate on full display. After a series of scuffles he more or less started, Lawrie took his time during postgame interviews to talk trash about Royals fans. His personality and his .734 career OPS explain why he’s been on three teams in the last three years.

9. Yasiel Puig

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 17: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a strike out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Hatred seems to ebb and flow with the abilities of the player in question. In Yasiel Puig’s case, the hate-meter is running lower than it did in recent years, when the rambunctious outfielder was wont to flip his bat after a flyout to medium right-center field or a well-struck single. Indeed, a 2016 trip to the minor leagues mellowed Puig a bit, but within a few weeks of his recall Madison Bumgarner wanted to kill him, so he’s kept at least some of his mojo.

8.  Yordano Ventura

Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals

Royals starter Yordano Ventura | Ed Zurga/Getty Images

While Manny Machado is not liked by everyone, most agree he was in the right when he got in a fight with Yordano Ventura in 2016. The Royals pitcher had been trying to hit Machado all night, and when he finally did, a brawl ensued. Ventura has been sparking confrontations for a few years now. At various points, he’s been close to a fight with Adam Eaton, Mike Trout, and several members of the Blue Jays. His habit of beaning hitters to settle scores won’t win him any new fans around the league, and he seems OK with that.

7. Jonathan Papelbon

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals

Many a batter has wanted to tangle with Papelbon over the years | Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Papelbon could easily take No. 1 on any most hated list, but since he choked Bryce Harper in 2015 he’s become less relevant, career-wise. Prior to that incident, Papelbon was known for complaining his way into trades, throwing beanballs, and weighing in on politics. During his tenure in Philly, Papelbon grabbed his crotch to show the hometown crowd his gratitude, then got into a shoving match with the umpire who had ejected him. Nearly everyone can agree about disliking Papelbon.

6. Rougned Odor

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 05: Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Seattle Mariners in the sixth inning at Safeco Field on September 5, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

Odor’s aggressive style of play is well known around the league | Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Though he’s most famous for his epic punch to Jose Bautista’s jaw, Rougned Odor has been in the middle of brawls since he was a 17-year-old playing his first minor league games. Hank Conger, Joe Panik, Johnny Giavotella and many others have felt the wrath of Odor in one way or another. Fans of opposing teams (especially in Toronto and Houston) have come to dislike him passionately. Fans in the Arlington area, on the other hand, considered him a hero for clocking Bautista. He’ll never have to pay for barbecue again at Heim’s in Fort Worth.

5. AJ Pierzynski

Maybe it’s his time out of the limelight on a terrible Braves team, or maybe he’s mellowed with age. Whatever it is, people seem (to quote Ozzie Guillen) to hate A.J. Pierzynski “a little less” these days. Back in his White Sox days, Pierzynski was universally despised by players and fans alike. He always enjoyed baiting the opposition, and he never seemed surprised when someone punched him in the face. There are countless episodes to recount, but the above video of his throwdown with Michael Barrett tells most of the story.

4. Carlos Gomez

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 01: Carlos Gomez #30 of the Houston Astros celebrates his two-run home run in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park on July 1, 2016 in Houston, Texas.

During his many stops around both leagues, Carlos Gomez has made his share of enemies | Bob Levey/Getty Images

Back when Go-Go Time was a thing, many saw Carlos Gomez pimping home runs (or anything close), yelling at opposing benches, and otherwise being the really loud guy the other team and its fans hate. He made his share of enemies in Pittburgh, Atlanta, and New York as a Brewer and Astro. Things — including Gomez’s talent — calmed down a lot since his decline came on suddenly in 2015, but you can still catch him pissing off opponents on the night when he finds it again.

3. Josh Donaldson

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 20, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

In recent years, Josh Donaldson has been at the center of many bench-clearing episodes | Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Though his 2015 MVP season was one to remember, most people think of Josh Donaldson as the guy who really likes to anger the opposing team. Whether standing in the batter’s box to really get a long look at a home run, making obscene gestures at the other club’s dugout, or starting a fight with his own manager, he’s not drawing any Joe DiMaggio comparisons around the league. “Classless” was the way Anaheim pitching coach Mike Butcher described his on-field behavior in 2015.

2. Bryce Harper

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 3: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals takes a breather in the dugout during the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Washington 7-2.

Though one of the game’s great young stars, Bryce Harper is by no means a happy-go-lucky guy | Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

We can’t remember another ESPN profile that ended this way: “So … douche?” That was the impression the writer thought readers might have of Bryce Harper after finishing the article, and he was spot-on with that take. The 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 MVP has been a lightning rod of sorts since he burst upon the scene. He makes no apologies for the “hard-nosed, chip-on-my-shoulder kind of” play he exhibits on the field, nor for the obnoxious stuff he does between and outside the lines while playing baseball.

Harper is not afraid to call out teammates in postgame interviews, which is a no-no in any profession, and the choking at the hands of Papelbon is just some of the feedback he’s received over the years. (Cole Hamels beaning him just for being himself also comes to mind.) The crazy part about the Papelbon episode is how many took the unpopular closer’s side. So it’s not just opposing fans and umpires who hate Harper; it’s also his teammates. But hey, the guy’s just trying to make baseball more fun.

1. Jose Bautista

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts to a called strike against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on September 7, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Bautista, who never saw a call he liked, reacts to a called third strike | Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After Odor punched Bautista in the face early on in the 2016 season, you could almost hear slow clapping around the league. Instead of “who does this young punk [Odor] think he is,” MLB players were more in the “it couldn’t have happened sooner” camp. Bautista is an expert at rubbing people the wrong way, whether via interview, dirty slide, or obnoxious bat flip. “I don’t come to the yard to make friends, man,” he once said, and he definitely aced that part. But it’s more fun letting ballplayers tell the story.

“On behalf of former and current MLB players I would like to thank Rougned Odor for that beautiful punch,” an ex-Padres pitcher wrote on Twitter (via SI.com). “Bautista got exactly what he deserved,” said another ex-player who later became a GM. As reporters went around the league and ask players their reactions, one thing became clear: Jose Bautista is the least liked player in Major League Baseball.

Statistics courtesy of ESPN and Baseball-Reference.

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