Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ranking the top 10 MLB shortstops

by: Chase Fitzgerald
Staff Writer

I made up this list by asking a couple of people to send me their top ten players for each position. Whatever position each player was on the list, they received that many points. The player with the least amount of points, got the top spot. If a player was not included on a top ten list, they received an “11”. I want to thank all of the people who voted and there will be another top ten list coming out again on Monday. Enjoy.

1. Troy Tulowitzki

Last season’s stats: HR: 8 RBI: 27 AVG: .287 OPS: .846 OBP: .360 SLG: .486

The short stop position is one of the least productive in the league hitting wise so it’s rare to see someone put up the kind of numbers Tulowitzki does and play SS. He has had an OPS over .900 the past 4 years excluding last year which was cut short because of injuries. He had swept the awards for short stops in 2010 and 2011 receiving two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. It’s going to be interesting to see how he comes off this injury and if he can return to the play he was the season before. I am a huge Tulo fan and I think he comes back better than ever as he proves to all the doubters that he is the best short stop in the league.

2. Jose Reyes

Last season’s stats: HR: 11 RBI: 57 AVG: .287 OPS: .780 OBP .347 SLG: .433

Reyes has been one of the best short stops in the league for a while and even though the name on the front of the jersey keeps changing, the name on the back doesn’t as he is still one of the best in the league. Even though the Marlins didn’t have a great season last year, he had a solid one hitting .287 while scoring 86 times. It was even close to the season before though where he won the NL batting title and had an OPS of .877. He was traded to the Blue Jays this off-season and I wouldn’t be all to surprised if he comes to the AL with a bang.

3. Ian Desmond

Last season’s stats: HR: 25 RBI: 73 AVG: .292 OPS: .845 OBP: .335 SLG: .511

One of the least talked about short stops in the league, Desmond quietly was arguably the best short stop in the MLB last season having an OPS of .845 while hitting 25 homeruns. His play was one of the main factors in the Nationals’ incredible run last year and his play also earned him a Silver Slugger. He led all SS in homeruns, slugging, and OPS despite missing some time this season with injuries. He is one of the players that headline the young core in Washington and If he keeps improving, he could challenge Tulo for the title of best SS in the league next year.

4. Starlin Castro

Last season’s stats: HR: 14 RBI: 78 AVG: .283 OPS: .753 OBP: .323 SLG: .430

Castro is one of the best up and coming shortstops in the league and is one of the Cubs only bright spots. Castro led all short stops in RBIs which is very impressive considering he’s on the Cubs and was solid defensively at times. Castro would make a couple nice plays and right after let an easy grounder go through his legs. Castro will never get better until he conquers the mental aspect of the game as he continues to make boneheaded mistakes every game including; forgetting how many outs there are and just basically not being with it. Castro is still very young and I think he can get over his problems but until he does he’s never going to reach his full potential.

5. Derek Jeter

Last season’s stats: HR: 15 RBI: 58 AVG: .316 OPS: .791 OBP: .362 SLG: .429

Jeter is one of the greatest short stops of all time and even though he has lost a step or two, he still is a heck of a ballplayer. He led the entire AL in hits with 216 and was the key reason why the Yankees were only a couple of games from the World Series. His defense was just awful this season which is a big reason why he isn’t higher on the list but that is extremely under “Jeter like” and comes natural with age. His offense though, is definitely still there. He led all SS in average, hits, and OBP which earned him another Silver Slugger and showed everyone why he is one of the best leadoff hitters to ever play the game.

6. Jimmy Rollins

Last season’s stats: HR: 23 RBI: 68 AVG: .250 OPS: .743 OBP: .316 SLG: .427

Rollins might not be the best short stop in the game anymore but he still remains one of the most productive in the league. He’s still good for 20 homers and 100 runs a season which he still accomplished despite the Phillies struggling greatly this year. Along with his offense, he is one of the best defensive short stops in the league earning his 4th Gold Glove this year. Rollins average might not be as high as it used to be but he still managed to get a solid OBP and OPS while bringing many intangibles to the diamond. Rollins might not be his 2007 MVP form anymore, but he is still one of the best in the league.

7. Elvis Andrus

Last season’s stats: HR: 3 RBI: 62 AVG: .286 OPS: .727 OBP: .349 SLG: .378

Elvis Andrus has the most potential out of probably all the short stops in the league as he continues to get better each and every season. The former number 1 prospect has been impressing many people with both his defense and offense and even earned himself one number 1 vote on this list. Andrus was second in WAR, OBP, and 4th in hits among all short stops. He isn’t really a power hitting guy so his OPS took a hit but he is slowly reaching his potential and will become one hell of a hitter.

8. Hanley Ramirez

Last season’s stats: HR: 24 RBI: 92 AVG: .257 OPS: .759 OBP: .322 SLG: .437

Hanley Ramirez has been moving back and forth from third base to short stop but it seems like the Dodgers have finally put Hanley at short for good. It is safe to say that Ramirez isn’t the MVP caliber player he used to be. He has been declining the past couple season but he didn’t do half bad last year hitting 92 RBIs but his average was still .257 and he wasn’t all that special. Unlike other players, I don’t expect him to have a big bounce back year and I think Hanley is around a .265 hitter and he has passed his prime even if he is only 29. But, Hanley could always surprise me.

9. Astrubal Cabrera

Last season’s stats: HR: 16 RBI: 68 AVG: .270 OPS: .762 OBP: .338 SLG: .423

Just like with pretty much everything in Cleveland, Astrubal Cabrera constantly gets over looked despite having a great all around season. He was top 5 among short stops in OBP, OPS, and RBIs while having a solid 3.0 WAR. He didn’t have as good of a season as last year where he had a WAR of 4.6 and had 92 RBIs. He has become a threat to hit the long-ball the past two seasons which has improved his slugging greatly. His defense is about average but he makes the spectacular play every now and again and he is just all around a very solid player for the Indians.

10. JJ Hardy

Last season’s stats: HR: 22 RBI: 68 AVG: .238 OPS: .671 OBP: .282 SLG: .389

Hardy is a very peculiar case as he has one of the lowest averages and OBPs in the league but he is a very productive hitter hitting 22 homeruns and 68 RBIs leading the Orioles to a division championship. He had a much better season last season having an OPS of .800 and hitting 30 homeruns so I feel confident in calling this year a fluke. His great defense was finally recognized as he was awarded his first Gold Glove and is will definitely not be his last. Hardy has proven to be a great pickup for the Orioles and I expect him to have a strong bounce back year.

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