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Stalwart Bauxite AWeb posted this in another thread just a while ago:

" ... even a declined Scutaro is one of the top 10-15 SS in the majors, unles his defense evaporates. Not exactly a great position in MLB right now."

Maybe we were all spoiled by the Jeter/A-Rod/Nomar "trinity" a few years ago, following on the heels of a Larkin/Ripken era launch that really started us down the road to higher shortstop-as-productive-hitter expectations. But is it true that short is a weak position in the major leagues right now? Let's see ...

  • Note 1: I am not doing anything remotely statistical here, it's all impressions, so feel free to tell me if you believe I have someone miscategorized!
  • Note 2: Because I am lazy (and, um, at work) I only did the A.L. Thoughts on the N.L. class of shortstops? Post 'em here!
  • Note 3: Players listed below are those who have played the most at short for each team in the A.L. in 2009; only 13 are listed as Yunieksy Betancourt holds that spot for both SEA and KCR right now.

Going to the Hall of Fame: Derek Jeter

Potential All-Star: Jason Bartlett, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alexei Ramirez, Erick Aybar, Elvis Andrus

Solid, productive: Marco Scutaro, Adam Everett

Replacement: Nick Green, Cesar Izturis, Nick Punto, Yuniesky Betancourt

Overall, I'd say we have one Hall of Famer -- whether you like it or not, that's where Jeter is headed; three young guys who could eventually be "trinity"-class shortstops in Andrus, Cabrera and maybe Ramirez; a couple of guys who are nice solid players, including Scutaro; and four who are really just placeholders right now. Yes, yes, Scutaro and Everett are very differnt kinds of players, and Scutaro is almost inarguably the more valuable of the two, but hey, we've only got four categories listed!

Anyway, that's not bad at all, I think. The current class of shortstops is right about where it should be.

Okay, arguments welcome and invited ...

Is MLB running short at short? | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Matthew E - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#206207) #
I'd like to compare that to other years before I concluded that this was a normal year or not.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#206210) #
Scutaro's 2009 is an All-Star quality year. 

The regular shortstops in the 1973 AL were alphabetically: a 39 year-old Aparicio, Belanger, Brinkman, Campaneris, Frank Duffy, Tim Johnson, Eddie Leon, a 35 year old Gene Michael, Freddie Patek and Danny Thompson.  When Dan Rosenhek makes the case that Bert Campaneris deserves induction into the Hall of Merit, the poor quality of the other shortstops in the league forms part of the argument. If you look at the 1991 AL, you get: Bordick, Alvaro Espinoza, Felix Fermin, Gagne, Guillen, Huson, Manny Lee, Ripken, Luis Rivera, Schofield, Spiers, Vizquel.  Better than 1973 but probably not as good as the 2009 version.

Anyways, the AL shortstops of 2009 are obviously not as impressive as the trinity of the late 90s or the great ones of the early 80s (Ripken, Yount, Trammell, Fernandez, Franco), but I would guess that they are no worse than average if you take the longer view.

zeppelinkm - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#206215) #
The one guy I really can't wrap my head around is Jason Bartlett. It has to be a one year blip. He has always been a good base stealer, but nothing in his past suggests he should be slugging over .500! The high BA doesn't surprise me as we all know guys who make pretty good contact can have a year where everything seems to find a hole, which I think must be part of Bartlett's success this year.

Does he turn back into a .285/.345/.390 guy next year? Or does he carry forward some more of his new found power and still perform as a top 10 MLB SS?

I'd have to say without looking it up that the NL is deeper at the SS position.

They have Hanley Rameriz (debates about whether or not he should be SS aside) who is clearly the class of the position in MLB.

Then, a step below him but definitely a couple steps above the next group of SS's in the NL are Troy Tulowitski and Jose Reyes. Jimmy Rollins is probably closer to this group then the group below him, but he appears to have lost a step.

Then there is a group of good young SS's who with development could be AS's- Yunel Escobar, Stephen Drew, Everth Cabrera. Somewhere around that level of performance is a group of "solid" guys - Uribe, Theriot, Guzman. And then the "fading fast" stars like Tejada and Furcal.

And just what about Troy Tulowitski? He could easily be the 2nd best overall SS in all of MLB next year. (I looked this up..) but look at the season he's having this year: .285/.367/.534 (yup, a 901 OPS). His counting stats are not so bad either, 27 HR, 78 RBI, 85 runs, and 17 SB (albeit not a great SB %).


Really sorry to reopen this can of worms, but we really should be watching this guy every night and talking about how we have the best MI in all of baseball. Think of how a core of Lind, Hill, Tulo, Snider would perform... i'm sorry!  He also was absolutely brutal for all of April and May (after May he had 5 HR's and 16 ribbies, and was at .226/.319/.396).  It's quite possible he goes .300/.380/.550 next year with 30+ HR, 100 runs/rbis, and around 20 SB's. If not better.

Jim - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#206216) #

Is there really anyone who would debate Derek Jeter as a hall of famer?

AWeb - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#206217) #
I mostly meant my comment literally - SS is not a great position right now (although the NL list is more impressive than the AL, which had slipped my mind). It's not a terrible position, but for a SS 2009 Scutaro is clearly in the "potential all-star" category. fangraphs has him as the third most valuable SS in the majors this year, and it's not a stretch to see him having a "down" year in 2010 and being in the top 15. I just don't think people appreciate Scuraro enough on this team. For a depressing look at the past, cruise through Blue Jay shortstops during the past ten years. Eckstein, Woodward, Adams, Mcdonald, Gomez...all had their strengths and potential, but none were above average players while in Toronto. Most stunk.

Oh, and Adam Everett hasn't fielded well enough in two or three years to make up for his bat. He's a replacement level guy now.
Ozzieball - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#206218) #
Also Alexei Ramirez isn't that good, Jason Bartlett should be between solid and replacement until he shows another good year, and a separate category of awful should be created for Yuni.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#206221) #
Bartlett's career line is .288/.349/.395.  He was a very good defender for quite a few years, and probably is still average.  He's a lot like Scutaro, and a little better on both sides.
brent - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#206222) #

Was it this article that sparked the SS discussion? Here the Jays are with a huge contract for an underperforming CF in the midst of the strongest crop of CF perhaps in MLB history. Now that is reading the market wrong.

brent - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#206223) #
I forget who wrote it that the Jays had 30 games in 30 days, but it is actually 34 in 34 days. You could also say the Jays finish the season with 37 games in 38 days. I doubt the players would mind losing approximately 5% of their salary to have a much more reasonable schedule. With the unbalanced schedule it shouldn't be that hard to cut 8-12 games off the year. In Korea, I don't think the teams ever play on Mondays in the regular season (and have a shorter year with only like 8 teams in one league!). If the making the schedule is like directing airplanes, then cut a few games.  
Chuck - Thursday, September 17 2009 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#206224) #
I doubt the players would mind losing approximately 5% of their salary to have a much more reasonable schedule.

I wouldn't want to bet on that, and I'd want to bet even less on the owners willingly electing to forego 5% of their revenues.
jmoney - Friday, September 18 2009 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#206252) #
Scutaro's defense is really starting to lag in the final stretch of the season. I really hope that the Jays don't offer a contract to him. The only way I'd like to see him back is if he accepts arbitration and they get him for a year. Otherwise, take the draft picks. (and actually sign them)
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