Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Around The Diamond: Shortstop

A shortstop is the most athletic player on the baseball diamond. Since they have to be great fielders(second hardest position) they aren't expected to be as good of hitters. The mid 90's and early 00's produced new SS's never heard of, great hitting shortstops. They were A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada all in the mold of Cal Ripken. A-Rod and Nomar were the only ones in this group that fielded well, the rest of them were below average fielders. The same two have shifted positions, A-Rod, although being a much better fielder than Jeter let "The Captain" stay at short while Nomar switched because of injuries to 1st Base/3rd Base. A-Rod is now the best player in baseball and in the top five hitters in baseball while the rest have all fallen. Jeter is still a great hitter but his power is slowly declining. One thing they all had in common was that they weren't so fast(except A-Rod's 40-40 season) and didn't have the best arms. Now a lot of SS's have both great arms and speed but are much worse hitters than Jeter and Nomar like Rafael Furcal and Jose Reyes.

Which style would you rather? The great fielding, good hitting, OK power, great arm, plus speed guy or the below average fielding, excellent hitting, great power, decent arm, decent speed guy. Defense is extremely underrated right now because there is no exact way of judging their contributions compared to hitting but I think defense is almost as important as hitting and therefore I would take the Furcal over the Jeter type player.