Shortstops: An Update On Futility

Earlier this season I wrote about the crop of shortstops that came off the board after Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki in every draft and how bereft of talent it was. With over a third of the season completed, have things changed very much? Let’s take a look.

To begin the season only the catcher position had fewer players ranked in the Yahoo! top 100 than our lovable shortstops. Here are those players with their preseason and up to date rankings

  Pre Current
Hanley Ramirez 2 300
Troy Tulowitzki 3 44
Jose Reyes 24 10
Jimmy Rollins 37 132
Derek Jeter 40 201
Alexei Ramirez 62 71
Stephen Drew 92 81
Elvis Andrus 98 50

The most notable drop off is Hanley. Dave excellently detailed his struggles in a piece last month, and the problem hasn’t changed; Hanley is still hitting far too many ground balls which is killing is power. I’m never going to turn my back on Hanley,and if he has a huge second half those of you who do will regret it. But, up to this point he’s been nearly unplayable.

The drop off for Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins could, and probably should, have been expected. Both are aging and coming off sub-par seasons. Jeter had a great 2009 season, but that seems to have been a mirage, while Rollins hasn’t had a good season since 2008. Yes he hit 21 homers and scored 100 runs in 2009 but he also had an OBP of .296. Rollins will still steal you 30+ bases but the 20 home run power is out the window. The most pleasant surprise is the resurgence of Jose Reyes. Coming off two ineffective and injury pleagued seasons, he seems to be back to his old ways. He’s hitting .342, albeit with a .365 BABIP, and is on pace to steal 50+ bases for the fourth time in his career. There’s almost no way he keeps this up, but he’s also on pace for over 20 triples. We talk about players having 20-20 potential, but never in that regard.

The rest of the players on that list have produced about as well as you would have expected, though I don’t think anyone pegged Andrus for three homers thus far. Tulowitzki is suffering from some awful luck – his BABIP is .252. His plate discipline and batted ball data aren’t drastically out of line from last season so I’d expect his batting average (.270) to rebound.

Here is the current Yahoo! list of top 100 shortstops:

Jose Reyes 10  
Asdrubal Cabrera 16  
Troy Tulowitzki 44  
Elvis Andrus 50  
Alexei Ramirez 71
Stephen Drew 81

The group went from 8 players to 6, with the only new name being Asdrubal Cabrera. I extolled his virtues two weeks ago so we won’t go into them again. Suffice it to say he’s been excellent.

Twenty three shortstops began the season ranked in the top 300. That number currently sits at ninteen. What we expected to be a weak class of shortstops has only gotten weaker.

Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

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11 years ago

I’ve been rotating Yunel/Starlin Castro. It’s worked out pretty well because they’ve both been streaky. The downfall of SS productivity has been really good for all of us who didn’t get Tulo/Hanley. You don’t lose much by punting the SS for a middle-of-the-pack guy