Today I’ll move to the player who is often the captain of the infield – the shortstop. In what follows, I will discuss my list of the top-10 shortstops taken from the 2009 Fanball Annual Guide that was on newsstands prior to the start of the 2009 season, and see how I did in terms of predicting their success.
To read previous positional reviews click on the following link:
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Jose Reyes
3. Jimmy Rollins
4. Rafael Furcal
5. Troy Tulowitzki
6. Michael Young
7. Derek Jeter
8. Jhonny Peralta
9. Miguel Tejada
10. J.J. Hardy
Ramirez was amazing, as we have come to expect. He led the NL in batting average (.342), went 20/20 (24 homers, 27 steals), and knocked in 106 while scoring 101. He was the second most valuable player behind Albert Pujols in 2009.
Reyes had a completely lost season (like many Mets) with multiple leg injuries. After stealing at least 56 bags while scoring at least 99 runs for 4-straight seasons, Reyes feel to a mere 36 games played and his outlook for ’10 is in serious doubt as his legs must be healthy for his game to shine.
Rollins wasn’t at his best, but he was still pretty damn good (.250-21-77-100-31). He is one of the “best” out-makers in the business, he posted a pathetic .296 OBP, but he racked up 672 ABs at the top of one of the best offenses in baseball so his counting numbers were still terrific.
Furcal just wasn’t able to come back from that back injury stealing a mere 12 bases, less than half his previous worst mark in a full season (25 in 2003). He scored 92 runs, but without the steals, and hitting a career worst .269, it wasn’t anywhere near an effective season.
Tulowitzki was hitting .226 with five homers at the end of May, but he went nuts thereafter. In fact, he was one of the best hitters in baseball in the second half hitting .344 with 16 homers, 55 RBI and a 1.043 OPS after the All-Star break. All told he hit .297 with 32 homers, 92 RBI, 101 runs and 20 steals. A wonderful season.
Young didn’t play short all year, he was at third for 134 games, but still qualified based on his ’08 work. Young was injured late in the year but still hit .322 with 22 homers, 68 RBI and 76 runs. He is often overlooked on draft day, but year after year he simply produces.
Jeter finished third in the AL MVP voting as he produced his best season since 2006 hitting .334 with 18 homers, 66 RBI, 107 runs and 30 steals. Also posted his second .400 OBP in nine years at .406.
Peralta, like Young, spent the year playing third base (105 games). OK, he also saw action in 41 games at short, but it looks like his career will now be at the hot corner. Though he knocked in a solid 83 runs, he hit a mere .254, far from high enough to offset a poor total of 11 homers which was a 5-year low.
Tejada had another strong effort returning to the .300 level after falling short the previous two seasons (he hit .313). Tejada has lost his power, he hit only 14 homers, but he did knock in 86 runs, the 10th time in 11 years that he has knocked in at least 80 runs. He is a free agent as of this writing.
Hardy was the worst performer on this list. A back injury derailed him early on, and he simply wasn’t able to ever get the stick working (.229-11-47). He was moved to the Twins in the offseason where he will try to rediscover the swing that produced back-to-back efforts of 26 and 24 homers in 2007-08.
By Ray Flowers