2009 Impact Rookie: Chris Getz

With incumbent second baseman Alexei Ramirez shifting to shortstop for 2009, the keystone will be home to rookie Chris Getz this season. The 25-year-old prospect will not offer as much power at the position as Ramirez did, but he still brings a lot to the table.

In 2008, Getz hit .302/.366/.448 with 11 homers and 11 stolen bases in 404 Triple-A at-bats. He also posted rates of 9.2 BB% and 13.1 K%. In 10 games with the White Sox, Getz hit .286. Originally selected out of the University of Michigan in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, the left-handed hitter put together a career minor league average of .286. This spring, he held off challenges for the position from Brent Lillibridge (acquired from Atlanta) and Jayson Nix (a former Colorado prospect). Getz has hit well with a line of .317/.388/.433 with six walks, six strikeouts and four stolen bases in 60 at-bats.

The White Sox system does not have a surefire second base prospect coming up behind Getz, so the job should be his for awhile, unless he struggles mightily. Long term, though, he projects as more of a utility player who can play all over the infield and even in the outfield.

Lillibridge could see time at second base as well this season. The White Sox club may also rely on him as a utility player who can fill in all over the field, including the outfield. He’s done OK this spring by hitting .275 but he’s walked just once in 69 at-bats. Lillibridge has also accumulated 23 strikeouts, so his approach does not really work with his skill set, which is based on speed.

Nix had a good shot at the second base job for Chicago, after opening 2008 as the Rockies’ starting second baseman. Unfortunately he hit just .125 in 22 games and was demoted to the minors. Nix signed on with White Sox as a free agent this past off-season and was hitting .462 in 13 at-bats before straining his quad. Once he comes of the DL, he’ll have to work his way back into the picture by playing well in Triple-A.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

9 Responses to “2009 Impact Rookie: Chris Getz”

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  1. Matt B. says:

    This guy is a sleeper at a thin position for sure. He could be a Kelly Johnson type…

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  2. Jim says:

    “The White Sox system does not have a surefire second base prospect coming up behind Getz, so the job should be his for awhile, unless he struggles mightily.”

    So, you’re not counting Gordon Beckham then, even though he is apparently switching from SS to 2B and could be called up in the next 2 months if he shows enough in the minors?

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  3. Erik says:

    Yeah, I was going to say, I think Beckham takes over 2B in 2010, if not sooner.

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    • Kevin says:

      This assumes, of course, that Chicago doesn’t get smart and move the Cuban Missile to center, freeing SS up for Beckham.

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  4. AJP says:

    Alexei does not belong in CF, he’s a natural shortstop. If Getz is that good of a hitter then he can be moved to CF because he actully has experiance in CF.

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  5. AJP says:

    I gues playing in SS in Cuba his WHOLE career discredits that it’s his natural position. Alexei also played CF but his primary position was SS and had very little experiance at 2B. The transition he made last year not only in terms or offense but also in defense was amazing and gets very overlooked. UZR cannot accuratly measure someones range because numbers cannot do that yet. The only way to tell if someone has good range is by the eye test and last year Alexei had some of the best range you’d ever see. He made amazing plays all year plays that shouldn’t have even been made. Alexei is going to be a SS because its his natural position and don’t be surprised to see him win a gold glove because he’s going to be amazing.

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  6. Eric Cioe says:

    Yeah, he can inherit the SS Gold Glove from that other defensive whiz, Michael Young.

    What do you mean UZR can’t measure range because numbers can’t do that yet? They might not be able to do it perfectly, but taken in sum, a few defensive metrics can give a good idea of how a player looks in the field. He might have made some impressive looking plays, but then you put Adam Everett or someone like him on the same field on the same play and he makes it look routine, so you don’t think he’s as good

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Last spring training, the talk with the White Sox was that Ramirez was VERY talented at shortstop, but the word that kept coming up at 2B was “raw.” They did not think he could handle 2nd, so Uribe got the job. Due to offense, Uribe lost the job and Ramirez caught on surprisingly quickly at 2B. As a White Sox fan, I did see a lot of range, especially into the OF, and he had a knack for pulling off ‘great’ plays, though the ratings indicate that he didn’t fare so well on the routine. I expect he will be a better SS than he was at 2B, as it IS his natural position, the White Sox thought he was great at SS and terrible at 2B last spring, and he seems to have the tools. I expect he’ll be better equipped to handle the routine plays at the position he knows better.

    I think we need to look at his SS defense as more of an unknown. If he were transitioning from 2B to SS, his UZR at 2B would be telling, but since he was playing out of position last year, without any time in the minors learning the position, I’d rather assume league average (0) defense.

    My 3 cents.

    P.S. It still might be best to move him to CF and use Beckham as the ’10 SS. Depends on Getz/Nix/Lillibridge v. Wise/Anderson/Owens, I guess.

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