Sitting here on the empty floor of my new home in California, my future is cloudy. It seems like it’s time to make a run and living, and writing, in the best state in the union (apologies New York, but take away one city and you fall behind a bit). Why live if not while doing the thing you love in your favorite place? Oh, and it’s time to update the shortstop rankings since it’s been a while since we last visited that part of the diamond. That much I do know.
It really looks like it’s time to do this. Derek Jeter is on pace to break his own personal record in ground balls, isn’t stealing bases at the clip that he manages in his good years, and isn’t putting up the other-worldly BABIPs of recent years. At his age, he’s always a candidate to slow down, and suddenly it seems like this is the year. If he isn’t going to have the plus batting average, his poor home run and stolen base totals look a lot less exciting.
As wrong as we might have been for pushing Jeter into the top tier for his excellent start, we were as right about keeping Jose Reyes near the top despite his poor first month. After an excellent June, Reyes looks like the man he used to be, and when he bags an extra 25 steals or so over Jeter, he’ll overcome any other advantages the elder New York shortstop has on him.
Another move at the top brings a healthy Rollins into the fold. He’s been a top-3 guy for some time, but his main fault is always there: he’s a bit of a batting average risk year-in and year-out. If the legs are iffy this year, he’s a risk to drop still.
The Next Best Thing:
4. Derek Jeter, New York AL (.338 wOBA, .353 ZiPS RoS wOBA)
5. Elvis Andrus, Texas (.333 wOBA, .331 ZiPS RoS wOBA)
6. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay (.359 wOBA, .360 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
7. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado (.386 wOBA, .368 ZiPS RoS wOBA)
8. Stephen Drew, Arizona (.334 wOBA, .338 ZiPS RoS wOBA)
Other than Jeter moving down, this tier is fairly uneventful. Andrus looks good, and with his speed might be able to maintain some of his strong BABIP, but he has almost negative power. All those grass guzzlers won’t turn into home runs any time soon, no matter how fast he is. Zobrist is looking like a Jeter-lite, or maybe a young Jeter, but the runs totals aren’t quite there yet. Drew is having a tough year, beset with injuries and some struggles against lefties. Not quite the peak year breakout that seemed like it could be on the way. We’ll keep him around for his upside a little longer, but not a whole lot longer.
9. Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles NL (.384 wOBA, .344 ZiPS RoS wOBA)
10. Alexei Ramirez, Chicago AL (.294 wOBA, .328 ZiPS RoS wOBA)
11. Erick Aybar, Los Angeles (.315 wOBA, .322 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
12. Yunel Escobar, Atlanta (.301 wOBA, .336 ZiPS wOBA)
13. Marco Scutaro, Boston (.328 wOBA, .348 ZiPS RoS wOBA)
14. Miguel Tejada, Baltimore (.307 wOBA, .332 ZiPS wOBA)
15. Ian Desmond, Washington (.291 wOBA, .319 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
16. Alex Gonzalez, Toronto (.344 wOBA, .302 ZiPs RoS wOBA)
It’s time to drop Jason Bartlett from the list. He’s losing time to Reid Brignac versus righties, and even if his BABIP regresses and gets his batting average up closer to .280, he’s just not showing any power and has three stolen bases on the year. Not much to like there.
We keep looking for a reason to move Alcides Escobar back onto the list, but at least Ian Desmond is playing every day and providing a tiny bit of power and speed for his owners. Miguel Tejada, on the other hand, might be seeing his long run of consecutive starts come to an end if upstart prospect Josh Bell can show his stuff at the major league level. Baltimore is, of course, looking to the future, and Tejada won’t be a part of that future.
Print This Post