I saw an ESPN writer doing this kind of thing with basketball so I decided to do it with baseball: ranking the shortstops in the MLB. There will be five types of catchers: 5-star, 4-star, 3-star, 2-star and 1-star. Here is my scoring system. Max score is 10:
C: Contact P: Power D: Defense S: Speed L: Leadership
*Note: You see that I give Hanley Ramirez a 10 in power. That is because he simply has the most power out of any shortstop. I am not comparing this to outfielders or first basemen, I am just comparing this to shortstops.
Five Star *****
1. Jimmy Rollins C: 7 P: 8 P: 10 S: 8 L: 9 Overrall: 41
Jimmy Rollins isn't having the best of years this particular year but still, he's having a pretty decent year. His defense is fantastic as always (the thing that may have put him in first over Ramirez). He is leading all shortstops in fielding percnetage. J-Roll has two seasons of 25 or more home runs and seven seasons of 30 or mor stolen bases (including this year). You usually see Rollins hitting around .280, give or take a little bit. As for his leadership? He is the veteren leader of the Phillies, a team that has been one of the best in the NL for the past few years.
2. Hanley Ramirez C: 8 P: 10 D: 3 S: 9 L: 7 Overrall: 37
Hanley Ramirez is a 4-tool player, not quite 5-tool yet. He still has to work on his unreliable defense (last out of full-time shortstops in fielding percentage). His fielding will grow on eventually. Hanley Ramirez has the most power out of any full-time shortstop in the league and it is almsot a sure thing that he will be a 30-30 player with his 26 home runs and 28 stolen bases. He has only been a full-time player for three years but during two of those years, Hanley has lead a terrible team into the playoff race. Lets see Houdini pull that off.
3. (TIED) Jose Reyes C: 7.5 P: 6 D: 7 S: 10 L: 4 Overrall: 34.5
It was tough to decide who to put in the third spot after one of the best players in the league but Reyes makes the cut. Reyes' average is second best out of all shortsops in the league but it hasn't exactly ramained steady (career average below .290). Reyes has shown decent power and came just shy of hitting 20 once. As for his speed - wow. He swiped 78 bases last year and he is at it again, second in the whole league with 40, behind Willy Taveras. This speed and mobility transfers to the base paths. His leadership isn't exactly the best though - everyone remembers last year's late season collapse in the middle of a division race.
3. (TIED) Michael Young C: 9 P: 5 D: 9 S: 5 L: 7 Overrall: 34.5
Another shortstop with a 34.5 rating. Young may not be a perenial .320 hitter but he is one of the most consistent hitters in the game. You can usually count on him for a .300 batting average each season. His power is very average, 10 home runs so far this season, it looks like his roof is about 15 over the years. Young plays wonderful D and is second among shortstops in fielding percentage. His speed is not the best but he uses it wisely on the basepaths - eight stolen base attempts and all eight converted. He hasn't really managed to be on a great team but Texas's offense is usually very good.
6. Derek Jeter C: 7 P: 3 D: 8 S: 5 L: 9 Overrall: 32
I am one of those people who think Derek Jeter is overrated but it would be a crime to leave him out for any longer than this. His leadership, once fantastic, has declined thanks to early round exits and not living up to expectations in the past few years. At least his fielding is still great. His hitting has taken a major step backwards but it is still good with his .284 average with his seven home runs. He also has that same figure in the stolen base - it looks like a 10-10 year is all he'll get this year.
5. Jhonny Peralta C: 6 P: 8 D: 7 S: 3 L: 6 Overrall: 30
Peralta doesn't seem like a fit for sixth - he's not really a star yet, he hasn't made any All-Star teams, he doesn't hit for contact great and he's slower than slow on the basepaths - nah, he's not even that fast. Peralta does have speed, he just doesn't use it to steal base. That and his leadership, only one great season, has effected his rank. Still, everything else is good. He plays good defense, something that was terrible just two years ago, now much improved. His hitting is also decent, he has a .268 career batting average. His power is the best part of his game. He averages 21 bombs a year, very good for a shortstop, and has 19 already this year. If he can just improve on his speed thismuch he could be up there with Michael Young and Jose Reyes.
This is Part 1 of a five part blog. I'll have the Four-stars in my next blog.
(And for all of the future comments about this guy, no, I didn't forget Ryan Theroit).