Exploring SS candidates


I thought I’d put out some info on players that will be available as potential candidates for the shortstop position in 2012. I may have missed a couple, but the list is pretty comprehensive. I suppose more trade candidates could pop up, etc., depending on organizational strategy.

To evaluate the players, I’ve included a few stats. I’ve taken 3-year sample sizes, to limit veterans to their most recent play. The following stats/considerations are used: Age, slash line, wOBA, wRC+, UZR/150, and DRS. It is important to note that UZR/150 is a rate stat while DRS compiles. So, if the UZR/150 seems incredibly high or low, but the DRS is not high or low to match, it could be a case of the player having limited playing time (injury, back-up duty, etc.). So bear that in mind…Jed Lowrie and Nick Punto, for instance, have less than a full season of innings @ short, for instance.

Some ages may be off a year...I used Fangraphs for non-FA, and MLBTR for free agents. I saw one that didn't mesh, so there could be others.

Re-sign current players

Alex Gonzalez – (35) .244/.281/.397, .294 wOBA, 78 wRC+, 4.4 UZR/150, 26 DRS

We know what we’re getting here, so I’m spending almost no time with him. 1 year @ 2-2.5M.

Jack Wilson – (34), .250/.285/.329, .271 wOBA, 64 wRC+, 10.3 UZR/150, 34 DRS

Probably the second-best defensive shortstop when using both metrics. That offense is horrible, though.

The Heroes

Jose Reyes – (29), .306/.352/.452, .355 wOBA, 124 wRC+, -4.6 UZR/150, -12 DRS

Obviously the best available, but he’ll come at a steep price. You have to figure 5-7 years, $90-$130MM. Too rich for the Braves’ blood, more than likely.

Jimmy Rollins – (33), .255/.316/.403, .321 wOBA, 95 wRC+, 6.1 UZR/150, 3 DRS

Everything looks okay, which is a bit troubling considering the name attached to this stat profile. Initially, I thought he may be a good candidate for the job, if only to raise the price the Phillies or Giants pay. Now, I’m beginning to think that it may be good only to negotiate only to raise his price. Good defense, pretty good hitting and a switch-hitter to boot, but he wants 5 years and that could land him at anywhere from $45-75MM. Not great at the price/years.

The Vets

Rafael Furcal – (34), .269/.335/.393, .324 wOBA, 100 wRC+, 2.2 UZR/150, 5 DRS

I think this bridge has probably been burned, but he looks to be just as promising as Rollins, probably signs for less years and less money.

Edgar Renteria – (35), .256/.313/.345, .293 wOBA, 77 wRC+, 2.1 UZR/150, -13 DRS

Old at his age, doesn’t start anymore, well below average at the plate. Maybe Braves magic strikes though, as he’s always put up good numbers in Atlanta. UZR and DRS disagree by a decent margin, so his defense is up in the air. At his age, err on the side of caution. Could be a really cheap back-up option.

Jamey Carroll – (37), .286/.364/.343, .322 wOBA, 100 wRC+, 0.0 UZR/150, -6 DRS

Not really a SS. Has only played 224 innings at the position. He’s another back-up/utility option as a result of this consideration.

Orlando Cabrera – (37), .264/.298/.355, .289 wOBA, 74 wRC+, -5.4 UZR/150, -35 DRS

Lots of time at SS, lots of bad plays. Not special at the plate. Blech.

Craig Counsell – (41), .254/.332/.346, .303 wOBA, 84 wRC+, 10.4 UZR/150, 4 DRS

UZR/150 looks great, but he doesn’t play much. Oldest player on the list, not a horrible back-up option.

Jerry Hairston Jr. –(36), .254/.318/.376, .306 wOBA, 89 wRC+, 5.9 UZR/150, 0 DRS

Decent bat for the position, but the UZR/150 and DRS difference highlights an issue…not a ton of time at the position. Utility guy.

The Journeymen

Clint Barmes – (33), .242/.303/.398, .303 wOBA, 78 wRC+, 13.5 UZR/150, 29 DRS

Not a horrible bat for what is probably the best composite defense of any of the available players. Best UZR/150, 2nd best DRS. MLBTR said he should get an Infante-comparable deal, mainly because of his solid bat last season, for the position. Really like him, his defense definitely passed my eye test at the position during his time with the Rockies. I remember him killing the ball with runners on, and his career situational stats bear that out with much better OPS in those situations. Not true last season, though. I think it’s a little much.

Yuniesky Betancourt – (30), .258/.277/.381, .284 wOBA, 72 wRC+, -11.8 UZR/150, 46 DRS

Perhaps the worst player on the list. By far the worst defender, only ahead of the next two candidates at the plate.

Ronny Cedeno – (29), .241/.284/.355, .277 wOBA, 68 wRC+, 1.0 UZR/150, -11 DRS

Umm…he younger than almost everyone??

Cesar Izturis – (32), .240/.283/.292, .261 wOBA, 52 wRC+, 10.6 UZR/150, 18 DRS

He’s a poor man’s Alex Gonzalez…worst hitter available

Nick Punto – (34), .241/.339/.315, .300 wOBA, 83 wRC+, 10.5 UZR/150, 0 DRS

Just a utility guy playing with heart and guts. Grit, determination factor high. Not a good player.

Trade Candidates

Marco Scutaro – (36), .284/.356/.404, .338 wOBA, 104 wRC+, -1.2 UZR/150, 6 DRS

Second-best hitter, but he’s coming from advantageous environments in Toronto/Boston. Looks to be average defensively. I think it’s a $6MM/$3MM mutual option, which the Red Sox will exercise because of the potential buyout. If Boston goes for one of the big SSs or decides their stud prospect is ready to take over in the field (he projects quite a bit worse at the plate), he may become available.

J.J. Hardy – (29), .256/.310/.422, .318 wOBA, 95 wRC+, 11.0 UZR/150, 9 DRS

I know, he just signed. Limited no-trade. Doesn’t matter much, though. If Baltimore can get something for him, he’ll be moved. Maybe a better trade deadline candidate than Opening Day guy, though.

Jason Bartlett – (32), .273/.340/.380, .323 wOBA, 103 wRC+, -6.7 UZR/150, -2 DRS

2009 heavily skews these stats, as his past two seasons have been a little lack-luster. Still a decent bat for the position in 2010-11, but the three-year sample appears to be a bit flukier than you’d like. He has a 2013 option, if I’m not mistaken. Not horrible at $5.5MM on each of those years, but not great, either.

Stephen Drew – (29), .266/.332/.433, .332 wOBA, 98 wRC+, 7.2 UZR/150, 6 DRS

Here’s one of the big debates. $7.75MM w/ a $10MM mutual option, for a Boras client. Coming off a horrific injury after a slump season. If you trade for him and he does well, he leaves for more money…but he’s also a Type A guy currently. If he tanks, you’re probably stuck with a B designation and a $1.35MM buyout. Since the A designation is definitely going to play into the trade talks, what are you willing to give for him at these salaries?? It’s a high-risk, high-reward proposition…I’d lean towards the risk winning out and the Braves going elsewhere.

Ryan Theriot – (32), .275/.329/.341, .300 wOBA, 80 wRC+, -4.8 UZR/150, -14 DRS

What’s to like??

Erick Aybar – (28), .280/.327/.391, .319 wOBA, 96 wRC+, 1.2 UZR/150, 0 DRS

Another interesting guy. One year left before free agency, made just $3MM last year but is due a healthy raise. Probably signs a long-term deal this offseason. He’s a guy that’s had three really solid seasons, one okay, and one pretty poor year (part-time, first year). Type B designation, switch-hitter. I don’t know what it would take to get him, but he’s one of the most interesting guys on this list. I think the trade cost is too high, or the Angels lock him up.

Jed Lowrie – (28), .250/.316/.412, .317 wOBA, 91 wRC+, -8.7 UZR/150, -11 DRS

People like him. I did, too, and may again. But he’s got to put it together. He’s arb-eligible for the first time, and he’s not likely to do well there. I mean, over 3+ seasons, he’s played in 256 professional games, about a year and a half. Never more than 88 games in a season, but it’s been weird. Fluke stuff, illness, etc. Maybe with Iglesias, Scutaro, and Reyes/Rollins, the Red Sox will be willing to cut ties, but it’s no guarantee. He’s still the utility man, but his stats don’t play particularly well anywhere else and both defensive metrics hate him. If there’s a trade, you almost have to pray he stays healthy.

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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