Vs. Series (Shortstop)

Posted: March 12, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports
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The Vs. Series returns after a day off to look at who will be playing shortstop for the teams in New York and Chicago. It looks like this is the first position that there isn’t any decisions to be made and each team knows who their opening day shortstop will be. Let’s start in New York. Before spring training started it looked like the New York Mets would have a competition between Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores to see who the opening day shortstop would be. Apparently there wasn’t a competition in the Mets mind as it’s being reported that the job belong to Flores. Flores played 78 games last season hitting .251 with 6 home runs. 51 of those games where at shortstop where he made 4 errors and had a fielding percentage of .979. Flores spent seven seasons working his way through the Mets minor league system where he batted .292 overall which is a batting average the Mets will be looking for out of Flores.  The Mets stayed away from making a big move at shortstop to give Flores a shot; so now they’ll see if he’s the right guy. The New York Yankees needed to find a replacement for their “Captain” and future Hall of Fame inductee Derek Jeter. So on December 5th, 2014 the Yankees sent Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers sent minor league player Domingo Leyba  and Robbie Ray to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Diamondbacks sent Didi Gregorius to the Yankees.  Gregorius has played 191 games in three major league seasons. 21 of those games where at the end of the 2012 season with the Cincinnati Reds. He is a career .243 hitter with 13 home runs. In 173 career games as a shortstop Gregorius has a fielding percentage of .976. This was a situation where most experts thought the Yankees would go out and get and established shortstop to fill Jeter’s position. Gregorius is just 22 years old and you wonder if the Yankees and their fans will give him the time he might need to develop as an everyday shortstop. It’s a difficult choice to make between  Gregorius and Flores. This will be each players shot at being a full-time shortstop at the major league level. Both the Mets and the Yankees are expected to contend for a playoff spot; be it wild card or winning a division; so they’ll need good shortstop play to do that. You have to wonder which team would make a switch at the position first if either guy struggles out of the gate. Since I have to make a choice I’m going with  Gregorius just by a tiny margin. In Chicago both the Cubs and the White Sox have familiar faces manning the shortstop position for the 2015 season. The White Sox have  Alexei Ramírez who is entering his 8th season with the White Sox; the 33-year-old. Ramirez had a hot first half in 2014 and it earned him his first All-Star appearance, but by the end of the season he hit .273 with 15 home runs, 74 RBI’s but added 21 stolen bases. You can count on Ramirez being in the line up as he’s played in 158 games in each of the last four seasons. Ramirez made the switch to shortstop in 2009 and his defense with the exception of one seasons has improved. Last season Ramirez made 15 errors and had a fielding percentage of .978. Ramirez led all AL shortstops in assists with 486 and double plays turned with 119. The biggest question with Ramirez might be will he stay with the White Sox the entire 2015 season as it seems his name is linked to every trade rumor involving the team. Starlin Castro is still just 24 years old, but is entering his 6th season as the Chicago Cubs starting shortstop. After a disappointing 2013 season Castro bounced back to tie his career high in home runs with 14 while hit for a .292 average and adding 33 doubles. Castro is another Chicago shortstop that will play a lot of games. Last season Castro played 134 games which was his lowest total since his rookie season when he played 125 games. Fielding has been a question for Castro, but last season he posted the highest single season fielding percentage of his career .973. He committed just 15 errors in the 2015 season; down from 22 in 2013. Also don’t forget that Castro is a 3 time NL All-Star selection. To be honest I thought the Cubs would deal Castro in the off-season and I’ve said on the podcast a few times that I thought he would be the guy to take Jeter’s spot in New York. This is another tough choice and you have to wonder if there’s a chance both guys are playing for another team by the end of the 2015 season. I think in this situation you go with Castro. He’s nine years young than Ramirez and they’re pretty equal stats wise. Tomorrow (Friday) we’ll look at the 3rd base positions for the Mets, Yankees, Cubs and White Sox. Follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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