The Recent History of Shortstop Prospects, Part Four
Origins of 2008 Major League Shortstops, sorted by Win Shares (10 WS and/or 300+ at-bats)
Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins, 32 WS
Free Agent, 2000, Dominican Republic
Jose Reyes, New York Mets, 29 WS
Free Agent, 1999, Dominican Republic
Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 WS
Second round pick, 1996, California HS. Rollins showed excellent speed in the low minors but took some time to get his bat going, not really breaking out until he reached Triple-A in 2000. Career .262/.329/.384 in the minors, but .277/.333/.441 in the majors. His pop developed better than anyone expected.
Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks, 22 WS
First round pick, 2004, Florida State University
Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals, 20 WS
Free Agent, 1994, Dominican Republic. A super tools guy, Guzman was pushed fast, hyped by the New York propaganda machine, traded to Minnesota in the Chuck Knoblauch deal, then thrust into a major league job in 1999 at the age of 21. As a Twins fan, I always found him quite frustrating, as he alternated brilliant performances with awful ones.
J.J. Hardy, Milwaukee Brewers, 20 W
Second round pick, 2001, Arizona HS. When drafted, Hardy was a defense-first guy with questions about his bat, and I had doubts about him for some time. His first two seasons weren’t great, but he’s been much more effective since hitting age 24 and should have a long and productive career if he stays healthy.
Michael Young, Texas Rangers, 20 WS
Fifth round pick, 1997, UC-Santa Barbara. Drafted by the Blue Jays, Young performed very well in the minors right off the bat but never seemed to get quite as much respect as he deserved, with scouts criticizing his defense. Indeed, he spent considerable time at second base and began his major league career there before moving back to shortstop in 2004. Hit .296/.367/.450 in the minors, .300/.346/.442 in the majors thus far.
Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland Indians, 19 WS
Free agent, 1999, Dominican Republic. Peralta didn’t do much at first offensively, with a very high strikeout rate looking like it would hold him back. But he took a big step forward in Double-A in 2002 at age 20, reducing the strikeouts and boosting his power. After a false start in 2003 he blossomed in ’04 and ’05.
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, 18 WS
First round pick, 1992, Michigan HS.
Mike Aviles, Kansas City Royals, 17 WS
Seventh round pick, 2003, Concordia College (New York). Read all about him here.
Orlando Cabrera, Chicago White Sox, 17 WS
Free agent, 1993, Colombia. Cabrera played well in the lower minors and had an interesting season in the Sally League in 1996 (.252/.327/.404, but with 14 homers, 51 steals, 54 walks and just 63 strikeouts in 512 at-bats). He reached the majors unexpectedly in 1997, and has been there ever since. In the minors he hit .267/.329/.398, compared to .274/.322/.399 in the majors, featuring defense and enough hitting to stay in the lineup.
Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels, 15 WS
Free agent, 2002, Dominican Republic
Marcos Scutaro, Toronto Blue Jays, 15 WS
Free agent, 1994, Venezuela. Scutaro was a sleeper prospect for a long time, drawing walks, stealing some bases, and providing occasional pop, but never got a lot of respect from scouts. He hit .289/.369/.433 in the minors, vs. .261/.325/.377 in the majors.
Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs, 15 WS
Third round, 2001, Louisiana State University. Scouts had doubts about his bat, but his defense was well-regarded and it was expected he could be at least a good utility guy. He didn’t do much in the lower minors, though he kept the strikeouts under control and could draw a few walks. Began to hit better in 2005, and has spent the last two and a half years in the majors. Hit .271/.355/.337 in the minors, but .290/.362/.369 in the majors.
Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays, 13 WS
13th round pick, 2001, University of Oklahoma. Drafted by the Padres, Bartlett showed speed and athleticism, but spotty offense, though (notice a trend here) he kept the strikeouts under control and had a non-awful walk rate even when he wasn’t hitting. Traded to Minnesota, he began to blossom in Double-A in 2003 at age 23. He’s not a terrific player but he will be around for a long time, assuming his body holds up.
Jerry Hairston, Cincinnati Reds, 13 WS
11th round pick, 1997, Southern Illinois University. Moved to second base and reached the majors within a year of being drafted, though development slowed from there. Hit .302/.381/.452 in the minors, but just .260/.330/.370 in the majors thus far, though he’s had some good seasons.
Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros, 13 WS
Free agent, 1993, Dominican Republic
Yunel Escobar, Atlanta Braves, 13 WS
Second round pick, 2005, Cuban defector. Considered very skilled with the glove but a few doubts about his bat kept him out of the first round. A so-so Double-A transition (.262/.359/.343) in ’06 concerned me, but he has been quite strong in the majors at .303/.373/.420, and even in Double-A he controlled the strike zone well.
Brendan Harris, Minnesota Twins, 11 WS
Fifth round pick, 2001, William and Mary. Harris was considered a promising hitter with defensive issues, which is why he lasted until the fifth round, and indeed shifted between third base and second base throughout his minor league career. Hit .294/.365/.458 in the minors, .269/.330/.408 in the majors.
Edgar Renteria, Detroit Tigers, 11 WS
Free agent, 1992, Colombia
Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels, 11 WS
Free agent, 1998, Venezuela. Signed by the Indians, he was respected for his defense and speed but it was unclear if he would hit. He did well in the lower minors, but struggled once reaching the Carolina League in 2001, though he kept his strikeout rate reasonable. Career .284/.351/.374 in the minors, .272/.337/.381 in the majors. Expect his name on rosters for a long time.
Bobby Crosby, Oakland Athletics, 10 WS
First round pick, 2001, Long Beach State University
Nick Punto, Minnesota Twins, 10 WS
21st round pick, 1998, Saddleback Junior College. Moved through the Phillies system quickly, showing good glovework, speed, the ability to draw a walk, and a reasonable strikeout rate. Struggled in Triple-A at first, but eventually solved it. Obviously not a great hitter but as a utility guy he has ability, though miscast as a semi-regular third baseman, which is how the Twins used him for awhile. Hit .265/.361/.338 in the minors, .252/.319/.332 in the majors.
Felipe Lopez, St. Louis Cardinals, 10 WS
First round pick, 1998, Florida HS
Juan Uribe, Chicago Whtie Sox, 10 WS
Free agent, 1997, Dominican Republic. Signed by the Rockies, Uribe was noted for speed and athleticism, with perhaps some power potential, in the lower minors. Plate discipline was going to be a problem and he has had big trouble with that in the majors, though not enough to lose his job apparently. Hit .273/.319/.428 in the minors, .253/.295/.423 in the majors.
Jeff Keppinger, Cincinnati Reds, 9 WS
Fourth round, 2001, University of Georgia. Drafted by the Pirates, Keppinger was respected for contact hitting skills but was a second baseman in the minors, most people thinking he lacked the range and arm strength for short. Quickly proved a skilled hitter contact hitter, lacking power but seldom striking out and usually hitting for a high average. .322/.375/.422 in the minors, .287/.338/.390 in the majors. Scouts didn’t seem to respect him much even when he was performing well.
Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies, 8 WS
First round pick, 2005, Long Beach State University
Jack Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 6 WS
9th round pick, 1998, Oxnard Junior College. Drafted by the Cardinals, Wilson hit for very high batting averages in the low minors with mediocre walk rates but low strikeout rates. Starting shortstop for the Pirates since 2001. .318/.376/.448 in the minors, .269/.312/.375 in the majors, hardly a great hitter but has a solid glove.
Khalil Greene, San Diego Padres, 4 WS
First round pick, 2002, Clemson University
First Round: Drew, Jeter, Crosby, Lopez, Tulowitzki, Greene
Second Round: Rollins, Hardy, Escobar
Third Round: Theriot
Fourth Round: Keppinger
Fifth Round: Young, Harris
Sixth through Ninth Round: Aviles, Wilson
10th round or later: Bartlett, Hairston, Punto,
Free Agent: Ramirez, Reyes, Guzman, Peralta, Cabrera, Aybar, Scutaro, Tejada, Renteria, Izturis, Uribe,
High School: Rollins, Hardy, Jeter, Lopez
Junior College: Punto, Wilson
College: Drew, Young, Aviles, Theriot, Bartlett, Hairston, Harris, Crosby, Keppinger, Tulowitzki, Greene
Latin America including Cuba: Ramirez, Reyes, Guzman, Peralta, Cabrera, Aybar, Scutaro, Tejada, Escobar, Renteria, Izturis, Uribe,
It is just one snapshot, but in 2008 Jeter and Lopez were the only two who received significant playing time, as shortstops, who were first round high school picks as shortstops.
We will try to draw some conclusions from this mass of data in Part Five.