NL West Outlook: Shortstops

We've already done outlooks on the catchers, first baseman, second baseman, and third baseman, so today we'll look at the shortstops.

I'll be ranking the teams based on their total projected 2009 WAR (wins above replacement) for each position. I'll be using the spreadsheet provided here by Beyond the Box Score. Marcels projections will be used to project playing time. If correct playing time is not being accounted for in the projections, I will adjust the plate appearances to equal projected playing time . I will calculate wOBA by averaging the wOBAs projected by Marcels, CHONE and ZiPS.  For fielding I will use the projections provided here.

5. San Diego Padres






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
L. Rodriguez 400 .321 .346 .300 -2.13 0.00 0.75 -0.60 0.02 $0.5 0.0
E. Cabrera 300 .260 .259 .247 -5.36 0.00 0.75 0.00 -2.61 -$4.6 -1.1

Luis Rodriguez is a 28 year-old switch-hitting infielder with a 77 OPS+ in 647 AB's. Needless to say, he's not exactly a great option as your starting shortstop. He's projected to be a replacement level player and is still expected to be worth more than a win more than the backup, Everth Cabrera! Cabrera was taken in the Rule V Draft from the Rockies. He only had a .760 OPS last year in Low-A, so he's nowhere near major league ready. On the bright side, he's only 21 and led the minor leagues last year with 73 stolen bases. He' got plenty of time to develop on a team that probably won't be competitive for at least a couple years.

 

4. San Francisco Giants 






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Renteria 528 .343 .405 .332 -0.18 0.00 0.75 -0.60 1.97 $7.1 1.5

Edgar Renteria was signed to a two year, $18 million deal early in the offseason to be the Giants starting shortstop. Like the Casey Blake deal, this one was signed before the market for free agents plummeted and now looks fairly silly in hindsight. Nevertheless, Renteria will be an improvement on the blackhole that was Omar Vizquel last year. He is coming off a down year in Detroit (.270/.318/.372) but is only a year removed from his great .332/.390/.470 line with the Braves. Renteria seems to prefer the National League, he also struggled in his one year stint with the Red Sox. If he can regain his old form, Renteria is a good complementary player. If not, he will be the next in a long line of overpaid veterans for the Giants.

 

3. Arizona Diamondbacks 






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Drew 593 .334 .454 .342 0.43 0.00 0.75 -0.90 2.28 $9.1 1.9
R. Roberts 127 .323 .386 .317 -1.10 0.00 0.75 0.00 1.65 $1.8 0.3

Stephen Drew is the younger brother of former Dodger J.D. Drew. He was a highly touted prospect and is now starting to turn into the player many thought he could become. Rich Lederer of the great site Baseball Analysts points out that in the second half of '08 Hanley Ramirez hit .282/.414/.495 while Drew managed a .326/.372/.556 line. Yikes. Also, Stephen Drew's comment in Baseball Prospectus' 2009 book reads, "This really is just the beginning for Drew, because his raw talent is unquestionable... We'll keep projecting stardom, and that's on the modest side. If he's a legitimate MVP candidate at some point over the next three years, you shouldn't be surprised in the least". That's pretty scary news for the rest of the NL West, and I think Drew should easily pass this projection. Ryan Roberts is your typical versatile utility man, although he's also got a little pop in his bat.

 

2. Los Angeles Dodgers






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Furcal 346 .356 .413 .344 0.55 0.25 0.75 0.20 3.75 $8.7 1.9
Dewitt 410 .326 .395 .319 -0.97 0.00 0.75 -0.40 1.38 $4.0 0.8

Rafael Furcal signed a 3 year, $30 million deal to stay in LA after a frustrating year last year. He got off to a Pujolsian start, batting .366/.448/.597 in his first 32 games. But then back problems sidelined him until the last week of the regular season. With an incentive clause built into his contract to keep his back healthy and Torre committing to resting him at least once a week, it seems the Dodgers are committed to not repeating their previous mistakes. If Furcal can stay healthy, he's still a pretty good player who is an excellent leadoff man; exactly what this team needs. I was going to put Juan Castro here, (Yes, I know Blake Dewitt isn't a shortstop) but after seeing his projected -0.9 WAR, I just couldn't leave him up there. If Raffy only gets 346 PA, Dewitt will get plenty of chances to play. And an almost 2 win upgrade is completely worth it in a division race that should be very close. Long term, Ivan Dejesus or Chin-Lung Hu could play at short if they aren't at second or traded by then. 

 

1. Colorado Rockies






Per 700 PAs

Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Tulowitzki 479 .353 .449 .351 0.97 0.00 0.75 1.10 4.82 $15.3 3.3
Quintanilla 238 .321 .368 .307 -1.70 0.10 0.75 0.50 1.65 $2.9 0.6

Troy Tulowitzki was expected to do big things in '08 after finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting and helping to lead the Rockies to their first World Series appearance the year before. However, early struggles and then injury problems derailed his season. After finally getting healthy, his September line (.330/.392/.534) showed that his '07 season was no fluke. The projections expect a rebound, predicting Tulo to be both the best hitter and best fielder at shortstop in the division. Stephen Drew might have something to say about the hitting, but there is little question that Tulo will show once again that he is a stud. Omar Quintanilla brings a good glove to the table, but has yet to show that he can be any kind of threat at the plate in the majors.

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