First Half Summary, Second Half Foretell: Shortstop (Video w/ Article)
If you risked picking up a shortstop in the top 100 in your pre-season draft, you most likely got the short end of the stick. Five out of the seven top-ranked shortstops were chosen outside the top 100 with the exception of Troy Tulowitski and Alexei Ramirez in most leagues.
With players like Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Troy Tulowitski ailing from first half injuries, the position had a facelift. Now speedsters like Jean Segura and Everth Cabrera have taken over for the time being as the top-ranked shortstops in baseball.
Currently ranked as the No.3 shortstop, Washington National Ian Desmond is looking for his second straight 20/20 season. The fifth-year player had a hot June smacking nine home runs while hitting over .300. Desmond is only one of two shortstops that has double-digit home runs and stolen bases before the break. Hitting a respectable .281 with 15 bombs has moved Desmond in front of Harper, Zimmerman and Werth. There is a lot of upside to batting in the No.2 spot in the National lineup.
Rounding out the top seven shortstops are Baltimore’s J.J Hardy and Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta.
Peralta is hitting a career best .303, but as a .267 career hitter you expect him to fade down the stretch. His single season best was .299 in 2011 when he also hit 21 home runs. With only eight homers before the break, Peralta looks to turn the fortunes of difficult second half stretches.
J.J Hardy is on pace to hit 20 plus home runs in three consecutive seasons with the Orioles. His quiet 16 dingers and 52 RBI are tied with Troy Tulowitski as tops in the position. It’s his .249 average that keeps Hardy under the radar. With proven pop at a position that doesn’t provide a lot, he looks to stay ahead of the group and break a career best 30 home runs.
Pick Your Pony
Jean Segura or Jose Reyes
Young stud Jean Segura is the No.1 ranked shortstop for a reason. He has displayed the ability to hit for power and average with a knack to swipe bags. Segura leads all shortstops with a .325 batting average and 54 runs and second with 27 stolen bases. Segura is the new school version of Jose Reyes.
Jose Reyes is a career .292 hitter. The Dominican born player stole more than 30 bases in last three seasons and had a career best 78 stolen bases in 2007. He is healthy and poised for a big second half with boppers like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion batting behind him in the lineup.
Ian Desmond or Starlin Castro
Ian Desmond is on pace to have his second consecutive 20/20 season. He is the table setter in a lineup that can drive the ball out at any moment. He will remain seeing good if he continues to bat in front of phenom Bryce Harper.
Starlin Castro had 200 hits in only his second MLB season. The career .286 hitter is below his mark and has underperformed in the first half. During the past three seasons, the post All-Star break splits have been better than pre All-Star break splits
Jhonny Peralta or J.J hardy
Peralta hits sixth in a lineup behind an emerging Victor Martinez and a proven Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. Hitting behind those guys with produce RBI value. As long as Peralta can hit around .300 in the second half, he will remain in the top five among shortstops.
J.J Hardy may not hit well for average but his power numbers speak for themselves in such a weak hitting position. Hardy has the luxury of hitting near the bottom of the lineup seeing and banging a lot of fastballs out the park. He is tied with the position lead with 16 home runs and 52 RBI.
Jean Segura is 23 years old. Segura hits 23 home runs? Segura currently has 11 HR.
HIGHER CASE: Segura averages 4 home runs per month in the 2nd half. Segura plays at Miller Park.
lower case: Segura’s best month was 5 HR. He hasn’t hit a home run in July.
Troy Tulowitski plays in 60 out of 66 games left for Colorado?
HC: He has played healthy in the second half in previous seasons. He is now healthy and the Rockies need his bat and glove.
lc: He missed all of last second half. He missed 174 total games in the last three seasons.
Everth Cabrera 68 Stolen Bases?
HC: Padres are No.2 in the league in team stolen bases. Bud Black likes to put players in motion. Had 44 SB in only 115 games last year.
lc: On pace for 56 stolen bases. His career high is only 44 SB.
Alexei Ramirez hitting .286? current batting average
HC: Hit .290 in his first season of baseball.
lc: In five seasons, he is a career .277 hitter.
Hardy 26 home runs?
HC: Hit 30 home runs two years ago. Projected to hit 26 home runs.
lc: Hit less than 26 home runs in six out of his eight seasons.