Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/30/12
I recapped a handful of surprises, Zach looked at two shortstops who are going in different directions in their careers and Bryan analyzed how the position is trending offensively. Now, I wrap up this rather dull position with 12 thoughts on the happenings of 2012. If consistency is your thing then Jimmy Rollins probably drove you mad in 2012. The final numbers look great — .250 BA, 102 R, 23 HR, 68 RBI and 30 SB — but don’t be fooled; Rollins put up two huge months in June and September, hitting .295 with 44 R, 14 HR, 33 RBI and 10 SB. That almost matches his production in the other four months — .225 BA, 58 R, 9 HR, 35 RBI and 20 SB. Say what you want about Ben Zobrist‘s sporadic batting average, but the man knows how to get on base. His career 12.6 BB% and .354 OBP are both well above average at the shortstop position. He’s sort of settled in as  a 20-HR hitter who can swipe close to 20 bags as well and depending on where he spends the majority of his time in the lineup he will deliver 90+ runs or RBI. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m excited to see what kind of numbers Jose Reyes can put up in that Toronto offense. If you go back and read our 2012 player profile for Asdrubal Cabrera you’ll see that we expected a significant power decline. While we were technically right (HR fell from 25 to 16) he was still able to maintain above average power for a shortstop. His .153 ISO was tied for fifth-best at the position and his average home run distance of 394 feet was right around the league average (397 ft). He also showed more patience at the plate (8.4 BB% up from 6.6%) and lowered his GB% for the second straight season (41.1% down from 43.8%). Erick Aybar should not do whatever he was doing in the first two months when he hit .223 with 12 R, 0 HR, 11 RBI and 4 SB. However, he will want to recreate whatever he was doing differently after June 1 where he hit .325 with 55 R, 8 HR, 34 RBI and 16 SB. One of the bigger surprises, Ian Desmond will have a large task in repeating his power breakout from 2012. I mentioned on Monday that his 33 doubles are a nice sign that his power wasn’t a total fluke, but you can also look at the fact that he decreased his groundball percentage yet again (47.6% down from 51.9%). At 27, he’s hitting his prime years in terms of power production and while his 18.2% HR/FB should come down, Desmond will be a good candidate to hit 20 HR in 2013. I love Starlin Castro. He’s only 22, has shown flashes of brilliance and has potential to be a 20 HR/30 SB player in the near future. However, he is still not walking enough (5.2 BB%) and his swinging strike rate rose for the second-straight year (8.3 SwStr% up from 7.2%). Until he fixes those trends I can’t get behind him as a perennial .300 hitter. The injury puts the start of his 2013 season in question, but Derek Jeter showed that when you’re leading off for the Yankees you can put up big numebrs — even at the age of 38. The value is all in the runs and as long as he can get on base (.362 OBP in 2012) then 90 runs is a lock. If only Jed Lowrie could stay healthy for even 130 games he might be a top-five shortstop in fantasy. Unfortunately, at 29 years old, he is what he is at this point. I know I already bashed Dee Gordon‘s 2012 season on Monday, but let’s not write him off just yet. Is he a great fielder? No. Is he better than Hanley Ramirez? Probably. There’s a non-zero chance that Ramirez doesn’t play shortstop full-time, which gives Gordon an outside show to get some at-bats as long as he can learn to hit this offseason. It’s a stretch, but worth keeping an eye on in Spring Training. Everth Cabrera has spent the better part of the last three seasons bouncing between the Majors and Minor Leagues, but after he was called up on May 17 he stuck. In 449 plate appearances Cabrera stole 44 bases, was caught just four times and posted a 9.6 BB%. He doesn’t do much other than steal, but he finished third in the league in about 75 percent of the time. Man, do I miss the days when Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada and Jeter were all shortstops in the prime of their careers.
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