Tulowitzki is also a better hitter than Jeter ever was – a better hitter, frankly, than almost every shortstop in history. From 2009-11, Tulowitzki posted an on-base-plus-slugging of over .900. Only A-Rod, Honus Wagner and Ernie Banks have more .900-plus OPS seasons at shortstop. Lest you think it’s just a function of the thin air on Colorado, only Wagner, Vaughan, A-Rod, Banks, Barry Larkin and Alan Trammell have more seasons with an OPS+ – adjusted for ballpark and league, with 100 being average – of greater than 130.
What Jeter has is longevity, and at shortstop, that is career-defining. His sustained excellence – a career .313/.383/.442 line – is buttressed by the fact that he’s one of just five career shortstops with more than 10,000 plate appearances. The others are Luke Appling, Ozzie Smith, Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel – the first three Hall of Famers and Vizquel a candidate as much for his durability as his numbers.
...The current drought saw the highest OPS by a shortstop being Ian Desmond’s .845 – and the next highest was 38-year-old Jeter’s .791. Hanley Ramirez, once Tulowitzki’s mate in shortstop excellence, continued to fade, and third base is an inevitability. Jimmy Rollins, who once won an MVP, is on the downside of his career. Starlin Castro, now 23, has carved out a niche as a perfectly acceptable hitter but nobody’s idea of a superstar. Elvis Andrus and Alcides Escobar are very similar players: great gloves and baserunning instincts with some average and little to no pop. Yunel Escobar is a perpetual disappointment. J.J. Hardy can’t get on base. Ditto Alexei Ramirez. Brendan Ryan’s .555 OPS was the 65th worst of the last 50 years. Of those 65 marks, 43 have been from shortstops.
Posted: March 28, 2013 at 04:28 AM | 34 comment(s)
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