NL Central Smackdown: Shortstops

2nd Basemen | Poll
1st Basemen | Poll

We march on around the diamond. Today it's the double play partner of yesterday's vote. The Cubs so far have the 2nd best first basemen and second basemen in the division. Can Ryan Theriot keep the streak going? Answer - no!

Your scrap-tastic contenders after the jump....

UPDATE: Thanks to you wonderful readers, it was brought to my attention to check Tejada's projections since he revealed his true age. His WARP-3 three year projection is updated in the chart and went down from 4.13 to 3.2. I'd still rate him first though even though he now drops behind Hardy and Wilson in the WARP-3 projections.

Player 3-Year Warp-3 Average
3 Year Warp-3 Projection
Rob's Ranking
Ryan Theriot 2.6 (2 years) 2.47 5
J.J. Hardy 3.5 4.2 2
Cesar Izturis 1.53 1.07 6
Miguel Tejada 7.03 3.2 1
Alex Gonzalez 3.03 1.77 3
Jeff Keppinger 1.9 (2 years) 4 3
Jack Wilson 5.83 3.23 4







The Justification: This one gets a bit difficult as the Reds muck up my little chart. They're going to do that a few times in this series. Alex Gonzalez is signed through 2009 with about $11 million owed to him between this year and next, plus a 2010 mutual option for $6 million. He also has a fractured left knee and a player currently playing in his place who is probably better than him. I'd dismiss Gonzalez altogether if it wasn't for the fact that he's got a contract to justify and has Dusty Baker as his manager. So what to do? Well I included them both in the chart above and if it was just Keppinger, I'd easily rank him third ahead of Jack Wilson and possibly second ahead of JJ Hardy.If it was just Gonzalez, I'd push him behind Jack Wilson for fourth (who's brilliant glovework makes up a lot for his deficient bat). Overall though, I'm guessing they share the playing time and I think the composite of the two is a just a bit better than Wilson for the three spot.

As for the rest of the rankings, Tejada still gets the nod as the top spot. He probably won't stay at shortstop for much longer or with the Astros, but stanozolol rises to the top with this weak competition. Hardy's twenty-plus homer potential and 26 years of age give him the two spot in my rankings. You can flip the three/four spots between Wilson and the Reds shortstops however you wish. I don't expect Ryan Theriot to last the season as the Cubs shortstop, either because of a trade or Ronny Cedeno taking over the job. He's only saved by the presence of Cesar's ghost in the division from being a bottom, which seems like a place Cesar is very comfortable occupying.

There's another poll for you guys to fill out below this and I'll leave the old polls open until we finish this.

Please note, you do have to register to vote. This isn't some scheme to solicit registrations, it's just an anomaly of the site and the poll software that's built in. Trust me, I'd love to fix it, but I haven't found another piece of integrated software that does these ranking polls which I really like. Plus if you register, you get a better user experience as I tend to test everything as a registered user and you get an uncached version of the site. You can also view the results of the poll after you vote, instead of having to wait until I close it. It takes all of two minutes to register and unlikes some sites, I'll be more than happy to cancel your account if you wish. You'll never receive any spam from us either...promise.

If you liked this article, consider supporting us during TCR's April Pledge



moved some stuff around on the sidebars and doubled up info with tabs now to make things a little neater and take up less sidebar space so we can add 3-D ads and porn. :)

Here's the list:

Moved the weather together with the Cubs Schedule on the right sidebar

Put together the site search and BR search into one box 

Moved the "TCR on the web" to the left sidebar below the text ads and added some publicity we've gotten.

and of course, added the Featured Post and Recent Posts in the upper left 


noticed the tabbed blocks on the right sidebar load both tabs on top of each other in IE and you can't switch between the two. Any web gurus have any ideas on why that would happen? 

Seems to work fine in firefox and safari... and in the left sidebar.

The tabs are awesome.

Wow, I had Jack Wilson second. I really like good defense.

So where do we see the poll results without waiting? Maybe I'm an idiot (let me restate that. I AM an idiot. Maybe this is attributable to me being an idiot,) but I can't find it.

So where do we see the poll results without waiting?

I should have clarified this, but you do have to vote first as a registered user. Once you vote on each poll, the results will show up. It doesn't seem to have a "view results" option without voting. I did test it though...should work.  

How long before we see the "Theriot Shift"?

- 3 Infielders on the right side of the infield
- RF guards the line, in close
- CF plays short right-center
- LF plays CF

This would compeletely negate The Riot as an offensive factor.

Last night -- brutal hitting conditions -- and the teams combined for 17 runs and bucketful of hits. Pretty impressive.

Riot does occasionally pull the ball. Also, since he's a singles hitter, he's more likely to try to hit the ball where they ain't than the lefty sluggers who usually get a shift (or Andruw Jones). So if they shifted on him, he'd probably try to pull one, even if that meant hitting a lot of Murton Choppers. The bunting would be a factor too.

Okay, I get that you're not being serious; you're pointing out the fact that Riot hits the ball to the right side a lot, and not always very hard. When it ceases to be the best approach for him I'll start criticizing him too. As of right now, with his career homeruns in single digits, I'd tell him to keep swinging for short right.

If we're looking at this from a who has the most value to a GM over the next 3 years stand point, then I think I rank it this way:

JJ Hardy
Jeff Keppinger
Miguel Tejada
Ryan Theriot
Alex Gonzalez
Jack Wilson
Cesar Izturis

Izturis just has no value at this point. He doesn't even have the range he used to. Tejada, I think, is going to see his production continue to drop off, though Houston's park may help him a bit, and he's very, very expensive. Wilson and Gonzalez may both be better than Theriot to varying degrees, but they are both really overpaid, too. JJ Hardy takes the cake for best combination of talent, potential, and cheapness (or did he get a long term deal this winter?). Keppinger looks like a quality hitter, though we'll see whether he's a legit shortstop. Theriot goes ahead of the expensive mediocre players in my book simply because his salary doesn't prevent you from improving the club elsewhere and he provides acceptable defense, and, who knows, maybe he'll hit a little and steal some bases.

If we're not looking much at price or age, then the list goes pretty much how Rob G. has it.

Were those 3-year future projection done for Tejada when we thought he was 31, or now that we know he is at least 33? Just curious if that was factored in...

probably while he was 31....

Nate Silver re-ran PECOTA after Tejada's age revelation came to light:

"What is thees?"

Pie and others for Khalil revisited,

There is alot of Homer voting, so far on the poll Theriot ranks ahead of Wilson, and almost at Hardy. Or maybe everyone thinks Theriot plays better defense than he really does. Wilson and Hardy are much better defensively.

Thinking of the other rankings, this is probably our weakest position (maybe CF is weaker, but I think another Cub ghost saves us from the bottom on that one.........)

Yeah... voters are being kind to Theriot. Interestingly, if this poll was for utility player, I'd rank Theriot a lot higher. He's much more valuable as a utility player.

"We are working on a proposal to present to Tribune Co. that will allow ISFA to acquire and fully restore Wrigley Field, as well as add parking and neighborhood improvements without using any public tax money, either state or local," Thompson told the Chicago Tribune.

In the revised plan, Thompson said financing would be obtained in the private sector and there would be no issuance of bonds by the state. Team lease payments and the sale of partial naming rights would cover the cost of purchasing the ballpark, Thompson said. He did not say how ISFA would pay for the proposed renovation.

I am no good at this game. I think I just like defense too much.

Theriot has his defenders, including Piniella and yours truly.

From your link:

"MVP voters in the National League must have realized this when they gave the award in 2007 to a base-stealing shortstop with an OBP below .350."

If that is satire, it's brilliant. Otherwise -- to call Rollins a "base-stealing SS with an OBP below .350" conveniently leaves out his 28 doubles, 20 triples and 30 HR.


That is a simplification, but Rollins probably should have been beaten in the MVP vote by his teammate Utley, or a few other guys around the league. But voters like flashy players, especially flashy shortstops.

I think you can similarly argue that voters find that kind of offense from a SS to be very valuable.


And at least Rollins is a legit SS, whereas Ramirez has yet to play decent defense.

In additionally, the above average defense from Rollins at short surely helped the Phils more than Holliday's average defense in left field. Still, I think Utley outperformed him, since Utley's not so shabby a defender at second base. Too bad for Chase he missed that time with the hand injury, or he would've been a shoe-in. Then again, he looks to be on-pace to make an even better bid at the award this year. Especially since I really believe the Cards will eventually suck badly enough to take Pujols out of consideration.

yeah, I only had 7 guys in front of Rollins.

Holliday deserved it, Coors or no Coors. Not like Rollins doesn't benefit from his park.

I can see where you wouldn't have Rollins winning it, but I don't see how Hanley had a much better season. They were pretty much even in most all categories. Ramirez had the edge in Doubles, BA, OBP, and SB. Rollins had the edge in Runs, Triples, RBI, SLG, and SB%. I wouldn't have put either of them first. But around the 3-5 area I would have put Rollins ahead of Ramirez because he a) played on a winning team, and b) plays much better defense. Rollins was 3rd in fielding percentage behind Vizquel and Tulowitski; Ramirez was 20th in MLB. The only SS who had a lower zone rating than Ramirez was Jeter. There was talk of moving him to center for good reason, he is awful out there.

yeah maybe Rollins ahead of Ramirez, I took a look at the WARP-3 numbers and Rollins is ahead. But I still think he was the third best player on his team last year and didn't really have all that great of a September push to justify his selection.


OK, who voted for Izturis? Dusty, is that you?

owings...the pitcher...pinch hit homer.

.421 on the year (8 for 19) with his first homer.

lucky guy...

...wait...not so skilled.

last year: 60ab 20h 4hr 7 doubles (.333 avg)


you're so going to make Carlos Zambrano angry....

hell, forget the pitchers.

there's bench bats and even regulars who wish they could hit like owings has so far.

we might be dealing with the first pitcher in a long time who will have a legit point about having extra worth because of his bat come arb/FA time if he keeps up even a fraction of what he's doing.

79ab 28h 8doubles 1triple 5hr (3bb 20k, .354avg)



owings had a statistically insignificant but interesting company in "pitchers with 4hr in first 2 season".

jim rooker who hit all 4 of his homers in his 2nd year with a .281/.300 avg/ob% who played in the 70s.

the other guy was some guy who didn't last long as a pitcher named 'ruth'.

rick ankiel eat your heart out.

Cubs may sign OF Val Pascucci to a AAA contract

some shit going down with Juan Mateo too, I'll see how much of the juicy details Steve puts up at his site.

Mateo story...likely retiring or thinking about it. But clears a 40-man roster spot.

He began the year at Triple-A Iowa before being demoted to Double-A Tennessee after just four appearances with the team. With Tennessee, Mateo made two appearances before being demoted another level – to Daytona.

A Cubs source said Wednesday that Mateo was upset with the club’s decision to send him to Single-A ball. The source added that Mateo left the Tennessee club en route to Mesa, Ariz., site of the Cubs’ minor league offices, rather than Daytona.

“He purposefully skipped his plane,” the source said.

interesting to say the least.

i'd be upset, too, if i was mateo.

it seems like they dont have a plan for him if they're shuffling him that much this early.

it's obvious he has things to work on, but he needs to actually work with someone steady rather than making 3 adjustments and 3 new sets of faces all within a month.

he's got a career to think about and its in the cub's hands. if they dont spell out something for him that he buys i imagine he could be traded for peanuts pretty damn soon. its not like hendry is known for being a career wrecker dealing with fringe guys who are on the downside of their value and blocked legitimately by others.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • "The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing any international players for the next year and had five of their teenage prospects declared free agents on Friday after a Major League Baseball investigation showed they circumvented signing-bonus rules last year, a source familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports."

    Rob Richardson 34 min 42 sec ago view
  • The thing with Heyward is its not just free agency. He is way under performing his career #s. He's making the same % of contact but his soft contact is much higher and hard contact much lower than all his previous years so there is something very specifically going on this year causing the issues. Chances are he will eventually get back to his previous #s and it's better to get the slump now and get that hot run later but I wish I knew what is different about this year. He's either just not seeing the ball as well or a swing change is causing it.

    johann 49 min 59 sec ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 1 hour 2 min ago view
  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 3 min ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 4 hours 11 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 27 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 28 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 13 hours 2 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 13 hours 33 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 13 hours 54 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 14 hours 27 min ago view

    crunch 14 hours 37 min ago view
  • Getting tired of this Heywood weak sauce

    jacos 14 hours 48 min ago view
  • Yep, can't say I disagree with that. His first batter and resulting walk was just brutal. Reminded me of a bit of Jacque Jones spiking his throws into the ground from RF.

    Eric S 14 hours 56 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best.

    fixed that for ya.

    crunch 15 hours 3 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best. Hind sight is easy but Peralta had nothing.

    Eric S 15 hours 12 min ago view