Re: Look at it this way: Ozzie Smith or Ernie Banks?
posted at 8/2/2013 12:25 AM EDT
In response to Beantowne's comment:
In response to Sheriff-Rojas' comment:
Now this is not to say that Jose Iglesias will be as good as Ozzie Smith or that Xander Boegarts will have a career like Ernie Banks, but I use this as a point of reference to show what is possibly the high end of each player's potential. If you had to pick one shortstop, who would you go with? If I took baseball esthetics into account, I would choose Iggy/Ozzie, but if I wanted to see more wins, I would have to concede to the three run homers and base clearing doubles, and hopefully, the defense would be adequate as well. If you're of an Oriole mind, you can substitute Mark Belanger for Ozzie, and Cal Ripkin for Ernie Banks.
I realize this may not be as cut and dried a choice as it appears, as there may have other position options for Boegarts, but appearently, the future at third base looks promising as well with Cecchini emerging and/or Middlebrooks getting it together. But for sake of discussion, if you have to choose one or the other, who would you go with?
That's easy Banks over Smith in their primes. Banks career ops was .830 Smith's was .666 fact of the matter is that Bank's played more games at 1B over the length of his career than he did @ SS.
So the comparison is not exactly apples to apples. That said, the difference in their production at the plate makes the choice easy. When you can get a player that profiles as the best hitter at their position one that is at worst league average fielder. I'll take the bat over the glove every time.
Banks played the better part of his first nine major league seasons at short when he was most productive as a hitter. He had five 40+ home run seasons as a shortstop, which included a 47 home run season in 1958, and 45 in 1959. He never reached 40 as a first baseman and went from being around a .300 hitter as a shortstop, to around a .250 hitter as a first baseman.
I'm not implying that the switch of positions had anything to do it, as he had knee injuries, necessitating a switch to a less mobile position. If Boegarts emerges as a hitting force, it's likely he gets moved to another positon when Father Time calls, another whipper-snapper emerges, and/or a vacancy occurs at first, third, or DH. In the meantime, it's easier to find corner infielders with pop (although maybe not at the current moment), but shortstops with hitting prowess and pop are a rare breed outside of the steroid era. Hopefully, he can field the position decently as well.