Looking For Shortstops Of The Future

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I mentioned briefly in my article that discussed the Cincinnati Reds’ shortstops that I would extend my search beyond Cincinnati and comb major league baseball in an effort to find the Tigers shortstop of the future. I don’t mean to sell Tigers prospects Dixon Machado, and especially Eugenio Suarez short, but neither is a guy that you believe is going to be a big league ball player for certain. That leaves us with the Tigers current shortstop Jhonny Peralta. I intimated that this would likely be his last year as a Tiger. It’s not inconceivable that he could re-sign if it’s team friendly deal after the season, but let’s hope that Dombrowski and company have a plan and are active in finding a SS for the future. I’m talking about the Alcides Escobar, Elvis Andrus, and Jurickson Profar type. You know, a guy that you could see playing the position for ten years.

September 30, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop

Elvis Andrus

(1) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

Funny thing is, two of those guys I named are Texas Rangers property. That would lend us to believe that Texas would be willing to part with one, right? Well, I don’t believe that to be the case. I think Texas if they are blown away with an offer would part with Andrus or Profar, but it is more likely that they will keep them both because they are top tier talents. And pretty cheap right now as well.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to take a look at some potential shortstops of the future. Whenever Detroit decides that is, that they would like to go out and get one.

Hak-Ju Lee– Tampa Bay Rays

Lee is an athletically gifted shortstop who is still working on improving his game. His plate discipline leaves a little something to be desired, and it has stifled his progress as far as his batting average goes. He holds his own in that department, however, he is going to have trouble carrying a lack of discipline to the big leagues. Especially considering his lack of power. So, why am I even including him on this list? Well, Lee is potentially an exceptional defender, and it would be nice if the Tigers head in that direction. Lee also can steal some bags, and if he cuts down on his strikeouts a bit, he could be a force at the top of the order.

Adeiny Hechavarria– Toronto Blue Jays

Hechavarria is a wizard with the glove, and some think the bat will come around as well. The 23 year old is a defector from Cuba, and has been around the past couple of seasons with the Blue Jays. The Jays think quite highly of the young SS, who can also play 3B and 2B. Ultimately, maybe he ends up at 2B, but from what I have seen it looks like he could stick at short. The Blue Jays do have Yunel Escobar and now Maicer Izturis in the fold.

Jose Iglesias– Boston Red Sox

Iglesias, like Hechavarria, is a Cuban defector as well. Iglesias is a year younger at 22 years old, and once again his calling card is his glove. I have little faith that Iglesias is going to hit much better than .230 at the big league level, and with little power. That may not sound satisfying at all, but consider this. Last season, Iglesias played 25 games at SS for the Red Sox. He generated 0.2 bWAR in that time, hitting a robust .118 in 77 plate appearances. He isn’t that bad offensively, but someone with those stats wouldn’t generate positive WAR normally. Iglesias almost had a full win based on his defense alone according to Baseball Reference. That is impressive.

Leury Garcia/Hanser Alberto/Luis Sardinas– Texas Rangers

Yep. The Rangers not only have Andrus and Profar, they have more guys. Any one of these guys would be a quality add to the organization. Garcia gets lost in the shuffle and played last season in AA. Alberto is a 20 year old that made it to high A last season and might have the biggest ceiling of the bunch. Sardinas does everything well, hits, runs, and defends. He is just 19 years old and already playing full season ball. Every one of these guys would instantly be the Tigers best SS prospect if they were acquired.

Nick Franklin– Seattle Mariners

Franklin is a guy that I have liked for quite some time, and in general might be a little more intrigued by him than others. I think Franklin is going to be a guy that hits, and his athleticism is underrated. He has been playing 2nd base for the Mariners in the Arizona Fall League, but has been a SS for the most part during his career. Some scouts don’t like him at SS, but I didn’t think he was overwhelmed playing the spot when I saw him. Franklin made it to AAA this season as a 21 year old and wasn’t completely overwhelmed, and this was after dominating AA to the tune of an .896 OPS.