Compare & Contrast: A superficial glance at Shortstop

Position: Shortstop

2010 Innings breakdown: Orlando Cabrera - 71%

                                            Paul Janish - 29%

                                            Chris Valaika - 0%

                                            Drew Sutton - 0%                                         

                                           Miguel Cairo - 0%

2010 Composite batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

590

74

155

37

0

8

58

10

6

42

71

.263

.313

.365

.678

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.288

88.0%

6.5%

0.60

10.6%

3.89

2010 Composite NL average shortstop batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

586

74

156

28

4

10

63

14

5

48

98

.266

.325

.388

.713

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.305

83.8%

7.4%

0.49

11.7%

4.11

2011 Contract status:

Cabrera - $4M mutual option

Janish - not yet arbitration eligible

Valaika - not yet arbitration eligible

Sutton - with Cleveland

Cairo - free agent

Advanced minor league depth:

Zack Cozart - age 24, 726 OPS at AAA

Kris Negron - age 24, 756 OPS at AA, AAA

Relative win increase, 2010 vs. 2009: +1

Brief summary of 2010: You, the reader, will examine the below average batting line from the Cincy shortstops.  Then you will mentally digest this factoid: 2010's SS defense was roughly one win worse than in 2009.  As a sentient being with at least an elementary school education, you will see that 2010 was still a net positive over the previous year, and you will suddenly conjure up memories of the guy from last year who you thought you had forever banished from your mind's eye.  Sucks, huh?  Orlando Cabrera, for all his faults, improved the position.  It's like picking up your family and moving from Mississippi to Pennsylvania.  Sure it's better, but it's not like you're going to mention it in the Christmas letter.  Also, for whatever reason, Paul Janish's celebrated defense took a turn for the worse.  He's still got the sure hands, and he passes the eyeball test, but he simply got to way fewer balls in 2010.  Defensive numbers can be pretty volatile from year to year, and I would bet on them being better next year, but his best fielding days are likely behind him.

Way too early knee-jerk outlook for 2011: I respect the crud out of Orlando Cabrera.  He's had quite the career, was a defensive whiz, and a doubles machine for many years.  We tend to knock the mystic qualities that are assigned to the circumstances of his career path and the teams he's played for, but he has contributed to a bunch of winning clubs well beyond his expected shelf life.  I wish he hadn't been a #1/#2 hitter for this Reds club, and he was easily the worst hitting regular on the team, but he improved the club.  That said...he's done.  I'll be shocked if he plays in more than 80 games again.  He's played many years at a difficult position, and he's going to break down.  The 123 games he played in 2010 was the fewest for OC since 1999.  The Reds simply have to decline his option and walk away.  Paul Janish will still be around, and I know I'm supposed to love the guy...but I just don't see it clicking with him either.

Bottom line: Good shortstops are hard to come by, which is why they're so valuable.  The Reds will not have a good shortstop in 2011, although by playing Janish every day, they may be able to capitalize on the glove in order to stabilize a young pitching staff.  If he hits 8th, this position may still yet improve again for next year.  What's disturbing is that the shortstop position seems to be Dusty's biggest blind spot, and it also happens to be the most unsettled spot on the team.   This is a mutual fund run by uneven investment managers.  Natural market growth may improve its position, but you can do better elsewhere.  I'd recommend that you Sell, but from our data records, it appears that very few of you currently own this fund anyway.

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