Man am I glad I am not writing this one on one of the other blogs…
Continuing with our series looking at a position by position break down in the NL East today we look deep in the hole at the SS position.
#5 I am going with the Preacher Man: Tyler Pastornicky. The 21 year old might end up being a solid MLB SS but until he swings the bat that the MLB level I can’t go there. He did have a great run in AAA for 27 games but his numbers there were much higher than in AA so is it sample size or figuring things out? He’s not going to have a lot of pop, makes good contact, and can swipe some bases. I am actually surprised the Braves are going this direction when they are in desperate need of offense and are looking to contend now.
#4 Ruben Tejada: I would have liked to put him ahead of #3 and I think he has potential to pass him for sure. But like the Preacher Man, I think Tejada has to prove he can play the SS position over the course of a full season and hit at an average level day in and day out. There is no doubt that Tejada appeared to have turned the corner in August and September hitting for average and getting on base more with the walk as well. His SLG is still paltry and is not showing to be any more than a singles hitter. To move up on the list he will also have to improve his base-running, I have found it amazing a guy his size can be so slow on the bases. He does have a good glove but the fundamentals were absent at time. So this year will be huge for Tejada, can he handle the pressure of being Jose’s replacement? Collins can say all he wants that he is not to be held to Jose’s standards but will the lunatic portion of the fan-base be patient?
#3 Ian Desmond: Easy call for now? Guy is not great, not bad, just plain average. He commits a lot of errors, makes mistakes on easy plays, is decently accurate on his arm. He swings for the fences but does not reach them very often. (How can you strike out 140 times and hit 8 HR with only 40 extra base hits?) He did have 25 steals but was also caught 10 times. The Nationals have to hope that he just had a sophomore slump because if this is the real Ian Desmond then next year at this time they may be bringing up the rear on this list.
#2 Jimmy Rollins: The old man just signed what I think was a ridiculous contract. The Phillies were practically bidding against themselves here. Rollins has had to adjust his game back to average Joe after being Super Jimmy for a few years. Man do the Phillies need Super Jimmy again but that’s a side note. He’s still a great fielder, still hits for some pop, had a resurgence on the base-paths. Gone most likely are the days of 162 games, he is still the more healthy of the two SS at the top of this list. Will the 33 year old continue his resurgence or start down the quick and slippery slope?
#1 Jose Reyes: Easy call considering he is coming off what could be said a career year, although even then it was littered with injuries. Such is the devil’s advocate with Jose. I am very curious to see if he can live up to his new contract on a team that he is basically a hired gun. No longer will the fans love him regardless injured, uninjured, swinging, not swinging, talking to reporters, not talking, smiling, sulking… This is not being bitter about Jose leaving, this is just a moment of truth. When you come through a system and develop like Jose did you can do little wrong in the opinion of the fan-base. Now the pressure is on, to lead the Marlins to a title, to stay on the field and be healthy and to be the smiling face when the media comes calling. Ozzie will take some of that pressure away but Jose’s first test may be convincing his best friend to be a teammate instead of a Diva.