They are All-Star shortstops who each wear No. 2.
Derek Jeter, the captain of the defending World Series champion Yankees, is regarded as the standard at his position. Based on his overall numbers and five rings, it is easy to see why.
Still, when discussing the best shortstops in the game, don’t discount Florida’s Hanley Ramirez. The 26-year-old is the defending N.L. batting champion, coming off a .342 season. He’s won two straight Silver Slugger Awards. Manager Fredi Gonzalez quipped to Ramirez, “I was telling him, hey, ‘We’ve got enough silver, we’ve got to get gold this year.” Ramirez hopes to reach Gold Glove status in the field. He committed 10 errors in 2009 after racking up 22 in ’08.
Across the board, Ramirez stands above the rest at his position. He has speed, power, hits for average and he is one of the best baserunners in the game.
If scoring runs and stealing bases are qualifications for being a great base runner, then Hanley (nicknamed H2R) stands alone.
According to Elias, since 2006, Hanley’s rookie season, the Marlins shortstop is the only player in baseball to rank in the top five in runs scored and stolen bases.
Here are the stolen base leaders over that span:
* Jose Reyes, 209
* Carl Crawford, 193
* Juan Pierre, 192
* Chone Figgins, 169
* Hanley Ramirez, 164
The top run scorers since 2006:
* Hanley Ramirez, 470
* Chase Utley, 460
* Albert Pujols, 442
* Jimmy Rollins, 442
* Matt Holliday, 440
“I don’t think there is anything he can’t do on a baseball field,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez says of his two-time All-Star shortstop. “He’s got good instincts on the bases. The speed is still there. He goes from first-to-home. That’s when I like to see him run, when he goes first-to-third, or first-to-home on a double. That’s when you see his athleticism.”
The days of Ramirez stealing 50 bases may be over, because he is batting third now.
“You don’t want to beat up that body too much,” Gonzalez said. “But I think he’s a guy who can still run you 30. It’s when you steal them. I’ve seen guys with 50, stealing third with two outs, swiping a base that is really meaningless.”
Since his rookie season, Hanley’s numbers certainly hold up when next to Jeter.
From 2006-09, Ramirez has compiled: 470 runs, 771 hits, 170 doubles, 22 triples, 103 HRs, 313 RBIs, 164 stolen bases, .316 BA, .387 OBP, .531 slug, .918 OPS.
Jeter from 2006-09 posted: 415 runs, 811 hits, 130 doubles, 11 triples, 55 HRs, 305 RBIs, 90 stolen bases, .325 BA, .394 OBP, .453 Slug, .847 OPS.
In his first four big league seasons, from 1996-99, Jeter turned in these figures: 481 runs, 795 hits, 118 doubles, 30 triples, 63 HRs, 334 RBIs, 86 stolen bases, .319 BA, .391 OBP, .467 slg, .858 OPS.
Jeter’s obvious edge … five rings.
– Joe Frisaro