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Seth Stohs
03-13-2012, 12:38 PM
So far we have voted on the Preseason AL Central Catcher, First Baseman and Second Baseman choices. Now let's get the discussion going on "Which AL Central Shortstop will be the best in 2012?" Vote now and comment your rankings.

The Candidates (2011 stats)

Minnesota Twins - Jamey Carroll - .290/.359/.347 (.706) with 14-2B, 6-3B, 0-HR, 17 RBI
Chicago White Sox - Alexei Ramirez - .269/.328/.399 (.727) with 31-2B, 2-3B, 15-HR, 70 RBI
Cleveland Indians - Asdrubal Cabrera - .273/.332/.460 (.792) with 32-2B, 3-3B, 25-HR, 92 RBI
Detroit Tigers - Jhonny Peralta - .299/.345/.478 (.824) with 25-2B, 3-3B, 21-HR, 86 RBI
Kansas City Royals - Alcides Escobar - .254/.290/.343 (.633) with 21-2B, 8-3B, 4-HR, 46 RBI

SUMMARY

Looking for a settling influence for an infield that really struggled in 2011, the Twins look to Carroll in 2012. The veteran is solid with the glove. He is also terrific as a top of the order, on-base guy. Don't expect much, if any, power from him, but it is fair to expect to see him help the Twins with the glove and in the lineup. The 38 year old played 146 games for the Dodgers in 2011.

Alexei Ramirez finished second in rookie of the year voting in 2008. In 2010, he won the AL Silver Slugger Award for shortstops. The 30-year-old Cuban had a down year in 2011, but he does provide some good extra-base hit power near the bottom of the lineup.

Asdrubal Cabrera was a first-time All Star in 2011 and won his first Silver Slugger Award. I think many were surprised that he was not named a Gold Glove winner because he is very good with the glove. The 26-year-old has a lot of power and turned it into home run power in 2011. He also stole 17 bases.

Jhonny Peralta was moved to 3B when he was traded from Cleveland to the Tigers, but last year he moved back to the middle of the diamond. He posted his best season in 2011 and played in his first All Star game. Although he has been around a long time, he will turn 30 at the end of May.

When the Royals traded Zach Greinke before the 2011 season, they received several players that will impact them for several years. They wanted to improve their shortstop defense so one of the players they received from the Brewers was Alcides Escobar. He is a free swinger who occasionally gets an extra base hit, and with his great speed, he turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He turned just 25 years old in December and played in 158 games in 2011.


There is your information, now it is time to vote. Who will be the best first baseman in the AL Central in 2012?

My choice?

309

Thrylos
03-13-2012, 12:47 PM
Cabrera
Ramirez
Carroll
Peralta
Escobar

Seth Stohs
03-13-2012, 12:51 PM
Cabrera, Carroll, Ramirez, Peralta, Escobar

jwestbrock
03-13-2012, 01:16 PM
Cabrera, Ramirez, Peralta, Carroll, Escobar. To me 1 and 2 set apart, but closer together than this poll will end up showing because Cabrera will likely regress some and Ramirez will likely improve closer to his 2010. I give Peralta the edge over Carroll simply based on his bat and Carroll depending on how Carroll adjusts to having Joe Mauer batting behind him instead of the pitcher and how that will affect his OBP. If escobar can hit at all he can move up this ranking at lightspeed.

dave_dw
03-13-2012, 01:40 PM
The reason Alexei is the best SS in the Central is because of his defense. Peralta and Asdrubal are the best offensive SS in the division, but looking at their defensive numbers at Fangraphs, it's clear that, outside of Peralta's unrepeatable last year, these two are not good defenders.

Shortstop is one of the most important defensive positions in baseball, and Alexei Ramirez is a great defender as well as being a good hitter.

Neinstein
03-13-2012, 02:13 PM
Cabrera
Ramirez
Carroll
Peralta
Escobar

powrwrap
03-13-2012, 03:20 PM
Cabrera
Ramirez
Peralta
Carroll
Escobar

I suspect that by the end of the year Carroll will be in the fifth position.

whydidnt
03-13-2012, 09:39 PM
Ramirez
Cabrera
Peralta
Escobar
Carroll

Ramirez is consistently decent with the bat, and excellent with the glove. I have to see Cabrera do it a second year before I believe it. He tailed off in the 2nd half last year, still ok, but not the monster he was in the first half. I don't really believe in Peralta, Escobar is an excellent fielder with excellent speed, but still questionable if he can hit. Carroll is a utility infielder masquerading as a starter for the Twins. I fear he will perform like he did in his previous AL stints rather than like he did in the easier NL. He's an improvement on what we ran out there last year in that he should at least provide steady defense. Quite a contrast in quality between SS and 2B in the division though.

Brandon Warne
03-14-2012, 10:07 AM
Ramirez-Peralta-Cabrera-Carroll-Escobar.

StormJH1
03-14-2012, 10:20 AM
Ramirez-Peralta-Cabrera-Carroll-Escobar.
This is really tough, but I agree with this exact order. I think Ramirez has the best likelihood of being both a plus with his bat and pretty good at defense. Peralta can rake (and that's on a good lineup), but I've heard he's below average defensively. Asdrubal has potential, but is hurt a lot. Escobar is still young, but I'm not convinced he can hit in the bigs. Carroll is the only guy on this list who ISN'T REALLY A SHORTSTOP, but I put him 4th instead of 5th because he is a veteran with a track record, and I think he's shown he can at least avoid getting out pretty well.

If you really feel optimistic about this team, continue following these "positional rankings", and if you're being honest with yourself, ask how we really stand up position-by-position. It's easy to look at an overall squad and feel good about "your guys", but when you break it down, it isn't too pretty. But whatever, I'm more excited for the new season every year at this time!

Brandon Warne
03-14-2012, 11:42 AM
Love Escobar's defense, but he's a total zero with the stick, and I don't see that changing. Carroll isn't great shakes either, so they'll be neck-and-neck for the last place, but it's still a huge boost from Nishioka-Plouffe.

Gernzy
03-14-2012, 12:00 PM
I hope to see Nishioka step up and take over SS. (hope not expect though)

dave_dw
03-14-2012, 12:02 PM
Ramirez
Cabrera
Peralta
Escobar
Carroll


Nailed it.

Harrison Greeley III
03-14-2012, 12:04 PM
This is a tough one. I suppose it all depends on how much you expect Cabrera to improve in hitting. I had the perception that he wasn't a bad defender, though fangraphs is refuting that notion. Ramirez is the highest WAR player in the past, but if Cabrera becomes an elite hitter, it's going to be a tough call.

terencemann
03-15-2012, 08:11 AM
I hate to be "that guy", but you finished your article with the line "Who will be the best first baseman in the AL Central in 2012?

You may want to edit that. Just trying to help...