Posted by Brady
Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of MLB Network. And for those of you who do not have MLB Network, they are currently running a 10 part series called “Top 1o Right Now”. They go through all nine positions on the baseball diamond, and manager, to determine who the best is right now. And while most of the positions should be pretty easy to figure out (Pujols, Mauer, Longoria, Cano, blah, blah, blah) I got to thinking about the shortstop position. And for my money, it comes down to two players. Troy Tulowitzki and Hanley Ramirez. The difficult thing about deciding who the better player is how much weight you put on different aspects of the game. Especially with players this similar.
Both Tulowitzki and Ramirez are middle of the order hitting shortstops with power oozing out of them. For their careers their ISO is virtually the same. Tulowitzki at .205 and Ramirez at .207. Not only do they have virtually the same amount of power, they strike out at similar rates. 18.1% for Ramirez. 19.1% for Tulowitzki.
One however could make a case that Ramirez is very lucky, having never posted a BABIP under .327. His career mark is a spit-take inducing .347. Tulowitzki’s .319 mark seems paltry by comparison. Keeping in mind that Ramirez is doing this in Sun Life Stadium.
Park Factors have that at a 105 (above 100 favors hitters, under 100 favors pitchers) and Tulowitzki is putting on his clinic at Coors Field, which comes in at 115!
This seems to be one time where Coors Field comes into play. When it comes to OPS+ (which adjusts for ballparks) Troy Tulowitzki comes in at 114. Though, over the last two years he’s put up an OPS+ of 134. Compared to Hanley Ramirez’s 135 career mark, and 136 over the last two years.
Since these are both shortstops, we would be hapless to not mention defensive contributions. There is a reason Troy Tulowitzki has a Gold Glove, and Hanley Ramirez doesn’t. We might as well be comparing Derek Jeter to Ozzie Smith. Tulowitzki has given Colorado 20.4 UZR and Hanley Ramirez has given Florida -39.3 UZR. As a former middle infielder, that makes me cry. Ramirez has negative marks in every advanced defensive metric imaginable. Where as Tulowitzki has positive marks in them all, except RngR (Range Runs Above Average). He has a career mark of -3.2. Hanley Ramirez? -24.6. That means that he has to almost go to the left when the ball goes to his right. I just find it AMAZING that Hanley Ramirez is a short stop. His bat plays anywhere. Stick him at first, and leave him there. Forever.
Doing this research just cemented what I already believed. Troy Tulowitzki is the best short stop in baseball. He may hit less away, but who doesn’t?
If I am the head of an expansion team, I am doing everything I can to get Troy Tulowitzki at my short stop position. And leaving Hanley Ramirez in a galaxy far, far away.