Posts Tagged ‘Major League Baseball’

With a new Major League Baseball season upon us, hopes spring eternal for many teams across the league. Likewise, there are players in each MLB camp who have those same aspirations for their individual seasons, many of which are looking to make a name for themselves in a new fashion.

A year ago D.J. LeMahieu and Daniel Murphy made significant rises in their game to battle for the National League batting title. Likewise, Aaron Sanchez and Kyle Hendricks exploded on the scene to play major roles in their clubs reaching the postseason on the mound. Who stands to be this season’s biggest breakout talents?

Let’s have a look at seven candidates who could be on the brink of stardom in the new baseball year.

Alex Bregman, Astros

After roaring through four levels of the minors in under a year, the team did everything they possible could to get Bregman into their lineup late last season, trying the 22-year-old at shortstop, left field, second and third base. He responded with eight home runs, 34 RBI and a .791 OPS over 49 games, proving his place as a major portion of the Astros immediate push for AL West supremacy.

After helping Team USA to a World Baseball Classic, he’ll settle in on the hot corner this year and for the foreseeable future, joining Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve in baseball’s best young infield.

Kevin Gausman, Orioles

Long heralded as the O’s ace of the future, Gausman finally showed the type of talent and consistency that made those predictions so prevalent over the past few years. After the All-Star break last season, he won eight of 15 starts, along with a 3.10 ERA.

He’ll get the .ball on Opening Day this season, as Baltimore will hang much of their hopes for a return to the postseason on his shoulders.

Randal Grichuk, Cardinals

The streaky St. Louis slugger showed both his best and his worst last season. After early season struggles saw him be demoted to Triple A Memphis and his place in the Cardinal future in doubt, Grichuk made the most of his second chance. Over the final two months, he connected for 12 home runs and a .909 OPS. In the new year, he’ll be looked to potentially hit cleanup for a Cardinals club looking to put a similarly inconsistent 2016 behind them.

Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks

A crafty left-hander who can also channel some overwhelming stuff from his arsenal as well, Ray posted four games of double-digit strikeouts a year ago and finished in fourth in the NL in K’s with 218. The only thing standing between Ray and potentially rapid rise up the ranks of pitchers in the game is honing his control and a bit more luck with balls in play (he allowed a .355 BIP average). But the talent is clear.

Gary Sanchez, Yankees

The biggest breakout star of the late part of 2017, Sanchez nearly won the American League Rookie of the Year award in just two months. After hitting 20 home runs in his first 51 big league games, Sanchez is expected to carry the weight of a Yankees team that showed some significant potential late in the year. While continuing to produce at the rate he did last year is impossible, he should still begin a run as an All-Star mainstay this summer.

Trevor Story, Rockies

Story set a handful of rookie home run records last season, and kept the level of production carrying through the rest of the year. A torn UCL in his hand unfortunately ended his season short of setting even more high marks and challenging for NL Rookie of the Year honors. However, there should be every expectation that he picks up where he left off at last year — a beeline towards 30 homers, and beyond.

Dansby Swanson, Braves

There is superstar potential in Swanson, the top pick in the 2015 Amateur Draft. He will take over everyday the everyday shortstop role in Atlanta this year, with the type of expectations of being an immediate franchise cornerstone at the position like no other player has carried since Derek Jeter. The Braves are turning the page to a new era in franchise history; new ballpark, renewed manager and a young leader at the Keystone, set to carry the expectations into reality.

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12 in 12. It’s the for this upcoming season of St. Louis , one that is now un-officially (yet still officially) underway. is in motion in Jupiter, Florida and the road for the defending Champions has the first few steps taken on it by the . Soon the full assortment of positional players will also be in action, and the effort to follow up last year’s magical 11th championship with a 12th one will be completely underway.

However, things are undeniably different this year, yet still the still the same. There are still position battles to play out, rehab projects to engage in, young players to evaluate and internal competition to hash out before taking it across the league.

Basically, business is still business and over the next few weeks here, I’ll be breaking down 12 issues & topics that are surrounding the team as they enter their first season as defending champions since 2007.

In the first entry today, we’ll take a look at the biggest facing the team currently: who’s on second? For a few years now, there has been a revolving door at the second base position; a spot that hasn’t had a definite owner in more than … years. Now, once again, the position is up for grabs and there are three contenders entering a scrap the top seed at the position.

What does each bring to the spot, and what works both in, and against, them in landing the only open spot on the roster? Let’s dig into this a bit deeper

CANDIDATE: (.264/1/28/20 doubles in 2011)

Descalso showed he can spark the club as a fill in a year ago, and has a chance for much more on the horizon.

In his favor: He’s shown steady improvement at the position, as well as proven he can contribute on a daily basis. There’s a lot of value in a player like Descalso, who isn’t exactly “scrappy”, but….

 

For the rest of this article, including the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate vying for the opening at second, as well as my take on who’s the best fit, head over to St. Louis Sports 360 here: http://stlouissports360.com/cardinals-spring-12-in-12-part-1-whos-on-second/

 

And for everything else as it develops, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. Moving out of the middle infield, volume 7 focuses on an position where perhaps more top tier greatness has played than any other. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)

**Center Field**

Center field is one of the most demanding positions in the game. It requires a player with a mixture of speed, instincts and a strong arm to man the position. It is also the outfield captain, who makes calls on who will make plays on balls hit into the gap. Many of the most complete players in the history of the game have player position. Many of the greatest pure athletes in the history of game have played center field and every era of the game is represented by at least one great player from the position. The genesis of the position throughout the various eras of the game and it boasts such a great variety of hitters, speedsters and fielders that it was the most closely competed position for the top spot, which can be greatly debated (and I’m sure will be)….

As controversial as he was great, Cobb's dominance at the plate & on the bases narrowly lands him the top spot.

1. Ty Cobb: Detroit Tigers (1905-1928): 90 points

–          .367 Avg. 117 HRs, 1938 RBI, .424 OBP, 4191 Hits, 2245 Runs, 892 Stolen Bases

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 12 Batting Titles, 1 Triple Crown, 2 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 14 awarded)

A controversial figure in sports history. Set over 90 records during his career. Highest career batting average in Major League history and held record for most hits for 57 years and runs scored for 77 years. His post 1900 (Modern Era) record of stolen bases stood for 49 years. Also committed an American League record of 271 errors by and outfielder. He hit .300 or better for 23 consecutive seasons, which remains a Major League record. He is the only player to ever record two hitting streaks of 35 games or more. Once led the American League in home runs, with all being inside the park hits, the only player to achieve this. His 724 doubles are fourth all-time. Is characterized by his extremely competitive approach to the game, which was seen as extreme to the point of dirty.

2. Willie Mays: New York/San Francisco Giants (1951-1973): 89.5 points

–          .302 Avg. 660 HRs, 1903 RBI, .384 OBP, 3283 Hits, 2062 Runs, 338 Stolen Bases

–          12 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 2 MVPs, 1 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crowns, 4 HR Titles, 24 All-Star Games

Widely considered the greatest all-around player in history. The “Say Hey Kid” is one of four players to pass 600 home runs for his career. His 24 All-Star Games are a record and his the only player to hit have 50 home run seasons 10 years apart. One of four players to ever hit 20 doubles, triples and home runs in the same season (1957). One of five players to ever have eight consecutive 100 RBI seasons. Tied for the most Gold Glove Awards ever for an outfielder. Holds Major League record of 7,095 putouts (catches for an out). Missed one and a half years to military service.

As gifted in the field as he was at the plate, Mays' greatness extended for two and a half decades.

3. Mickey Mantle: New York Yankees (1951-1968): 74 points

–          .298 Avg. 536 HRs, 1509 RBI, .421 OBP, 2415 Hits, 1677 Runs, 153 Stolen Bases

–          1 Gold Glove, 7 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 1 Triple Crown, 4 HR Titles, 16 All-Star Games

An American Icon for third leg of Yankee dynasty and the greatest switch hitter ever. Holds all-time World Series records in home runs (18), RBI (40), runs (42), walks (43), total bases (123) and extra base hits (26). Remains the last player to win the Triple Crown by leading both leagues in home runs, RBI and average. Frequently suffering from injuries, his potential is still greatly debated if not hindered by his health.

4. Ken Griffey, Jr: Seattle Mariners (1989-2010): 64.5 points

–          .284 Avg. 630 HRs, 1779 RBI, .370 OBP, 2781 Hits, 1662 Runs, 184 Stolen Bases

–          10 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 4 HR Titles, 13 All-Star Games

One of the great all around talents ever, despite a split career that was hindered by injury on the second half of it. Led the American League in home runs in three consecutive years from 1997-99. Upon his retirement he ranked 5th all-time in home runs and is one of three outfielders to land 10 Gold Glove Awards. Only three time winner of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. A crossover marketing star for baseball during the 1990s.

5. Joe DiMaggio: New York Yankees (1936-1951): 60.5 points

–          .325 Avg. 361 HRs, 1537 RBI, .398 OBP, 2214 Hits, 1390 Runs, 30 Stolen Bases

–          0 Gold Gloves, 9 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 2 HR Titles, 13 All-Star Games

“The Yankee Clipper” holds the Major League record with a 56 game hitting streak. He is the only player to make the All-Star game in every year of his career. Hit over .350 three times in his career, with a high mark of .381 in 1939. Considered equally devastating in the field, he dominated the huge left center field in old Yankee Stadium. He lost three years in his prime to military service in World War II.

American Icons in center field, DiMaggio (R) and Mantle brought 16 total World Series to Yankee Stadium.

6. Tris Speaker: Cleveland Indians/Boston Red Sox (1907-1928): 60.5 points

–          .345 Avg. 117 HRs, 1529 RBI, .428 OBP, 3514 Hits, 1882 Runs, 432 Stolen Bases

–          0 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 1 HR Title, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 13 awarded)

One of the premier hitters of the early 1900’s, he missed many batting titles due to playing concurrently with Ty Cobb. His 792 doubles are the most of all-time and he led the American League in category eight times. Has the fifth highest average in history and batted over .380 five times. Only struck out 220 times in 10,000 plus at bats. Considered the greatest defensive outfielder of his time and his 440 outfield assists are the most ever.

7. Billy Hamilton: Philadelphia Phillies (1888-1901): 51 points

–          .344 Avg. 40 HRs, 736 RBI, .455 OBP, 2158 Hits, 1690 Runs, 912 Stolen Bases

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVPs, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 0 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 8 awarded)

Third most stolen bases of all time. Four seasons of over 100 steals, including two totals of 111. Hit over .380 for three consecutive years from 1893-95. Holds the record for most runs scored with 198 in 1894. His .455 on-base percentage is the fourth highest ever.

8. Kirby Puckett: Minnesota Twins (1984-1995): 40 points

–          .318 Avg. 207 HRs, 1085 RBI, .360 OBP, 2304 Hits, 1071 Runs, 134 Stolen Bases

–          6 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 10 All-Star Games

His career average was the highest of any American Leaguer after 1950. One of two players to reach 2,000 hits in 10 calendar years. Became the fourth player to record 1,000 hits in five seasons. Career end early due to loss of vision in his right eye from glaucoma. Is the second youngest player to ever be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after dying of stroke at age 45.

9. Edd Roush: Cincinnati Reds (1913-1931): 39.5 points

–          .323 Avg. 68 HR, 981 RBI, .369 OBP, 2376 Hits, 1099 Runs, 268 Stolen Bases

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVPs, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 0 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 11 awarded)

Said to have the strongest arm of his era. Recorded 30 inside the park home runs and never struck out more than 25 times in a season. Had a batting average over .330 for six consecutive years from 1920-25. Best player of the 1919 Cincinnati Reds who competed in the disputed “Black Sox” scandal of the 1919 World Series.

10. Duke Snider: Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-1964): 39 points

–          .295 Avg. 407 HR, 1333 RBI, .380 OBP, 2116 Hits, 1259 Runs, 99 Stolen Bases

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 1 HR Title, 8 All-Star Games

Third of the great New York City center fielders of the 1950’s along with Mays and Mantle. Snider was one of two players to have over 1,000 RBI during the decade. “The Duke of Flatbush” hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive years from 1953-57. Only player to hit four home runs or more in two different World Series.

Left on deck: Larry Doby, Lloyd Waner, Jim Edmonds, Hack Wilson

See past posts for scoring rubric

There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. In the last section Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt and George Brett were observed and the infield positions were wrapped up. Now we move to the outfield. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)

**Left Field**

Despite being viewed as three players in the same position in many instances, each outfield position is very different and requires a different type of player, especially when defense is being assessed. Left fielders are usually very good athletes that have lesser arms than the other outfield positions, due to not having to throw as far to reach third base, which is the base most often thrown to from the outfield. However, they must stay aware due to more balls being hit in the area due to more right-handed hitters than left. Offensively, it has hosted perhaps the greatest overall selection of hitters of any position, featuring an 7-time MVP, 2 of the top 4 hit totals ever, the stolen base king and after all of that, arguably the most complete hitter ever.

Doubt and controversy follow his name now, but he was the perfect storm of baseball talents. His solo membership in the 500/500 club seals his unique place in history.

1. Barry Bonds: San Francisco Giants (1985-2007): 90 points

–          .298 Avg. 762 HR, 1996 RBI, .444 OBP, 2935 Hits, 2227 Runs, 514 SB

–          8 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 7 MVPs, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 2 HR Titles, 14 All-Star Games

The all-time home run king. His 73 home runs in 2001 is single season standard. The most avoided hitter ever, his 2,558 walks are the most ever, 688 of which are intentional, also a Major League record. His seven MVP awards are the most ever, four coming consecutively. He is the only player to have 500 career home runs and stolen bases. One of four players to record 40 home runs and stolen bases in the same season. His .609 on-base percentage in 2004 is a single season record.

2. Stan Musial: St. Louis Cardinals (1941-1963): 87.5 points

–          .331 Avg. 475 HR, 1951 RBI, .417 OBP, 3630 Hits, 1949 Runs, 78 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 7 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 20 All-Star Games

The most under appreciated player ever, Musial held 17 Major League and 29 National League records upon his retirement. Has the fourth most hits and third most doubles (725) of all-time. Led the National League in hits six times, doubles eight times and triples five times. Had exactly 1,815 at home & on the road, to split his career production evenly.

3. Ted Williams: Boston Red Sox (1939-1960): 85 points

–          .344 Avg. 521 HR, 1839 RBI, .482 OBP, 2654 Hits, 1798 Runs, 24 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 2 MVP, 0 ROY, 6 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 4 HR Titles, 16 All-Star Games

In many accounts, the greatest hitter of all-time. Finish with a .406 batting average in 1941, making him the last player to pass the mark. Has the highest career batting average of any player play his entire career after the 1920’s. Has the best career on-base percentage in history and led the American League 11 times in the mark. Reached base in 84 consecutive games in 1949, the most ever. Led the American League in runs scored six times.  Finished with these career marks despite missing four seasons to military service.

Despite quite different approaches, Musial (R) steady and humble, Williams' brash and uncompromising, they made for a loud impact at the plate during the 40's and 50's as the era's premier hitters.

4. Carl Yastrzemski: Boston Red Sox (1961-1983): 74.5 points

–          .285 Avg. 452 HR, 1844 RBI, .379 OBP, 3419 Hits, 1816 Runs, 168 SB

–          7 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY 3 Batting Titles, 1 Triple Crown, 1 HR Title, 18 All-Star Games

Williams’ successor in left field for Boston. The last player to win a Triple Crown (single season batting average, home run and RBI leader) in baseball in 1967. Played in the second most games in Major League history and third most at-bats. The first American Leaguer to compile both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. His 646 doubles are 8th all-time.

5. Pete Rose: Cincinnati Reds (1963-1986): 66.5 points

–          .303 Avg. 160 HR, 1314 RBI, .375 OBP, 4256 Hits, 2165 Runs, 198 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 1 MVP, 1 ROY, 3 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 17 All-Star Games

Has the most hits in Major League history. Holds all-time records for games played, singles and most 200 hit seasons, with 10. Had 23 consecutive seasons with at least 100 hits. The ultimate utility man, he made the All-Star game at five different positions. Was given lifetime ban from baseball for betting on games while playing and managing in 1989.

While his recognition in the Hall of Fame can be disputed, "Charlie Hustle"'s place in history by the numbers cannot be.

6. Manny Ramirez: Boston Red Sox/Cleveland Indians (1993-Present): 58 points

–          .314 Avg. 550 HR, 1843 RBI, .411 OBP, 2524 Hits, 1521 Runs, 37 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 12 All-Star Games

A controversial, yet constant threat over the last 18 years. Has the most postseason home runs (28) and RBI (75) ever. His 21 grand slams are the second most ever. Has the most RBI of any active player and the third most home runs.

7. Rickey Henderson: Oakland A’s (1979-2003): 55.5 points

–          .279 Avg. 297 HR, 1115 RBI, .401 OBP, 3055 Hits, 2295 Runs, 1406 SB

–          1 Gold Glove, 2 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 10 All-Star Games

The most disruptive player in the history of the game. Has the most stolen bases in history, with over 450 more than the second place competitor. He led the American League in steals 12 times and finished in the top 10 in 21 seasons. He hit a record 81 lead off home runs and accumulated 2,129 unintentional walks, also a Major League record.

No player struck more terror in pitchers one he reached base than Rickey, and he did so often.

8. Al Simmons: Philadelphia A’s (1922-1944): 51 points

–          .334 Avg. 307 HR, 1827 RBI, .380 OBP, 2927 Hits, 1507 Runs, 88 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 3 All-Star Games (Presumptive 6 awarded)

Had one of the greatest starts to a career of any player. Hit for a .300 average and 100 RBI for eleven consecutive years to start his career. Reached 2,000 hits faster than any player in history, in only 1, 390 games.

9. Ed Delahanty: Philadelphia Phillies (1888-1903): 50 points

–          .346 Avg. 101 HR, 1464 RBI, .411 OBP, 2596 Hits, 1599 Runs, 455 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 2 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Game (Presumptive 10 awarded)

One of the first premier power threats in the Majors. Is the only player to hit four home runs in one game with them all being inside the park hits. He is the only player to win a batting title in both the National and American Leagues. His career batting average is fifth all-time and he surpassed a .400 average three times.

10. Goose Goslin: Washington Senators (1921-1938): 46 points

–          .316 Avg. 248 HR, 1609 RBI, .387 OBP, 2735 Hits, 1483 Runs, 175 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 1 All-Star Game (Presumptive 9 awarded)

A consistent hitter throughout his entire career. Goslin  ranks in the top 50 all-time in total bases (4,325), hits (2,735), RBI (1,609), doubles (500) and triples (173). Twice hit above .350, with a high mark of .379 in 1928.

Left on deck: Joe Medwick, Ralph Kiner, Lou Brock

See past posts for scoring rubric

There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. Moving out of the middle infield, volume 5 focuses on an elite position, were there is more separation amongst the greats than any other. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)

**Third Base**

The hot corner, where many of the most dangerous bats in the history of the game play. It is very similar to both shortstop and first base, where it has elements of the defense needed at shortstop and the hitting abilities from first base. It is the most instinctive position in all of baseball, due to amount of right handed hitters that hit drive straight at the third baseman. It takes a good athlete with a strong arm to be an effective third baseman. This athleticism translates into many great hitters that are very diverse in their impacts on the game. This ranges from multiple time batting champions, to some of the great power hitters in the history of the game, to a record setting defender. Here are how they stack up.

Despite having only spent half his career thus far at 3B after moving from SS, A-Rod would be in the top 3 at Shortstop as well.

1. Alex Rodriguez: New York Yankees/Seattle Mariners (1994-Present): 68.5 points

–          .300 Avg. 591 HR, 1749 RBI, .389 OBP, 2591 Hits, 1716 Runs, 299 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 5 HR Titles, 12 All-Star Games

The most accomplished offensive player currently in the game. The youngest player to ever reach 500 home runs. Has hit over 40 home runs eight times, featuring three seasons past 50 homers. First player in Major League history to have 35 home runs, 100 RBI & 100 runs for 10 consecutive years. Started as a equally dominant shortstop and holds many offensive records at shortstop.

2. Mike Schmidt: Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1989): 66.5 points

–          .267 Avg. 548 HR, 1595 RBI, .380 OBP, 2234 Hits, 1506 Runs, 174 SB

–          10 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 8 HR Titles, 12 All-Star Games

Considered the greatest overall third baseman ever by many for his overall skills and holds 15 career records for the Phillies. Led the National League in home runs eight times and RBI four times. Set record for assists for a third baseman with 404 in 1974. Was one of the most powerful hitters of all-time, with many homers that were estimated as over 500 feet.

The best overall full-time third baseman ever, he led the National League in home runs more any other player.

3. George Brett: Kansas City Royals (1973-1993): 53 points

–          .305 Avg. 317 HR, 1595 RBI, .369 OBP, 3154 Hits, 1583 Runs, 201 SB

–          1 Gold Glove, 1 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 13 All-Star Games

Has the most hits every by a third baseman, 15th most of all-time. One of four players to ever have 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a .300 average during his career. His 665 doubles are the sixth most ever. His .390 batting average in 1980 is the highest full season total since 1941.

4. Wade Boggs: Boston Red Sox (1982-1999): 50.5 points

–          .328 Avg. 118 HR, 1014 RBI, .415 OBP, 3010 Hits, 1513 Runs, 24 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 5 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 12 All-Star Games

One of the great pure hitters in history. Had 200 hits for seven consecutive seasons. From 1982 to 1989, had a sub-.349 batting average only once, finishing at .325 in 1984. He has the most batting titles ever by a third baseman. The only player in history who’s 3,000th hit was a home run.

5. Brooks Robinson: Baltimore Orioles (1955-1977): 50 points

–          .267 Avg. 268 HR, 1357 RBI, .322 OBP, 2848 Hits, 1232 Runs, 28 SB

–          16 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 15 All-Star Games

The greatest defensive third baseman ever, perhaps greatest infield defender ever as well. Known as “The Human Vacuum Cleaner”. Has the second most Gold Gloves of all-time. Led the American League in fielding percentage 11 times and he held four all-time fielding records at third base when he retired. His 23 seasons with one franchise are a Major League record.

An unparalleled defender at 3B, Robinson was known as "Hoover" for his seeming abilities to bring the ball to him.

6. Eddie Mathews: Milwaukee Braves (1952-1968): 44 points

–          .271 Avg. 512 HR, 1453 RBI, .376 OBP, 2315 Hits, 1509 Runs, 68 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 2 HR Title, 9 All-Star Games

A pioneering hitter at the position, he had the seventh most home runs ever at his retirement. Mathews twice led the National League in home runs, surpassing 40 each time. Also a four time league leader in RBI. Said to have one of the greatest swings in the history of the game, acknowledged even by the great Ty Cobb.

7. Paul Moliter: Milwaukee Brewers (1978-1998): 43 points

–          .306 Avg. 234 HR, 1307 RBI, .369 OBP, 3319 Hits, 1782 Runs, 504 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 7 All-Star Games

Currently has the ninth most hits ever. One of four players to have totals of 3,o00 hits, 500 stolen bases and a .300 batting average for his career. Only player to hit two home runs, two doubles and two triples during one World Series in 1993.

8. Chipper Jones: Atlanta Braves (1993-Present): 42.5 points

–          .306 Avg. 429 HR, 1466 RBI, .406 OBP, 2442 Hits, 1479 Runs, 145 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 6 All-Star Games

A mainstay of the dominant National League Braves teams of the 1990’s. Only switch hitter to have a .300 career average and 400 home runs. Has the third most home runs of any switch hitter ever and his 45 homers in 1999 are the most ever by a switch hitter. Holds the record for most consecutive games with an extra base hit.

A dual threat at the plate, Jones is one of the most dangerous overall switch-hitters ever.

9. Home Run Baker: Philadelphia A’s (1908-1922): 35.5 points

–          .307 Avg. 96 HR, 987 RBI, .363 OBP, 1838 Hits, 887 Runs, 235 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 4 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 8 awarded)

Pioneering power hitter, who hit more home runs before they were commonplace. Led the American League in home runs four times between 1911 and 1914. Help lead the Philadelphia A’s to three consecutive World Series titles.

10. Ron Santo: Chicago Cubs (1960-1974): 32.5 points

–          .277 Avg. 342 HR, 1331 RBI, .362 OBP, 2254 Hits, 1138 Runs, 35 SB

–          5 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 9 All-Star Games

The second third baseman to hit 300 home runs after Mathews. Also an outstanding defender, he set both National League marks in most fielding measures for third basemen. He has come to be appreciated much more in recent years and his absence in the Baseball Hall of Fame is seen as an oversight by many critics.

Left on deck: Ken Boyer, Scott Rolen, Pie Traynor

See past posts for scoring rubric

There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. In the last section Rogers Hornsby, Jackie Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and other great second basemen were noted. Now we move to their middle infield mates. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)

**Shortstop**

Shortstop is the most important defensive position on the infield, due to more right-handed batters hitting in their area. Many leaders and team captains have played the position, with some of the great personalities the game being shortstops. Smaller, athletic players usually have manned the spot, and as a result of this it is the worst hitting position on the field in regards to power numbers. However, there have been some fine contact hitters and occasionally outstanding power bats to play there as well. Similarly to second base, it is traditionally known as a spot for fast players that can make trouble on the base paths. Of this group there are dynamic infielders who range from acclaim as the greatest defensive player in the history of the game, to a turn of the century great whose value on a baseball card almost outweighs his place in the history of the game. Almost.

93 years after his last game Wagner is still the standard-bearer of the position.

1. Honus Wagner: Pittsburgh Pirates (1897-1917): 65.5 points

–          .327 Avg. 101 HR, 1732 RBI, .390 OBP, 3415 Hits, 1736 Runs, 722 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 8 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 12 awarded)

Considered to be one of the greatest all around players in the history of the game. The “Flying Dutchman” led the NL in stolen bases five times and stole home plate 27 times in his career. Hit .354 in 1908 versus a 2.35 league wide ERA. His 1909 T206 baseball card is currently valued at $2.8 million, due to its rarity since Wagner demanded his image be removed from the tobacco company’s set due to its promotion to children.

2. Cal Ripken, Jr: Baltimore Orioles (1981-2001): 52.5 points

–          .267 Avg. 431 HR, 1695 RBI, .340 OBP, 3184 Hits, 1647 Runs, 36 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 2 MVPs, 1 ROY, 0 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 19 All-Star Games

At 6’4, he was one of the largest shortstops to ever play. Set the Major League record of consecutive games played with 2,632. Hit the most home runs ever at the position. His .996 fielding percentage in 1990 is the highest ever at shortstop.

3. Ozzie Smith: St. Louis Cardinals (1978-1996): 51.5 points

–          .262 Avg. 28 HR, 783 RBI, .337 OBP, 2460 Hits, 1257 Runs, 580 SB

–          13 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 15 All-Star Games

The “Wizard” defines fielding greatness at the position, maybe at any. He won 13 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1980 to 1992. Led the 1980’s Cardinals to 3 World Series in the decade.

No ball hit on his side of the field was out of The Wizard's range.

4. Derek Jeter: New York Yankees (1995-Present): 48.5 points

–          .316 Avg. 229 HR, 1099 RBI, .387 OBP, 2817 Hits, 1609 Runs, 311 SB

–          4 Gold Gloves, 5 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 11 All-Star Games

Has the most hits in Yankee history and most hits while playing shortstop. Has a record 175 postseason hits and is the only player to win both the All-Star Game and World Series MVP awards in the same season.

5. Ernie Banks: Chicago Cubs (1953-1971): 47.5 points

–          .274 Avg. 512 HR, 1636 RBI, .330 OBP, 2583 Hits, 1305 Runs, 50 SB

–          1 Gold Glove, 0 World Series, 2 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 2 HR Titles, 11 All-Star Games

“Mr. Cub” was the first shortstop to win back-to-back MVP awards. One of the first true power hitters at the position, his 277 home runs as a shortstop were the most ever when he retired.

A standout first baseman as well, Banks is still the greatest Cub to ever wear the uniform.

6. Barry Larkin: Cincinnati Reds (1986-2004): 41 points

–          .295 Avg. 197 HR, 960 RBI, .371 OBP, 2340 Hits, 1329 Runs, 379 SB

–          3 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 12 All-Star Games

First shortstop to ever hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season. One of the most complete hitters of his era at shortstop, only surpassed by Ripken, he won 9 Silver Slugger Awards as premier offensive player at the position.

7. Robin Yount: Milwaukee Brewers (1974-1993): 39.5 points

–          .285 Avg. 251 HR, 1406 RBI, .342 OBP, 3142 Hits, 1632 Runs, 271 SB

–          1 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 2 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 3 All-Star Games

One of four players to win MVP at two positions (center field as well). He had more hits than any player during the 1980’s. Twice led the American League in doubles and triples.

8. Luis Aparicio: Chicago White Sox (1956-1973): 37 points

–          .262 Avg. 83 HR, 791 RBI, .311 OBP, 2677 Hits, 1335 Runs, 506 SB

–          9 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 1 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 10 All-Star Games

A pioneering defender whose career spanned three decades. When he retired he was the all-time leader in games played at shortstop, as well as double plays and assists.

9. Arky Vaughan: New York Yankees (1932-1948): 36 points

–          .318 Avg. 96 HR, 926 RBI, .406 OBP, 2103 Hits, 1173 Runs, 118 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVPs, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 Home Run Title, 9 All-Star Games

As a worthy successor to Honus Wagner as Pirates shortstop, he hit .385 in 1935, a single season shortstop record. Hit .300 or better in 12 of his 14 seasons. Hit two home runs in the 1941 All-Star game.

10. Joe Cronin: Boston Red Sox (1926-1945): 35 points

–          .301 Avg. 170 HR, 1424 RBI, .390 OBP, 2285 Hits, 1233 Runs, 87 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 7 All-Star Games

Hit .300 or better eight times as well as surpassed 100 RBI eight times as well. Won over 1,200 games as a manager as well and reached two World Series in that capacity.

Left on deck: Lou Boudreau, Pee Wee Reece, Omar Vizquel

See past posts for scoring rubric for rankings.