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February 18, 2015

BP Unfiltered

Everybody Played Shortstop

by Sam Miller

There are phrases that get repeated in the BP Annual that we do our best as editors to avoid, like "at the highest level" or "advanced approach" or "command and control." Then there are the phrases that get repeated because they're so crucial to analysis that you simply can't avoid mentioning them often. Like whether the player who is manning shortstop in A-Ball is going to be able to man shortstop at the highest level in the majors. So I'd argue that this repetition is justified:

  • Stick at shortstop: 11 instances in 2015 annual
  • Stay at shortstop: Twice
  • Remain at shortstop: Twice
  • Stick at short: Once
  • Stick at the position: Once
  • Stick at the six-sport: Once
  • Handle shortstop: Twice

Similar phrasing gets used to describe third basemen (who tend to end up at first) or center fielders (who gets filtered out and shipped to a corner) or catchers (who disappear in the bowels of the minors if found unable to stick at catcher/remain at catcher/handle catcher/stick at the position). But mostly, shortstops, and for a simple reason: Few can handle shortstop, but becuase the payoff is so great when it works, many, many, many, many are given the chance. How many? A brief rundown of the players who played shortstop in the minors:

The Guys Who You'd Forgotten Were Originally Shortstops But, Yeah, Okay, Makes Sense

The Guys Who You'd Forgotten Were Originally Shortstops And In Retrospect Are Momentarily Surprised By, Given Their Body Types And/Or Demonstrated Limitations At Other, Easier Positions
  • Chipper Jones: 442 minor-league games
  • window._ttf = window._ttf || []; _ttf.push({ pid : 53804 ,lang : "en" ,slot : '.contentPad .article > p' ,format : "inread" ,minSlot : 5 ,components : { skip: {delay : 0}} ,css : "margin: 0px auto 20px; max-width: 600px!important;" }); (function (d) { var js, s = d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; js = d.createElement('script'); js.async = true; js.src = '//cdn.teads.tv/media/format.js'; s.parentNode.insertBefore(js, s); })(window.document); playerdef">Jeff Kent: 38
  • Matt Williams: 84
  • Michael Cuddyer: 122
  • Alfonso Soriano: 176
  • Dan Uggla: 18
  • Wade Boggs: 33
  • Todd Frazier: 121
  • Dean Palmer: 4
Same Category As Above, But With Exclamation Points In Parentheses After Their Names
Same Category, Except That They Played Shortstop In the Majors
The Outfielders, B.J. Upton Needing Not Be Mentioned Due To Recency And That GIF
I Absolutely Don't Believe These Guys Played Multiple Games At Shortstop
The One-Gamers, And Oh I Bet There's A Story Behind Each Of These
And, Finally, Not The Same Thing, But Not Altogether Different

Of course, everybody didn't play shortstop. All the people who aren't named above, for instance. Like Chris Hoiles, and Richard Hidalgo, and Carlos Gomez, and Mike Sweeney, and Stan Javier, and so on. That list is less interesting.

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues

17 comments have been left for this article.

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