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Baseball: The Shortstop

But overnight there was swelling in the wrist and a MRI revealed a fracture to his triquetrum bone.

The Shortstop

It ended the shortstop competition. Miller, who beat out Nick Franklin in a similar competition before the season, was the opening day shortstop for a second straight season. Unlike , Miller got off to a decent start, hitting. But with the Mariners off to a slow start and struggling on offense, Taylor, who was hitting.

It was meant to help the lineup. Miller accepted the assignment and worked hard at learning outfield, but made it very clear that he believed he was a shortstop and should be playing that position. His poor footwork and funky throwing motion led to wayward throws. The experiment lasted for about a month. Taylor played his way out of the opportunity and the big leagues, struggling at the plate.

In 20 games, he hit just. His swing looked mechanical and he was pressing at the plate. The Mariners sent him back to Tacoma to figure out the issues.

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Miller was re-inserted as the starting shortstop. But really another injury might have aided that return.

The Journey of a Superstar Getting Old at the Shortstop Position

He was hitting. Manager Lloyd McClendon was lobbying to have Marte called up to play shortstop and leave Miller in the utility role. And it looked as though that would happen. But on May 31, Marte broke his thumb while running the bases in a game.

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Had Marte been healthy, he would have been likely called up when Taylor was sent down. After missing six weeks and rehabbing in the minor leagues, Marte was called up on July 31 with Robinson Cano ailing from an abdominal strain that would later be diagnosed as a hernia. Taylor, who hit just. Marte started his first two games at second base in place of Cano, getting four hits. He would make just one more start in center field and one at second base. It became apparent that Marte had taken over as shortstop while Miller played predominantly outfield.

In a surprising move, interim general manager Jeff Kingston decided not to bring Taylor back when rosters expanded in September. Instead Taylor and Mike Zunino were sent to Peoria to work on their swings instead of being recalled. At the top of the lineup, Marte was a pest on the bases and made things happen, getting on base at a.

In the field, he made the bulk of the plays that should be made, which are all the Mariners wanted from him.

Riefenhauser and outfielder Boog Powell. Many players have had strong partial-season starts to their big league career only to struggle as the league adjusts to them. Dustin Ackley hit. In , Taylor appeared in 47 games and hit. None of them were able to replicate their early success. Marte has no such fears.

The New Shortstop

He believed he should have been in consideration for the job last spring. I think you need to have that when you walk on the field. But even the most confident players can still experience failure. The results matter at the big league level. For instance, Nomar Garciaparra had a resurgence in —at age 32—with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that was really more of one last hurrah or perhaps a dead-cat bounce than proof that he was still the offensive force he'd been earlier in his career.

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And in many cases, a player needed to be compared to himself in order to determine when the decline actually began. Alex Rodriguez is a good example of this, because it could be argued that he was an above-average player compared to all big leaguers even last season despite missing time with injury. But when comparing A-Rod against A-Rod, it's pretty clear that he dropped off from his elite-level production in Hanley Ramirez, though, is a curious case indeed on this front. It appeared that he fell off in at the just-entering-his-prime age of 27, which would be rather odd.

Overall, the average age of offensive decline comes in at 33 or 34 years old, which makes sense considering a player's prime is typically between ages 27 and 32, give or take. It's tougher, if not impossible, to determine a full picture of when superstar shortstops start to decline for a few reasons.

First, defensive metrics are still imperfect in many ways, and it's best not to read too much into performance in any one season; even those who have studied, researched and developed these statistics will suggest analyzing a sample size of at least two or three seasons to get a truer take.

In other words, there's literally no way to use these to measure the dropoffs of Ozzie Smith's or Cal Ripken's defense. And speaking of Ripken, he raises another issue: the position switch. It's silly, in many ways, to attempt to compare a player's ability with the leather from one position to the next.

Shortstop | Definition of Shortstop by Merriam-Webster

This is the reason why the chart above has a column that points out when the players shifted off of shortstop if they have or ever did. Aside from Rodriguez going from short to third base upon joining the Yankees in to allow Jeter to remain at his position, it's safe to assume that a move from shortstop to another spot namely, third base or outfield in the above cases coincided closely enough with a decreasing ability to handle one of the most demanding defensive positions.

One last point here. Again, Ramirez is an odd bird, as he was moved from short to third by the Marlins as a year-old—only to return to his initial position after being traded to the Dodgers in the middle of Because some of these players were more offensive-minded, while others were more defensive-oriented, it helps to combine both aspects of their skill sets and others, like baserunning by using wins above replacement WAR to uncover when they had their last great season. The average age of this final fantastic year is That's not a guarantee, but c'mon, would anyone really want to bet on it happening? Also, Reyes, Ramirez and Tulowitzki weren't considered, because they're still in the primes of their careers and could easily put together at least one or two more All-Star-caliber years. This isn't to say that many of these players weren't effective after their final 4.