Over the past three seasons, no shortstop has hit more home runs than J.J. Hardy. In fact, The Baltimore Orioles’ star has even slugged more dingers than Troy Tulowitzki, Asdrubal Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez.
But the very shortstop with a penchant for hitting home runs has yet to connect for one in 2014. Over his first 178 plate appearances, Hardy has posted a stellar .303 batting average, park-adjusted 94 OPS+ and 11 doubles—but zero home runs.
So how is it that despite sporting a high batting average (it’s 43 points above his career rate) and reasonable OBP+ (it’s only two points below his career rate), that Hardy is sitting at zero home runs? Continue reading
Posted in Closer Looks
Tagged Baltimore Orioles, Ben Berkon, Hardy, Hardy Home Runs, J.J. Hardy, J.J. Hardy Home Runs, J.J. Hardy: Where Did All His Home Run Power Go?, Orioles, Orioles Hardy, Orioles J.J. Hardy, The Beanball
Courtesy of Zimbio.com
It wasn’t too long ago that being a top American League shortstop meant you were probably named Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, or Nomar Garciaparra. But now that Jeter is in a steep decline, Rodriguez is playing third base, and Garciaparra is retired, being an elite AL shortstop has more or less lost its zeal. That said, 28 year-old Yunel Escobar of the Toronto Blue Jays has quietly emerged as the preeminent shortstop the AL has to offer.
Yunel Escobar didn’t exactly appear out of thin air, as he was formerly a top prospect in the Atlanta Braves system. The shortstop showcased his diverse abilities in 2009, by posting a .299/.377/.436 line with 14 homeruns, 76 RBI, 89 runs, 5 stolen bases and a 1.7 UZR/150. Despite improving both offensively and defensively from 2007 to 2009, he still always found himself in Braves manager Bobby Cox’s doghouse. Given his rocky standing with the Braves, Escobar was unsurprisingly dealt in 2010 with Jo-Jo Reyes to the Blue Jays for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins, and Tyler Pastornicky. Continue reading
Posted in Profiles
Tagged AL Shortstops, Alex Rodriguez, Alexei Ramirez, American League Shortstops, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ben Berkon, Blue Jays, Blue Jays Yunel Escobar, Bobby Cox, Derek Jeter, Elvis Andrus, Escobar, J.J. Hardy, The Beanball, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Blue Jays Yunel Escobar, Yunel, Yunel Escobar