2010 In Review: Shortstop

Cesar Izturis – .230/.277/.268, 42 R, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 11 SB, 513 PA

Izturis continued to live up to his billing as a all field, no hit shortstop this year. His defense was great, one of the best in the league, but his hitting was atrocious. He had the worst OPS in the major leagues for players that got enough at bats to qualify for the batting title – by far. His was .545, the second worst was .609. Its the lowest OPS in the major leagues since 1994. Thats historically bad and isn’t going to cut it unless you are one of the best fielding shortstops of all time, like a Mark Belanger type. To be fair it was easily the worst year offensively in his career and while his career OPS (.619) is very low, its still .074 points above 2010. Izturis’ bat was a black hole in the Orioles lineup all year. With that terrible production he had the 5th most plate appearances on the team. Thats unacceptable if you want to be a competitive team in this league.

2011 Prognosis: If it were up to me, Izturis would be the absolute last resort to man shortstop next season. I would exhaust every opportunity to find an upgrade with the bat. There are some good options out there in free agency and on the trade market. Unfortunately there are reports that Buck Showalter likes Izturis alot and they’re going to try and re-sign him. I would sign him to be the backup shortstop/infielder since he would be great as a defensive replacement/pinch runner but theres no excuse for him to be the starting shortstop of the Baltimore Orioles in 2011. His defense will keep him in the game for a long time but I’d prefer it to be with someone else unless hes a bench player for us.

Julio Lugo – .249/.298/.282, 26 R, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 20 RBI, 5 SB, 264 PA

Lugo was acquired from St.Louis in a trade during spring training that sent cash to the Cardinals. The thought was he could provide a spark for the bench as an infielder with some pop. Unfortunately for the Orioles that pop was nowhere to be found and he looked old and pretty much finished as a player. He was another reason that shortstop was a blight on the Orioles in 2010. And while Lugo hit like Cesar Izturis, his glove was nowhere near as good. His range was terrible and his arm wasn’t much better. On top of that hes a hot head. I honestly can’t believe he made through the whole season on the Orioles roster.

2011 Prognosis: Lugo is a free agent and theres no way he re-signs with the O’s. I’m not sure he’ll sign with anyone but theres always a team thats willing to give a veteran like him a shot on a minor league deal. Maybe a trip back to the national league will help.

Robert Andino – .295/.333/.459, 6 R, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 66 PA

Andino started the year off on a bad note when he angered Orioles coaches with his attitude in spring training. He was cut from the roster after being expected to be the backup shortstop and utility infielder coming into the season. He wound up at AAA Norfolk where he put up some respectable numbers with the bat, .268/.302/.405 with 30 doubles, 4 triples, 13 homeruns, and 76 RBI. Hes got good power for a middle infielder but no patience at the plate and his defense isn’t up to par either. He got called up in September when the rosters expanded and gave Buck Showalter a good initial reaction, at least with the bat. His defense was pretty poor but he showed off more of that power.

2011 Prognosis: At this point Andino has to be the favorite to be the backup infielder going into spring training. He won’t be the starting shortstop because of his defense but he wouldn’t be a bad option to pinch hit and play once or twice a week. If he can duplicate his AAA numbers from last year to the majors that would make him a valuable member of the team. He started off the season on a low but worked his way up all season and ended on a high note.

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