2012 Rockies Position Preview: Shortstop
There’s really only one name that Rockies fans should think of connected to this position, and we all know what it is. But he’s someone who always seems one misstep away from an achy quad, so who takes his place when that happens?
There are a lot of things you could say about Troy Tulowitzki. He’s the best defensive shortstop in the game, unquestionably. He’s a top-tier offensive player, without a doubt a future MVP and Hall-of-Famer. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, taking responsibility for the team’s performance from game to game (sometimes a little too much). He’s going to hit .300, 30 home runs, drive in 100. He’s the centerpiece of the lineup, hitting clean-up no matter who’s pitching. Tulo does it all, and the team expects him to. He expects himself to, as well, and that’s his biggest weakness. He still tries to come up big every time, which means he misses opportunities to hit a single or, gasp, sacrifice himself in order to score a run. But he seems as though his mental approach is maturing, and he still has nearly a decade left with the club to figure all this stuff out. In any case, I’d take 2012 Tulo over 2012 just about anybody else.
Wood has mostly played third base in camp, but he’s a shortstop. He’s also a guy who we got really excited about for maybe seven seconds, and who has since reverted back to being mediocre. He was being tossed around as a possible regular third baseman. The fact that he still can’t seem to find his stride, though, means he probably doesn’t make the final cut for this season as anything at all. Whether he gets a chance at short or third later on will depend on how healthy everyone is. So basically, Tulo, please be healthy.
Herrera is primarily a second baseman, and that’s where I slotted him as a possible backup for 2012, but he can play short in a pinch, and he’s not terrible.
Basically anybody else on this team who was scouted as a shortstop is in the process of being reformed into something else, because that position will belong to Tulo in perpetuity. However, he does need an occasional day off, and Field is actually a good shortstop in that scenario. Called up last September, he made a good showing in the field and at the plate. He’s back in Triple A now, though, and likely will stay there most of the season. It remains to be seen whether he’ll get another late-season call-up or just what his future is with the team.
Let’s cut to the case on Gomez: he is hurt way too much. He didn’t even make it through a week of spring training before being shelved with a groin injury. It’s not looking good for him long-term because we can’t even keep his body together long enough to see what he can really do. It’s a shame, too, because by all accounts he is speedy and has a good arm. I’m not getting my hopes up that the Rockies will ever really benefit from those.
Let’s not forget that Scutaro played short with Boston. In order for him to spot Tulo, somebody else will have to cover second, so all this will just depend on who’s on the bench on a given day. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Who makes the 40-man: Tulowitzki, Herrera, Field, Scutaro
Who makes the 25-man: Tulowitzki, Herrera, Scutaro
Who starts on opening day: Tulowitzki
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