Opening Day Shortstops

Xander Bogaerts made the first of we hope many starts at short yesterday. Here are the home grown shortstops that made at least five consecutive opening day starts for the Red Sox, their age at the time of their first start is in parenthesis:

  • Everett Scott (1914-1921) (21)
  • Rico Petrocelli (1965-1970) (20)
  • Rick Burleson (1975-1980) (24)

20 years total of consecutive starts.

Nomar is not on the list. He made four consecutive and then was injured to start the 2001 season (his age 27 year). He then made two more opening day starts before his tenure with the Sox ended.

That’s it. Despite a long and storied history, the Sox have only had three guys meet the homegrown/opening day starter criteria.  Will Xander be the fourth?  This got me wondering if the Sox were unusual in not having a consistent shortstop over the years because even if you look at non-homegrown talent the Sox would only add Joe Cronin to the five consecutive opening day starts group (the year total would grow to 27 years). So, I took a look at the current AL teams that have been around since 1914. These lists below do not focus on home grown talent – it includes anyone who started five or more consecutive opening days.

Baltimore Orioles

  1. Mike Bordick (1997-2002)
  2. Cal Ripken (1983-1996)
  3. Mark Belanger (1969-1981)
  4. Luis Aparicio (1963-1967)
  5. Wally Gerber (1918-1928)

49 years total

Chicago White Sox

  1. Alexei Ramirez (2009-2014)
  2. Ozzie Guillen (1985-1997)
  3. Ron Hansen (1963-1967)
  4. Luis Aparicio (1956-1962)
  5. Chico Carrasquel (1950-1955)
  6. Luke Appling (1939-1943) (1933-1937)

47 years total

Cleveland Indians

  1. Asdrubal Cabrera (2010-2014)
  2. Jhonny Peralta (2005-2009)
  3. Omar Vizquel (1994-2004)
  4. Julio Franco (1983-1987)
  5. Lou Boudreau (1940-1950)
  6. Joe Sewell (1921-1928)
  7. Ray Chapman (1915-1920)

51 years total

Detroit Tigers

  1. Alan Trammell (1981-1992)
  2. Harvey Kuenn (1953-1957)
  3. Billy Rogell (1932-1938)
  4. Donie Bush (1914-1923)

34 total years

Minnesota Twins (Senators)

  1. Christian Guzman (1999-2004)
  2. Pat Meares (1994-1998)
  3. Greg Gagne (1986-1992)
  4. Roy Smalley (1977-1982)
  5. Zolio Versailles (1961-1967)

31 years total

New York Yankees

  1. Derek Jeter (2002-2012) (1996-2000)
  2. Bucky Dent (1977-1982)
  3. Phil Rizzuto (1947-1955)
  4. Frank Crosetti (1935-1940)
  5. Sam Peckinpaugh (1914-1921)

45 years total

Oakland Athletics

  1. Bobby Crosby (2004-2008)
  2. Miguel Tejada (1999-2003)
  3. Mike Bordick (1992-1996)
  4. Bert Campaneris (1967-1972)
  5. Joe DeMaestri (1954-1959)
  6. Eddie Joost (1947-1953)
  7. Chick Galloway (1920-1926)

37 years total.

This doesn’t tell me a whole lot, but was an interesting exercise . The Sox and Tigers are the teams with the fewest number of shortstops with five consecutive opening day starts. They each have four. The Sox, though, have had the fewest total number of years with the same opening day starting shortstop with at least a five year consecutive streak from 1914 to present.

  • Red Sox – 27 years
  • Twins – 31 years
  • Tigers – 34 years
  • A’s – 37 years
  • Yankees – 45 years
  • Tigers – 47 years
  • White Sox – 47 years
  • Orioles – 49 years
  • Indians – 51 years

Red Sox fans have not enjoyed the same kind of consistency over the years at shortstop as other teams. It would be nice to change that and have Xander penciled in for the next decade.  If he is, then he would join some pretty exclusive company. Derek Jeter, Alan Trammell, Lou Boudreau, Omar Vizquel, Ozzie Guillen, Cal Ripken and Mark Belanger. Since it appears that Bogaerts will not be manning shortstop mainly for his glove (see Belanger and Vizquel), he stands a decent chance, if he can start ten straight opening days, of becoming a hall of famer, joining the shortstop greats of Jeter, Boudreau and Ripken. As a brief aside, I believe Alan Trammell should be on that list and in the HOF. But, that is another blog post.

In the end, this was a long post about nothing much, but still pretty interesting.

Today, John Lackey attempts to continue the resurrection of his career. He made four starts against the O’s last year, going 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA in 29 2/3 IP. He allowed 25 hits, 5 walks and struck out 18. In those nearly 30 innings, he did give up six gopher balls, the most of any team he faced last year. He did, though, pitch the most against the O’s last year so there may be some excuse for the six homers. Adam Jones hit three against him, Manny Machado smacked two, but Chris Davis only took him deep once, so he should feel some sense of accomplishment in that.

Over his career, Lackey is 13-5 against the O’s with a 3.35 ERA. He is 5-4 in Camden Yards with a 3.69 ERA in 75 IP. He’s been pretty solid in Baltimore. I expect a good outing from him today despite his mediocre spring training.

He faces off against one of the newest Orioles this year, Ubaldo Jiminez. Jiminez put his career back on track last year with the Indians. From 2011 to 2013 Jiminez had been a below average pitcher posting an ERA+ in that period of 93, 77 and 72. His career appeared about over. Last year, however, he turned things around, going 13-9 with an ERA+ of 114. Noticably, his second half was very strong. In the second half he more than doubled his strikeout to walk ratio, lowered his home runs allowed from 13 to 3, dropped his ERA from 4.56 to 1.82, and closed out September with a 4-0 record with a 1.09 ERA. He figured something out at the end and it landed him a big contract. He signed a four year deal with the O’s worth $50 million.

He made one appearance against the Sox last year in April and got hammered.  He lasted only an 1 2/3 innings, gave up two hits, walked five and surrendered seven runs.  I don’t expect the Sox will see that version of Jiminez.

My prediction for player of the day? Mike Napoli. He looks locked in already.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s