We kind of a need shortstop. With Cal Ripken and Miguel Tejada at shortstop for most of what I can remember, shortstop has been one of the rare positions that hasn’t been a glaring hole for the Orioles. With Tejada in Houston and Cal in Cooperstown, the O’s need a shortstop. Thus far, we’ve had the the honor of viewing what’s the equal of American Idol audition for shortstops. My idea is out of the four that we’ve had to see so far, couldn’t we do like they do at the Build a Bear workshop in the mall? The store were you spend a bunch of money to make a teddy bear with sunglasses, hiking boots, and a plastic shotgun. With the spare parts of Luis Hernandez, Brandon Fahey, Freddie Bynum, and Alex Cintron could a quality shortstop be constructed?
Luis was given the job in hopes that he could basically be an Adam Everett, a shortstop that’s almost always a guaranteed out at the plate, but one that wins games with his glove. While Luis Mendoza (yes, that’s his middle name) Hernandez wasn’t as horrible at the plate as we feared, he still wasn’t good. Before going to Norfolk, Luis Mendoza hit .246 with 3 RBI, a pawltry .295 OBP, but he did win that one game for us in the bottom of the ninth. As for fielding, he had 3 errors with Dave Trembley referring to him as “being in a fielding slump.” Shortly after he was gone.
With Luis, his defense was supposed to be his saving asset. It was average at best. His bat was blah. He’s young at 24, so that’s something I can use to build a shortstop. His fielding percentage is .977. I’ll have to see what the other 3 have before I think of using that.
I admit it, I’m a Fahey hater. I didn’t believe he should start the season with the team. Oh but he’s a gamer. He’ll go out there at whatever position the manager tells him to and he’ll try his hardest to use his medicore skills to win a ballgame. He’s played LF, RF,SS, 3rd, 2nd, and evened DHed for the O’s. He wants to play and that’s going to be pretty much what we’re going to take out of this one. A career BA of .221 and OBP of .284 ain’t going to cut it. Fielding wise, his Fielding Percentage for SS in 3 seasons is 964. I guess I can take the spunky can do attitude because that’s all I want to take.
I wish Freddie Bynum was a little better. I like Freddie Bynum. He’s batting .207 which is down from his career mark of .245. Freddie’s got 4 RBI this season, which bumps up his career total to a robust 28. I knew Freddie didn’t carry much of a bat, but I didn’t realize he was this weak. Maybe if Freddie was a slick defender all this no offense could be overlooked. This season, he’s got a fielding percentage of .973, which is up from his career number of .963.
What Freddie lacks in polished skill he makes up for with spunk.
“If you want me to run the catcher over, I could run him over,” Bynum said. “If you want me to drop-kick somebody, I could drop-kick him. I’m ready to play ball.”
So far that’s a young player with a double helping of gritty gamesmanship but no outstanding skills at defense or offense. Let’s move on.
Alex Cintron has a career batting average of .277 which dwarfs the other three. He’s not an offense beast by any means, but between 2003 to 2006, the fewest RBI he had was 41 and the high mark was 51. His career OBP is .315. That’s not great, but its better than the other three. His career fielding percentage is .971. So he’s not a perfect defender.
So between these four, Hernandez has the best fielding percentage and he’s the youngest. Fahey doesn’t stand out in anyway whatsover except that he’s a gamer. Ditto for Freddie Bynum. Cintron has the best offensive numbers. So the best these four can make is a 24 year old shortstop with a .277 batting average, a .315 OBP, a .977 Fielding percentage, and has a double helping of grit. That’s still not a great a great player, but it’s better than starting Boom Boom Bynum everyday. Which begs the question why can’t Cintron play some?
Let’s hope MacPhail finds a shortstop somewhere.