Shortstops can hit
Back after a day away atoning for my sins. Amazing what a 24-hour fast does for one’s perspective.
But I digress. Good to see our now regular ATM Blog subject B-Wood back on the homer list. He’s now just three off the AFL record. But I wanted to look a little more closely at another shortstop tearing it up in the desert: Stephen Drew. The guy had just 250 professional at-bats under his belt entiring the Fall League season, but he’s hitting like he’s been around for a couple of years (Yes, you can make a very good argument that his lack of experience is his own — or his representation’s — fault, but that’s an issue for another day.).
Drew, whose Phoenix Desert Dogs are now 6-2 just like Wood’s Surprise Scorpions, has been out of his head at the plate. After three doubles on Thursday, he’s got 30 total bases in six games for a 1.154 slugging percentage (second to Wood). His .600 OBP leads the league, which makes sense since he also is atop the leaderboard with a .538 batting average (14-for-26). For those of you not good at math, that gives him a 1.754 OPS, which is illegal in 12 states.
He’s second in runs scored, third in hits and he saved two kittens from a tree in the third inning of Thursday’s game (OK, I made that last part up). But you get the point. It’s beginning to look like the long, painful negotiations to get Drew signed may pay off — and pretty soon — for the Diamondbacks.
Drew and Wood aren’t the only shortstops hitting well in the AFL thus far, though they are clearly head and shoulders above the rest. But here are a few others — more speed and average guys than power — who are showing that short is not just for glove men anymore:
Robert Andino (Marlins), Rafters: .333
Donnie Kelly (Tigers), Solar Sox: .304
Robert Valido (White Sox), Saguaros: .303
OK, onto the update of the league-wide numbers. I’m sure you were going through withrdawl on Thursday.
All-time batting average record: .292 (2004)
2005 average: .316
All-time worst ERA: 5.32 (2004)
2005 ERA: 6.35