HomeTeamsRaysComparing Rays’ Jose Caballero  to the AL East Shortstops

Comparing Rays’ Jose Caballero  to the AL East Shortstops

It is hard to believe but at one time the shortstop position did not exist. According to John Thorn, MLB historian, the position was invented by Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adam is 1849 or 1850. The original purpose of the position was to get the ball back to the pitcher easier. Baseballs in that era were much lighter and did not travel far when thrown. However, the position was modernized by Dickey Pearce and George Wright.

The American League East teams has had a rich history of remarkable shortstops. But nothing like the talent displayed this season. Shortstops are known to be the anchor to the infield. In today’s game, shortstops are beginning to anchor the lineup too.

The Rays’ shortstop, Jose Caballero is batting .353 this season. Caballero has hit safely in nine of 10 games. This super utility infielder is providing unexpected offense as a temporary substitute for the injured Tyler Walls. In the most recent series, versus the Angels, Caballero was clutch by pounding the game-tying and go-ahead hits. He is following Wee Willie Keeler’s advice of “hit them were they ain’t” and Manager Kevin Cash is taking notice. Cash commented on Caballero’s play with, “he’s coming up with big hits,” and “he’s moving the ball with runners on base.” The Panama native is also third on the team with an .819 OPS. He has a bright future ahead.

In Baltimore, the Orioles have called up the highly anticipated number one overall prospect Jackson Holliday. The O’s have had their share of dynamic shortstops with Iron Man Cal Ripken and more recently Manny Machado. The youthful Jackson began the 2023 season at single-A ball and ended the season at AAA-ball. In 10 games at the AAA level this season, Jackson is batting .333 with 14 hits, five doubles, and two homers. The untested rookie will face off against Red Sox pitching in his debut.

In the Bronx, Anthony Volpe is destroying pitching with his .375 batting average. This is Volpe’s second season in the big leagues. Last season, Volpe ranked eighth in Rookie of the Year voting but won a Gold Glove award. Volpe adjusted his swing during the offseason and positive results have been seen. Manager Aaron Boone said, “he’s starting to look like that complete, well-rounded really good player.” The shadows of Phil Rizzuto and Derek Jeter are heavy.

Blue Jay’s Bo Bichette is looking like the most senior of the shortstops in the division. In his sixth season, Bichette is already a two-time all-star and led the league in hits twice. This season, Bichette is off to a slow start which is surprising because he hit so well in spring training. But it looks like his bat is heating up. Bo blasted his first homer of the season in a win over the Mariners at the Rogers Centre. In the last four games, Bichette went 5 for 12. He has a long way to go to reach Tony Fernandez-like numbers. Fernandez has the highest fWAR, as a shortstop, in franchise history.

The shortstop situation in Boston is unresolved. Time is being split between Pablo Reyes and David Hamilton. The well-traveled Reyes is 3 for 16 in the six games this season. That is bad enough to see what others may offer. The inexperienced Hamilton has played two games and is 2 for 6 (.333). This may be luck. In spring training, Hamilton was 5 for 39 (.128). Xander Bogaerts was the last reliable shortstop for the Red Sox. Bogaerts was a three-time all-star in his 10 years playing for the Red Sox. That Nomar Garciaparra guy was not so bad either.

Shortstop is the most prominent position on the diamond. Numerous Hall of Famers began their career on the path of dirt between second and third base. DiMaggio, Ripken, Mays, Yount, and Aaron all began as shortstops and found success in other positions but still found their plaque in Cooperstown.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here