SB Nation's Rob Neyer continued his position-by-position look at who the top players at each position for the next decade with his examination of shortstops on Friday. To get a sense of where Neyer is going with this series, he has already covered three players/positions:
- Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins
- Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
- Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees
Mauer and Cano are in their late 20s while Pujols is already 31. But given his unworldly ability to play baseball, Pujols could well be the best first baseman for the next decade.
Neyer narrows the field down to four players: Elvis Andrus (Rangers), Starlin Castro (Cubs), Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) and Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies). Neyer eliminates Andrus quite easily, but believes Castro has a chance given his age (21 in 2011).
So with those two out of the way, who wins out: Ramirez or Tulowitzki? Neyer ultimately comes down on the side of Tulowitzki because of his ability to stay at shortstop. Ramirez could be moved to the third base or the outfield soon. However, given the time frame for the debate on the future (2010-2019), a move to third base for Tulowitzki is not out of the question, just as Cal Ripken Jr. did at the tail end of his career.
As Neyer cautions at the end:
Tulowitzki’s combination of hitting and fielding is unbeatable. He’s the best shortstop in the majors right now, and should retain that title over the next five or six seasons, at least.
Beyond that, no man can know.
As Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. one remarked: "The future outwits all our certitudes."
Head on over to Neyer's article and vote for Tulo!