Cards will be fine with Kozma as the shortstop: WS winning shortstops since 2001

Pete Kozma played above and beyond at the end of 2012 compared to what he did in the minors.  Although he was a 1st round draft pick in 2007, he hasn’t ever really put it together over a long period.  Cards fans seem to be overreacting, and not just a little, about Kozma opening the season as the everyday shortstop.  One thought that many of the fans never seem to have is that Kozma is quite possibly a late bloomer.  Even if he’s not, I’m not sure I understand the overreaction to everyone from Bernie Miklasz to your average fan.

Kozma is going to hit 8th in one of the best lineups in all of MLB.  That lineup will be even more potent if Matt Carpenter makes the transition to 2B, and according to Jose Oquendo and Mike Matheny, it looks like he will.  Over the last few months, rumors have surfaced about the Cards possibly trading away pitching prospects for Asdrubal Cabrera and Troy TulowitzkiJohn Mozeliak has done the right thing in saying no thanks, but many Cards fans don’t want to hear this.

So, going back to 2001, let’s take a look at the stats of shortstops (AVG, OBP, SLG) on teams that won the World Series, as well as the key SP’s from those teams.

2001—Arizona Diamondbacks—Tony Womack .266/.307/.345

Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling

2002—Anaheim Angels—David Eckstein .293/.363/.388

John Lackey, Ramon Ortiz, Jarrod Washburn

2003—Florida Marlins—Alex Gonzalez .256/.313/.443

Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, Carl Pavano, Dontrelle Willis

2004—Boston Red Sox—Orlando Cabrera .294/.320/.465

Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez

2005—Chicago White Sox—Juan Uribe .252/.301/.412

Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland

2006—St. Louis Cardinals—David Eckstein .292/.350/.344

Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver

2007—Boston Red Sox—Julio Lugo .237/.294/.349

Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Jon Lester

2008—Philadelphia Phillies—Jimmy Rollins .277/.349/.437

Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Brett Myers

2009—New York Yankees—Derek Jeter .334/.406/.465

CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett

2010—San Francisco Giants—Juan Uribe .248/.310/.440 (Edgar Renteria .276/.332/.374)

Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner

2011—St. Louis Cardinals—Ryan Theriot .271/.321/.342 (Rafael Furcal  .255/.316/.418)

Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia, Edwin Jackson

2012—San Francisco Giants—Brandon Crawford .248/.304/.349

Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong

So, since 2001, most teams have had less than stellar play for the SS position, but managed to win it all with this formula in every year except 2008 and 2009 (Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins).  Still, it was the pitching that got them there and put them over the top.  There’s only one guaranteed HOF’er in that group in Jeter, and another one possibly in Rollins.  On the other hand, the number of SP’s headed to the HOF from that group are Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte.  You can also put Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Cole Hamels in the possibility of reaching that status someday with it still being too early to say for certain.  In the Hall of Very Good from these WS winners you have Chris Carpenter, Mark Buehrle, Josh Beckett and Jamie Moyer.  All the other pitchers on the list were dominant or close to it at one point, even if just for a few years, or just during their time in the playoffs like Jeff Suppan and Brad Penny.  The only team that didn’t have a true ace was the 2002 Angels.

The point here, like always, is that pitching is going to be the determining factor in how far the Cards advance every year, just like every other team.  Trading key pieces of the future like Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez isn’t something I think Mo will be doing any time in the near future.  Like it or not, the Cardinals have a team built around heavy hitters at the corner spots and the best catcher in the game.  As long as Kozma is good with the glove, the Cards can live with his offense.

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4 Responses to Cards will be fine with Kozma as the shortstop: WS winning shortstops since 2001

  1. HOUCARD says:

    JD, I was waiting you to write something like this considering the battle weve had back and forth on the subject. I just don’t think you pass up the opportunity for a Tulo if it presents itself. The Birds can take on his salary with no problem. I wish the front office would quit treating the most important position on the field as if it isn’t so. Your stats you put up support your argument, but I will continue to disagree. Those prospects aren’t all going to work out. Mo-tionless needs to get something done.

    • WainwrightandMiller says:

      Why do so many of you make jokes with Mozeliak’s and LaRussa’s name. If you ever want to be taken seriously, please stop it. J.D. is just pointing out, as usual, that pitching trumps all.

      What was Mo supposed to do this winter? Every team contacted demanded at least one of Rosenthal, Miller or Martinez. Enough already, they’re our future, deal with it.

  2. cranny says:

    Actually J.D. is spot on. I’m close to calling in on some of these radio shows and asking them to stop beating the dead horse. If anyone didn’t hear our GM on the radio the other day about Kozma, Jackson and Greg Garcia, find it and listen to it. Garcia has passed Jackson, and will be given a chance if Kozma fails. The failure would have to be substantial, as MO feels he is more than adequate. Look at the Giants, that’s the model to follow, and the Cards are doing just that.

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