What To Watch For In Clearwater- Shortstop and Third Base

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It's time to take a look at short and third base for the spring. We already looked at first and second. Now we'll look at the other side of the infield.

 

MAJOR LEAGUES

Shortstop-

Jimmy Rollins

 

  • 33 years old. Over 11 years service time. Debuted in September of 2000.
  • Signed a three year deal this off-season, with a fourth year option. He will be a free agent most likely after 2015.
  • 2011 Stats- .268/.338/.399, .736 OPS, 16 HR, 63 RBI's; 2010 Stats- .243/.320/.374, .694 OPS, 8 HR, 41 RBI's.
  • Career Stats- .272/.329/.432, .761 OPS, 170 HR, 725 RBI's.
  • 373 career stolen bases. Former 30/30 player.
  • 2007 NL MVP. 

Third Base-

Placido Polanco

  • 36 years old. Over 13 years service time. Debuted in 1998.
  • Entering the final year of this contract, with an option next year. He will be a free agent after 2012 or 2013.
  • 2011 Stats- .277/.335/.339, .674 OPS, 5 HR, 50 RBI's; 2010 Stats- .298/.339/.386, .726 OPS, 6 HR, 52 RBI's.
  • Career Stats- .301/.346/.406, .752 OPS, 101 HR, 681 RBI's.
  • Was voted the 2011 NL All-Star starter at third base.

Bench-

Wigginton and Martinez  (see first base and second base)

 

At the big league level, the Phillies have two incumbents with a lot of service time, and some questions. Jimmy had a primarily healthy, overall solid 2011, and got a multi-year deal in return. As long as he's healthy, he's solid there. Polanco's season went from good to bad in the course of an injury, and he had off-season surgery to correct the hernia. Even so, he managed to get elected to the All-Star game, and win the NL Gold Glove at third. Polanco begins the season as a question mark, and needs to stay healthy. Wigginton was a big pick up though, as he can fill in at third once he's done filling in at first. While Martinez may be the utility man, Galvis would most likely fill in on a long-term injury for Rollins.

 

So, let's take a look at what's in the pipeline on the left side of the infield.

 

UPPER LEVELS (AA and AAA)

 

Freddy Galvis

Shortstop- Lehigh Valley and Reading

  • Galvis had his best offensive season in 2011. He hit a combined .278, including .289 for Lehigh Valley. He also hit 8 homers.
  • He is considered a very solid defensive shortstop.
  • He never hit above .240 before 2011, and hit .249 for his winter league team.
  • He is 22 years old now.

LOWER LEVELS 

 

Travis Mattair
Update: Currently in the Cincinnati Reds organization as a rule 5 pick; could return

Third Base- Clearwater and Lakewood

  • Mattair had a nice season going, hitting .266 in Lakewood, and then fell off at Clearwater, where he hit .207. 
  • He is 23 years of age.
  • He skipped 2010 to play college basketball.

Carlos Alonso

Third Base- Lakewood and Williamsport

  • He hit a combined .322 between the low and mid-A ball levels. 
  • He turned 24 years old. 
  • He has posted a .762 and .861 OPS in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Edgar Duran

Shortstop- Lakewood

  • Duran hit .234 in 2011.
  • Duran did hit 4 homers, a little more than one might expect.
  • Duran is now 21 years old.

Maikel Franco

Third Base- Lakewood and Williamsport

  • Franco hit a solid .287 in 54 games for Williamsport. 
  • He is just 19 right now.
  • He hit 3 homers and 44 RBI's combined.

Harold Martinez

Third Base- Williamsport

  • 2011 Third Round pick.
  • He hit .256 in his first season, with 2 homers and 31 RBI's.
  • He is 21 and went to Miami.

Roman Quinn

Shortstop- First Camp

  • The Phillies 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft, out of high school. 
  • Already ranked as high as 11th in the Phillies system at 18 years old.
  • Plays more positions than short, and possesses plus-plus speed.

Clearly, the Phillies lack upper level depth on the left side of the infield. Galvis is the only prospect very close to the big leagues, and he probably needs a full season of time here. In the lower levels, there are a lot of third basemen with talents, but none that have stood out yet as "the guy." Alonso, Franco, or Martinez may catch Mattair this year if he doesn't show progress. At short, Duran needs to show some offensive improvement. Quinn should be really fun to watch.

 

Looking forward, at third, it's likely that Polanco sticks around for 2013. One has to hope someone will emerge as his replacement during this season. At shortstop the situation is interesting. I suspect the Phillies would like to see Galvis play in Allentown all year this season. After that, he may become a utility man, or even make a move to second or third. He projects as an outstanding shortstop defensively though as well. He could be traded too, since he'll be ready before Jimmy leaves. Duran is next in line, but isn't offensively up to the spot. Could Quinn be in the perfect spot, for four years from now? It sure looks it.