The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

July 6, 2014

Thoma column: Jeter's leaving, but another wave of shortstops is arriving

Athletic careers are measured in dog years. They come and go so quickly.

It doesn’t seem that long ago (15 years or so) that the American League was blessed with “the Trinity” — three young shortstops of superstar stature. As it turned out, there were actually four of them, with Miguel Tejada emerging a true peer to Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Almost 10,500 hits, 38 All-Star Games, three batting titles and four MVP awards later, Jeter is the only one standing, and that just barely. Injuries blunted Garciaparra early (he hung ‘em up after the 2009 season), and both Rodriguez and Tejada, shortstops no longer, hope to continue their career after drug suspensions but haven’t played, majors or minors, this year.

Jeter is on his “farewell tour,” collecting parting gifts from rival organizations on his final visits to AL parks (the Twins on Saturday gave him the last second base from their Metrodome days) and one more All-Star start from the fans.

As one wave of talent recedes from the playing fields and into our collective memories, know this: There is another wave of shortstop greatness arriving.

Depending on whose list of prospects you looked at this spring, as much as half the top minor-leaguers were shortstops.

Xander Boegarts of the Boston Red Sox, his recent struggles not withstanding, is just the first of this group to make an impact.

The Chicago Cubs have two of those prospects: Javier Baez and Addison Russell, the latter of whom they got in a weekend blockbuster trade with Oakland — plus they have an incumbent, Starlin Castro, who just turned 24 and already has a pair of All-Star games on his resume.

Francisco Lindor of Cleveland might be the best defensively of the bunch, and then there’s Houston’s Carlos Correa, who may be the best overall player of the lot.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Oakland Raiders To Become San Antonio Raiders? - @TheBuzzeronFox 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Byron Scott Reportedly New Head Coach Of Los Angeles Lakers - @TheBuzzeronFox SportsNite: Botched play Gruden: Full-speed practices key for fundamentals Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France College Football Playoff Prognosis: Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Playoff Prognosis: Nebraska Cornhuskers Jake Peavy traded from Red Sox to Giants Browns wants Johnny Football to buckle down How Losing Joe Bergeron Affects Texas What will Pierzynski bring to St. Louis?