Shortstop was a Black Hole for the Houston Astros last season. That won’t be the case this year due to the arrival of 31-year old righty swinging Clint Barmes. Barmes played in 133 games for the Rockies last season and he was 91 of 387 (.235 avg, .656 OPS) with 43 runs scored, 8 homers, 50 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Barmes has a career batting average of .254 with a .704 OPS in his first 8 years in the majors. Look for him to hit better in 2011 now that he’s back to his natural position as he played a lot at 2B in 2010 for the Rockies. Barmes made 5 errors in 47 games at SS last season for the Rockies while showing outstanding range. I look for him to be outstanding defensively for the Astros in 2011.
27-year old righty swinging Angel Sanchez was the Astros’ best shortstop last season and he will be a favorite to win a bench job for them this spring. Sanchez played in 66 games for the Astros & Red Sox last season and he was 70 of 253 (.277 avg, .656 OPS) with 30 runs scored, 0 homers and 25 RBIs. He is a decent contact hitter but he has virtually no power. Sanchez made 5 errors in 57 games at SS for the Astros last season while showing pathetic range. He needs to improve defensively this year.
27-year old righty swinging Tommy Manzella entered last season as the starting shortstop for the Astros but that didn’t last too long. Manzella played in 83 games for the Astros last season and he was 58 of 258 (.225 avg, .531 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 1 homer and 21 RBIs. He also whiffed 71 times which was way too many for a hitter like him. Manzella made 9 errors in 82 games at SS last season while showing above average range. He will have his work cut out for him trying to win a job on the Astros’ bench.
28-year old switch hitting Anderson Hernandez didn’t make any errors in 18 games at SS last season while showing outstanding range. He has good versatility but he’s not much of a hitter. Hernandez will also be a longshot to win a job this spring.
26-year old righty swinging Oswaldo Navarro played in 14 games for the Astros last season in his first taste of the majors and he was 1 for 20 (.050 avg, .290 OPS) with 2 runs scored. Navarro also played in 81 games in AAA-ball last year and he was 78 of 288 (.271 avg, .785 OPS) with 41 runs scored, 6 homers, 37 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. So he can hit a lot better than he showed last year for the Astros. Navarro made 1 error in 10 games for the Astros last season while showing good range.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE SHORTSTOPS IN 2011: B-