Chat with Jayson Stark
You have to take one shortstop to start your team. And it has to be a guy who will play this entire season at an age younger than 25. (New Yorkers please take note: That ground rule happens to eliminate Jose Reyes from this argument.) So which phenom would you take, Hanley Ramirez or Troy Tulowitzki?
Ramirez, the 2006 rookie of the year, is as talented as any young player in the whole sport, and had the most top-secret monster season in baseball last year. But his critics -- what few there are -- have every right to bring up his pesky defensive issues. And Tulowitzki lost the 2007 rookie-of-the-year election to Ryan Braun by two stinking points, in a season in which he put up eyeball-shattering defensive stats. But the argument against him is that his terrific offensive numbers were clearly Rocky Mountain-aided.
The case for Ramirez
The case for Tulowitzki
The ChoiceAs I said, this is totally impossible. If you asked me to take one of these players, I'd take Ramirez. But scouts and GMs I talked to question whether he's going to spend all, or even most, of his career at shortstop. So if I have to take one shortstop to build my team around, I'll take Tulowitzki. (How's that for inspired hedging?) This is a position where the No. 1 requirement is defensive dependability. And except for possibly Omar Vizquel, there isn't a more dependable defensive shortstop alive than this kid -- already. So that's my pick. Let the chat debate begin. Vote: Which young shortstop would you rather have?
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