Pre-Season Sox Stock: Shortstops

Alexei Ramirez Alexei Ramirez has been the face of the White Sox infield for the past seven seasons. He has been brilliant at times and frustrating at others. For the most part, however, he has been a productive ball player since he first put on a White Sox uniform in 2008. As Ramirez enters his age 33 season, is time for the Sox to start thinking about the next chapter at the shortstop position?

Major League Stock: Up and Constant

As noted above, Ramirez’s youth is becoming more and more distant. However, his energy and competitiveness are not. In fact, he is coming off arguably the best season of his career in 2014.  He was in the top 5 in just about every offensive category for American League shortstops. On the year, he hit .273 with 15 HR and 74 RBI. He also notched 35 doubles and swiped 21 bases in 25 attempts.

Still, one can’t help wonder when Father Time will begin to take its toll on The Cuban Missle. Last year was the fourth year in a row that Ramirez appeared in 158 games. In the other three years of his career, he averaged 148 games per season. He will be 34 years old by the end of the season. Considering his success relies tremendously on his athleticism, the Sox need to have a replacement ready sometime soon.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Ramirez is yet to show any signs of slowing down due to his age. But that “33” number is still sitting in the shadows. Hopefully it stays in the dark for a couple more years.

Minor League Stock: Up and Rising

Tim Anderson is the favorite to succeed Ramirez at shortstop when the day arrives. Anderson was seleted in the first round (#17 overall) by the Sox in the 2013 draft. With a season and a half of minor league ball under his belt, his name emerged this past off-season when there were talks that the Sox might look to trade Ramirez. The Sox chose to keep Ramirez, and ultimately decided that Anderson needs more grooming in the minors before putting on a big league uniform. Smart decision? Definitely. Ramirez is playing the best baseball of his career, and 142 of Anderson’s 152 career games in the Sox farm system took place below the Double-A level.

Nevertheless, there is plenty of reason to be excited about Anderson. His professional career is off to a promising start. You can check out his progress here.

At just 21 years old, he still has plenty of time to develop his game. Maybe we will have to wait another year or two to see him on the big league roster considering the Sox infield is filled with veterans who have a considerable amount of money coming their way. With the Sox in “win now” mode, Anderson appears to be more suited for the next chapter of the franchise.