No. 1: Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox
Sep 23, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstopAlexei Ramirez
(10) hits a double in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Atop the youthful list of shortstops is AL Central staple Alexei Ramirez.
Now 33 years old, Ramirez earned his first All Star Game appearance in 2014 and won his second Silver Slugger Award. He is the one player on this list with more than 1,000 big league games to his name, and he has posted a career slash line of .276/.314/.404.
Ramirez his .273 on an average White Sox team a year ago, clubbing 15 home runs and driving in 74 RBIs. His production fell of significantly as the season progressed, however, and was punctuated by an atrocious .209/.240/.330 showing in September. His .282 average before the All Star break fell because of a .262 post-break showing, as he was bounced around the lineup, hitting in seven different spots throughout the season.
He was an absolute force against the Tribe last season, hitting .299 to go along with four home runs in 67 at-bats, including a walk-off blast against John Axford last April.
Defensively, Ramirez continues to show off a fairly consistent glove. He owned a 4.31 range factor last season while committing 15 errors (.976 FPCT) in 158 games.
While Ramirez may not be the most talented shortstop in the division, he has put together a rather consistent career. Now, Ramirez has the luxury of hitting in a lineup stuffed with the likes of Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. With those names in the middle of the order, Ramirez will have a greater chance to produce than he has over the last several season.
The White Sox know what to expect from their 33-year-old Cuban middle infielder and, for now, that’s good enough to make him the best option in the AL Central.