How do the A.L. East shortstops fare on balls hit up the middle? You be the judge.
After I posted my article comparing the shortstops of the American League East, I got into a conversation with a friend about the awesomeness that is James Jerry Hardy. How you always want the ball hit to him, how he just makes every play like it's nothing, etc. Not many teams are lucky enough to have a guy like J.J Hardy. He just gets to balls that other guys do not. And in that spirit, I present you with one GIF from each of the 2013 A.L. East shortstops.
I can't say for certain how likely each of these shortstops would be to repeat such plays in similar circumstances, I have neither the time nor the technology to figure that all out. I can say for certain that Hardy made an awesome play to rob Kelly Johnson (you can see the MLB.com clip, complete with Gary Thorne's exclamations, here) and the other 2013 A.L. shortstops also had plays where the ball was hit to the same place on the field. How did they do with them?
Before we go any further, I have to give a big shout out to Camden Chatter J(O's)elskIL for taking the time to create each of these GIFs. Three cheers for Joel! Ok, now on to the film.
First up, the already discussed Hardy play, which took place on August 24th against the Blue Jays. Swoon.
Next up is new Blue Jay Jose Reyes, who saw a similar play on September 27th while playing the Braves. Not bad, Jose!
Former Blue Jay and current Tampa Bay Ray Yunel Escobar didn't have quite so good a time with his chance on May 4th.
And finally, the Captain. It's clear to me that Derek Jeter is saying with his body language, "I'm too old for this S%!@"
This was not a scientific study on my part, and I know there are a lot of variables that go into each play. All I'm saying is that J.J. Hardy is fantastic. I know there has been talk of him being traded in the off season (talk by fans, at the very least) and while I certainly understand the inclination, I certainly won't mind watching him make those plays in 2013.