The American League Central Division's starting shortstops are polar opposites. They are either strong offensive players with little defensive struggles or outstanding defenders with little offensive upside.
No. 1 - Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians
The Indians is one of the best run producing shortstops in baseball. He can hit for both power and average. The Indians have built their lineup around Cabrera. He has decent speed, but doesn't make enough consistent contact and strikes out too much. On defense, he has range, but will make more than his fair share of errors. After suffering catastrophic injuries early in big league career, he has been able to stay healthy over the last few years.
No. 2 - Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox
Ramirez provides the White Sox with a power bat from a generally otherwise position. Ramirez is a tall, lanky, athletic Cuban that has a live bat. However, he is prone to slumps because he lacks patience at the plate and will get himself out. Defensively, he is above average, but is not an automatic out.
No. 3 - Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals
The Royals acquired Escobar in a trade a few seasons ago with the expectation he could be a defensive star that will provide a little offense. Last season, he finally showed that ability. He already had the glove, but hit just below .300 and scored 68 runs from the bottom of the lineup. He has the speed and quickness to excel in the field and on the bases. He has some power potential, but will never reach the level of Cabrera, Ramirez or Jhonny Peralta.
No. 4 - Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have built their team with an offense-first mentality when it comes to its position players. Nowhere is that more perfectly proven than with Peralta at shortstop. He can hit. The average isn't always great, but he can be one of baseball's best run producing shortstops. Last season was a down year for him with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs. He already is a liability on defense. There is not a worse defensive shortstop in baseball. He could quickly play himself out of a job if the offense doesn't pick back up in 2013.
No. 5 - Pedro Florimon, Minnesota Twins
The Twins will worry more about defense than offense this season from its shortstops. Florimon is a perfect fit for that mentality. He is as a smooth and good with his glove as any shortstop in baseball. He is athletic and fast, but lacks the offensive skills most teams look for from its hitters. Any offense he provides is a bonus.