Catch the wave of "new" shortstops

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MLB.com has a story up today about the “next wave” of shortstops. The “new guard”  of “younger stars rising to the top at their position.”  Bet you can’t wait to click through and find out who all these hot young talents are! Maybe you’ll find out about them before your fantasy draft and scoop them up before your opponents even know their names!  OK, here goes!

Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Yunel Escobar, Jose Reyes and Erick Aybar.

Er, yeah.  Ramirez and Tulowitzki are entering their fifth full seasons.  Escobar his fourth. Aybar his fourth or fifth depending on how you count 2006.  Reyes is entering his eighth. Sure, these guys still have a lot of baseball in them, but you’re not even a “rising star” at a bank or a law firm if you’ve been around eight years. You’re just a guy.

I suppose guys like Alcides Escobar and Starlin Castro aren’t ready to be called “the new guard” yet, but they’re closer to that than Jose Reyes is to being a “rising star.”

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.