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Don't Sell Yourself Short, Jhonny

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Most people know what this is:

DH | 1B | LF | RF | 3B | CF | 2B | SS | CA

Bill James defensive spectrum, to which he offered the observation that moves to the left are generally successful while moves to the right almost never work. With shortstop being one of the more difficult positions, it's no mystery why so many players struggle at the position. Sometimes these players simply don't possess the bat to play third and move to second (or the bench) while others are able to shift from shortstop to third and be better for it.

In 2008 Jhonny Peralta cost his team a win thanks to his defensive inabilities in the six hole. Chone Smith projects him to be -8 in 2009. Luckily for the Indians, Peralta is a very good hitter, driven largely by steady line drive rates and average on balls in play. Peralta decreased his walk and strikeout ratios last season, becoming far more aggressive outside of the strike zone. With Peralta's offensive production, the case can be made that he needs to shift to third.

When the Indians made the decision to replace Omar Vizquel with Jhonny Peralta, they were not simply replacing old with youth, but instead changing the positional asset entirely. Not that many could have matched Vizquel’s defense, but at the same time, not too many shortstops can match Peralta’s offensive output, in fact only a handful.

Take a piece of paper and write down the number of shortstops you think topped Peralta’s .356 wOBA. I’ll wait…okay, by now you should have your number, if you wrote down seven, you probably cheated. Those seven are, Hanley Ramirez, J.J. Hardy, Mike Aviles, Stephen Drew, Derek Jeter, Jose Reyes, and Cristian Guzman. The Indians are rumored to have some interest in adding a second baseman, effectively shifting incumbent Asdrubal Cabrera to shortstop and Peralta to third base, that or perhaps adding a shortstop and leaving Cabrera to be.

Peralta to third should be an upgrade over the Andy Marte/Casey Blake/Jamey Carroll ragtag band that graced the Indians hot corner in 2008. Combined the group had a run value per 600 plate appearances of -13.07, compare that to Peralta’s 12.20 RV600 and that’s a difference of 25.27 runs, or 2.5 wins. Even if you think Peralta will be worth negative five runs defensively, that is still a 2 win upgrade.