Sometimes the web leads me in interesting circles. I looked up Keith Ginter on BR after mentioning him in a comment, and noticed his 10th most similar player was J.J. Hardy. There's nothing all that similar about them, really, but it led me to click on J.J. Hardy, and catch this list of his 10 top comps through age 24. I've added the comments:
1. Jim Lefebvre: Second baseman, done as an everyday player at 25, out of the league at 30.
2. Rich Gedman: A catcher, spent three years as a regular, made the all star team in two of them. Career as a regular ended at age 26.
3. Jhonny Peralta: A shortstop. Jury is still out.
4. Jeff Blauser: A reliable if unspectacular shortstop who started in the big leagues for 9 seasons.
5. Ray Fosse: A catcher and a strange case. Hardy will most likely never collide with Pete Rose.
6. Dave Nilsson: Another catcher and a strange case. Hardy will probably never leave the team to go play for Team Australia, and he'll probably never report to camp at 300 lbs.
7. Sammy White: Yet another catcher. An All-Star at 24, gradually decomposed behind the plate and played regularly for 8 seasons despite posting OBP's below .310 in 5 of them.
8. Ray Durham: Probably the best-case scenario: Durham posted an OPS+ of 100 or more for 9 straight seasons from 26 to 34 and is still in the big leagues at 36.
9. Tony Batista: Consistently productive big league hitter who couldn't have been shoved out of clubhouses any faster if he had the plague. A two-time All Star, played for seven teams and hit 221 HR with an OBP under .300.
10. Rickie Weeks: Jury is also still out. He's a conversation for another time.
So here's what I want to know: What are your expectations for the career of J.J. Hardy? Is he a long-term productive big leaguer? Is he going to be done at 27? What do you think? And how did so many catchers end up on this list?