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Brewer WAR Lords: Shortstop

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Today, we finish off the infield with shortstop.

Earlier in the series:

Catcher
First Base/DH
Second Base
Third Base

1. Robin Yount

Career WAR: 47.9 (1st)
Top three seasons: 25.5 (1st)
Top five seasons: 37 (1st)

If you didn't see this one coming, I'm going to go ahead and question your Brewer fanhood. Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper are the only Brewers ever to exceed 30 WAR at one position: Cooper had 31.2 at first base, and Yount had over sixteen more in eleven seasons at shortstop. Yount's 1982 MVP season was easily the greatest by a position player in Brewer history: Not only was he the AL MVP, he started the All Star game at shortstop, won a Gold Glove and a Sliver Slugger, led the AL in hits, doubles, slugging and OPS, finished second in batting average and runs scored, hit .331/.379/.578 and was worth 11.4 wins above replacement. That season was the centerpiece of a five year stretch from 1980-1984 where Yount was worth 37 wins above replacement, more than any other Brewer has ever posted at one position in their entire career.

2. Jose Valentin

Career WAR: 12.1 (2nd)
Top three seasons: 8.7 (2nd)
Top five seasons: 11.5 (2nd)

Before we start talking about Valentin, take another moment to consider how incredible Robin Yount was: The second best shortstop in Brewer history posted slightly more than 25% of Yount's career WAR.

Valentin was the Brewer shortstop of the 90's, making his Brewer debut in 1992 and departing following the 1999 season. During that stretch, Valentin posted an OPS+ below 100 in every season. WAR has 1996 as Valentin's best season: he hit .259/.336/.475 in 618 plate appearances and was worth 4.2 wins above replacement.

3. J.J. Hardy

Career WAR: 8 (3rd)
Top three seasons: 7.8 (3rd)
Top five seasons: 8 (3rd)

With a solid 2008 season, Hardy passed four players on the Brewer all-time list at shortstop. Total Zone rankings estimated Hardy's value at 19 runs defensively in 2008, which combined with a .283/.343/.478 line offensively and a premium defensive position made Hardy worth 4.6 wins above replacement. Again, though, a note on Yount's greatness: Hardy's career is off to a promising start, but he'd have to average 3.4 WAR for each of the next nine seasons to match what Robin Yount did in his eleven seasons at the position.

4. Bill Hall

Career WAR: 6.6 (4th)
Top three seasons: 6.6 (4th)
Top five seasons: 6.6 (4th)

Hall has played one season at third base, one in center field, two at second base and three at shortstop, but the three shortstop seasons represent most of Hall's career value. Obviously, the majority of Hall's career WAR were accumulated in 2006, when he hit .270/.345/.553 with 35 home runs and was worth 4.1 wins.

5. Pat Listach

Career WAR: 6.3 (5th)
Top three seasons: 6.3 (5th)
Top five seasons: 6.3 (5th)

Listach was the 1992 Rookie of the Year, finishing in the top 5 in the AL in both singles and stolen bases, hitting .290/.352/.340 and posting 4.6 WAR. He only played 354 games over the five seasons that followed, and only 149 more at shortstop.

Rounding out the top ten:

Pos. Player Career WAR Rank Top 3 Rank Top 5 Rank
6. Jose Hernandez 6.1 6 6.1 6 6.1 6
7. Bill Spiers 4.3 7 4 7 4.3 7
8. Mark Loretta 2 8 2 8 2 8
9. Ernest Riles 1.3 9 1.3 9 1.3 9
10. Dale Sveum .9 10 .9 10 .9 10


Friday: Outfield