The city of Chicago is one of the fortunate places to have two major league baseball teams. On the Northside are the Chicago Cubs and on the Southside they have the Chicago White Sox. Both teams have had their ups and downs and in 2014 they appear to be going uphill if only because things could not get worse than they were the previous season.
One stable position for both teams is shortstop. Castro has been with the Cubs since 2010 after being signed as an amateur free agent in 2006 when he was only 16-years-old. Ramirez was also signed as an amateur free agent by the White Sox. He was 26-years-old when it happened though, and made his debut that same year in 2008.
The style of game each plays is a bit different. Castro is a top of the lineup guy with a very similar game to Jimmy Rollins. He has a little bit of pop in his bat with the ability to drive in runs, but his walk totals are far too low for someone batting leadoff. His stolen base totals are also quite low with an even worse percentage. For instance in 2012 Castro stole 25 bases and was caught a league leading 13 times.
Ramirez’s time in the majors has been spent hitting all over the lineup. In his rookie season he hit a career high 21 home runs in a career low 480 at-bats. His offensive production has since fallen off each season in nearly every category. Like Castro, Ramirez draws far too few walks. Not nearly as speedy as Castro, he did manage to swipe 30 bases in 2013 while only being caught 9 times.
Among their greatest weaknesses, Castro strikes out a lot. He has tallied 71, 96, 100, and 129 strikeouts each season with a walk total never going higher than 36. Ramirez has no obvious weakness as he is a much more balanced player by comparison.
The biggest strength both have is the ability to stay healthy and take the field. From 2011-2013 Castro only missed 5 games. Since 2010, Ramirez has played in 156 or more games each season. As the shortstop of their respective team, this has been a constant stability for each organization.
When it comes down to it, which player is better?
Both are have to great starts in 2014 after a poor 2013 season. Analyzing them closely, there seems to be no clear winner. Factoring in defense Ramirez does have a slight edge however his defense is nothing more than average.
If you could only have one on your team though, Castro would be the way to go. At only 24-years-old he has an opportunity to get much better and eventually accumulate numbers worthy of the Hall of Fame.