Nationals' Top 5 shortstops: Camerato's take

April 21st, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their careers while playing for that club.

Here is Jessica Camerato’s ranking of the top five shortstops in Nationals/Expos history.

These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only -- here's what fans have to say:

1. Trea Turner, Nationals (2015-Present)
Key fact: Turner has hit for the cycle twice in his career, making him the 26th player in Major League history to accomplish that feat.

It didn’t take long for Turner to make in impact on the Nationals. In 2016, he placed second in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting with a .342/.370/.567 slash line over 73 games in his age-23 season.

Despite ranking 10th among the Nationals/Expos shortstops in games played (482), Turner is first in batting average (.291), slugging percentage (.467) and OPS (.815). He is also third in runs scored (332), second in triples (25) and fourth in homers (63). Turner ranks second among the team’s shortstops with a 14.1 bWAR.

In only five seasons, Turner has become the franchise’s all-time leader in stolen bases among shortstops (159). He has ranked in the top five in the NL in stolen bases every season since 2016, including a first-place finish in '18. His 84.13% stolen-base percentage is ranked third among active Major League players and 14th all time.

Turner showed his grit last season during the Nationals' World Series run, in which he competed with a broken right index finger. He sustained the injury in April, returned six weeks later and played with the injury through the playoffs until undergoing surgery in November.

2. Ian Desmond, Nationals (2009-15)
Key stat: Desmond leads the franchise’s shortstops with a 16.5 bWAR.

Desmond had been part of the franchise in the years prior to its relocation to Washington. The Expos selected him in the third round of the 2004 Draft, and he played parts of six seasons in the Minor League system before making his Major League debut with the Nationals on Sept. 10, 2009.

Desmond leads Nationals/Expos shortstops in games played (927), plate appearances (3,793), at-bats (3,480), runs (424), hits (917), home runs (110) and RBIs (432). He is second in stolen bases (122).

He earned his first All-Star selection in 2012, the same season he began a streak of three consecutive Silver Slugger Awards. In '14, Desmond became the fourth shortstop in Major League Baseball to record 20 home runs and 20 steals in three consecutive seasons, joining Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Rollins and Hanley Ramirez.

For three seasons (2010, '14-15), Desmond led the National League in defensive games played at the position. His 221 putouts in '10 also ranked best among NL shortstops.

3. Orlando Cabrera, Expos (1997-2004)
Key fact: Cabrera became the first Expos shortstop to win a Gold Glove Award (2001).

Cabrera played the first eight seasons of his 15-year Major League career in Montreal. He was named Expos Player of the Year in 2001 and '03, and he appeared in 62 games in both of those seasons.

Cabrera’s 47 doubles in 2003 are tied with Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy for third most in a single season in franchise history, and he ranks 10th among all Expos/Nationals batters with 214 doubles. He drove in 96 runs in '01, tying him with Hubie Brooks (1985) for most RBIs by an Expos/Nationals shortstop in a season. That year, he also set a team record with 514 assists at the position.

Defensively, Cabrera led National League shortstops in putouts (2001, '03), assists ('01), fielding percentage ('01) and defensive games played ('01, '03) during his time with the Expos.

4. Wil Cordero, Expos (1992-95, 2002-03) and Nationals (2005)
Key fact: Cordero was named an All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award in 1994, one season after finishing seventh in Rookie of the Year voting.

Cordero was a familiar face in the franchise, playing seven seasons for the Expos and Nationals over his 14-year career. He began in Montreal and made stops in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh before returning to the Expos for two seasons. He then played for the Marlins before finishing his career with the Nationals. In total, Cordero played 649 of his 1,247 games with the franchise.

Cordero is third among Expos/Nationals shortstops with a .338 OBP and a .765 OPS; tied for fourth with 139 doubles; fourth with 280 RBIs and a .427 slugging percentage; and fifth with 282 runs and 59 homers.

5. Hubie Brooks, Expos (1985-89)
Key fact: Brooks won consecutive Silver Slugger Awards from 1985-86, and he earned All-Star selections from 1986-87.

Brooks tallied numerous accolades during his five seasons with the Expos. Among the franchise's shortstops, Brooks is second in home runs (75) and RBIs (390), third in slugging (.441). Brooks also is fourth in runs (291) and hits (689), doubles (tie, 139) and OPS (.765). His 8.9 bWAR is fifth in the franchise at the position.

Honorable mentions

Cristian Guzmán, Nationals (2005-10)
Key fact: Guzmán hit for the cycle in the 2008 season.

Guzmán was named to the All-Star team in 2008, when he ranked fourth in the NL with 183 hits. Overall, he slashed .282/.317/.389 with the Nats. His 28 triples tops the organization's shortstops, and his batting average ranks third at the position.

• Chris Speier, Expos (1977-84)
Key fact: Speier posted a 9.4 bWAR, which ranks fourth among Expos/Nationals shortstops.

Speier recorded 710 hits in his time with Montreal, good for third among the franchise’s shortstops. He is also third in plate appearances (3,289) and fifth in RBIs (255). Speier slashed .245/.323/.332 with the Expos.