I have heard much of Cardinal nation continually call for an upgrade at SS. I read a recent forum in the St. Louis Post Dispatch suggesting that we make a trade with the Cubs for Starlin Castro. But why would we trade Pete Kozma (who currently has the top fielding percentage among SS) for Castro (who currently has the worst fielding percentage among SS). Not to mention, Kozma also has a higher batting average and on-base percentage than Castro.
It seems like the popular thing to do these days is jump on the bandwagon suggesting we should upgrade. But let me just show you two lines of statistics to silence this discussion:
Player A - .234 Batting Average, 27 RBIs, and a .989 fielding percentage at SS
Player B - .230 Batting Average, 35 RBIs, and a .974 fielding percentage at SS
Now based off of these two lines, the normal fan would likely choose Player A primarily due to defense. Both are pretty equal, but I'd say Player A has the slight advantage.
Now to reveal these players: Player A is 2013 Pete Kozma and Player B is our beloved Ozzie Smith in his age 25 season (and those are his season totals).
Now I know that Ozzie wasn't a hitting machine, but he was a 15-time all-star and a 13-time Gold Glove winner. And Kozma's current fielding percentage is higher than Ozzie's ever was! So that's not too shabby.
And from an offensive standpoint, Kozma leads all of baseball in hits from the 8th spot. He also leads in runs and is second in RBIs.
Now I agree that having a SS like Hanley Ramirez would be exciting. It'd probably get us an extra 15 seconds on Sportscenter. Shoot, I'd even settle for a guy like Troy Tulowitzki or Derek Jeter. But the basic reality is that Kozma is getting the job done and he is one of the most underrated shortstops in the game. The Cardinals have the best record in baseball and they show no signs of slowing down.
Looking at the numbers, I think it is time to layoff Kozma. We may have a new Wizard.