Via MLB Trade Rumors comes this tidbit from an article by the Miami Herald’s Israel Gutierrez, who feels that the face of the Marlins’ future is ace Josh Johnson and that the Marlins need to sign Johnson to a long-term deal. Gutierrez says:
If Hanley Ramirez was worth paying for, then Johnson is at least as important, if not more.
Over the last five seasons, Ramirez has been worth 22.2 wins more than a replacement player. Johnson, meanwhile, has been worth 8.5 wins over replacement.
Even this year, with the season Johnson is having, HanRam has been worth more.
Maybe Gutierrez thinks Johnson is “more important” because he thinks ace pitchers are more scarce than slugging shortstops? Maybe, but it’s not true. I appreciate that aces don’t grow on trees (all you need to know about the scarcity of aces can be found in Nick’s annual unquestioned aces post — this year there were only 6 unquestioned aces). And there are more than a few shortstops who can swing the bat (see: Tulowitzki, Scutaro, Jeter, Tejada, Escobar, Rollins). But there is a huge gap between the shortstops I just mentioned and Ramirez, whose 2009 SLG is .554 (The shortstop with the second highest SLG is Tulowitzki, at .480).
As Fangraphs recently pointed out, Ramirez will likely go down as one of the best short stops ever, and is on course to be in the top three (behind Honus Wagner and A-Rod).
Conclusion: Johnson is good, but Ramirez is better.