There are many things General Managers look for when picking the players for their respective teams. One thing I personal think is always overlooked is the energy guy. I like to call this player the spark plug of the team.
If you are wondering what role this person plays on their team; it’s very simple. This player plays hard night-in and night-out. These guys are the guy who hits a slow roller to the pitcher and has no chance to be safe, but still runs all out to first. Spark plugs are people who help their team stay energized on a day after a long night game.
You don’t have to be the best player to be a spark plug. Just have to have a second-to-none love for your job and the game of baseball.
The main people who deserve this name are: Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, Curtis Granderson, and Ryan Theriot. All of these guys play major roles on their respective teams.
Like I said “you don’t have to be the best.”
Pedroia has proven himself as an All-Star caliber player. What you need to see is how hard he plays. I am not just saying this because his uniform is always dirty. He runs hard everywhere and has no conscious when going after a ball in the field. I really hope he can walk at age 40. He makes other players on other teams want to play as hard as him.
Victorino is over-looked all the time on his team. With MVP’s like Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard and future one in Chase Utley, it’s hard not to get overlooked. But there is some special about Victorino’s game. When the fighting Phil’s made their run this season to get into the NL East race, Shane Victorino finally started hitting and stealing bases. That is definitely not a coincidence.
This really goes without saying, but Granderson is easily the most important Tiger for their offense. We all seen how horrific they were without him and how they are climbing with him. Just think if they could pitch just a little bit.
Theriot is the average leader for the Cubs and their starting shortstop. The reason I say he is the starting shortstop is because he was thought by many as a second basemen. Many scouts told him he was not an everyday shortstop for a big league team. Well he’s showed everyone he is a solid player. He is much like Pedroia only cleaner. Show me a video of The Riot taking a play off and I will buy you a rug.
These guys may not make it on a poster on your wall, or to the Hall of Fame. They will, though, be respected by their teammates and other players for as long as they can go.
Does your team have a spark plug? Many good teams have one and that what helps them get over that little hump. It’s the difference from being a playoff team to being a team looking for tickets for the playoff.
So when you are watching your team plays this season think to yourself, who is the spark plug on my team?
I’d love to hear who you think some other spark plugs are around the league.
Honorable mention: Derek Jeter NYY, Evan Longoria TB, Alexi Casilla MIN, JJ Hardy MIL, Skip Shumaker STL, and Howie Kendrick LAA.