The Blue Jays have used six different second basemen this year: Devon Travis (played 770.2 innings), Yangervis Solarte (223 innings). Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (197 innings), Richard Urena (40 innings), Gift Ngoepe (30 innings) and Brandon Drury (9 innings). I’m surprised Russell Martin hasn’t played there.
Before the season I figured Travis would be the second baseman for the the next few seasons (presuming he could stay healthy). Now? Well, I think next year’s second baseman could be any of half a dozen guys. Maybe more. Let’s take a look at the candidates:
- Devon Travis: The good news is he’s been healthy all season. The bad news? He’s hitting .238/.283/.392. His defense has been poor. Maybe poor is an understatement. His UZR is the lowest among AL second basemen with at least 500 innings played this season. Yankees’ Gleyber Torres is second last at a -4.3 UZR/100, Travis is -6.5. And that number pretty much matches the eye test. If he was hitting really well, we might be able to live with it, but if he was hitting well I’d be looking for a different position for him. In the past his defense was better. I don’t know if this is a one-year outlier or if this is the new him. FanGraphs has him at a -0.3 WAR. Baseball Reference has him at a 0.6 WAR. Either way that’s not good enough. He’s under team control until 2021. I’m a fan, I think he will have better seasons.
- Yangervis Solarte: Solarte started the season great. May 3rd he was hitting .287/.371/.573. Since then .212/.252/.330. Defensively? I think second has been his best position, but that’s not saying all that much. FanGraphs has him at a -4.3 UZR/150 but he really doesn’t have enough innings for UZR to have a good reading. We have a fairly reasonable team option for him next year ($5.5 million) and a slightly less reasonable team option for 2020 ($8.0 million). FanGraphs has him at a -0.7 WAR. BR at -0.2. I’m thinking the team will try to trade him or decline the option.
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr.: Lourdes has been splitting time between second and short. To me short looks like the better spot for him but he’s been ok at both, at least to my eye. He’s made a few errors at short, but most of them came in his first few games. FanGraphs has him at a -1.1 UZR at second, again in limited innings. He was hitting great before he injured his knee, having a 11-game steak of 2 or more hits. Since returning from the injury he hasn’t been as great (.196/.266/.232), but I’m will to give him a bit of a pass, since his leg might not be 100% yet. His Jays contract runs through the 2023 season.
- Richard Urena: He’s played more short than second. He’s hitting ok for a 22-year old rookie, utility player, but not well enough for a full time second baseman (.250/.300/.375). He has options left, he’ll likely be up and down again next year.
- Brandon Drury: Came in the Happ trade, but went on the DL with a broken hand. I don’t see any point in activating him this season, but he could be in the mix to play second next year. He’s 26, and hasn’t really established himself as a major leaguer. He hit .291/.400/.442 in Triple A Trenton this season, it would be nice to have some guys on the roster who know how to take a walk. Career he has a -2.0 UZR/150 in 1107 innings at second base.
- Cavan Biggio: Cavan had an excellent year at New Hampshire, hitting .252/.388/.499 with 26 home runs. He’s 23. I’m imagining he’ll get a good amount of playing time in spring training but will start the season at Triple A and wait for an opportunity.
- Bo Bichette: Our number 2 prospect. He’s mostly played short but some scouts figure he’ll end up at second and the Jays seem quite easy with moving guys around the infield. He hit .286/.343/.453 at New Hampshire, a bit of a drop from his 2017 season, but still very good. He’s just 20 and I’m sure the Jays won’t want to rush him to the majors.
Let’s have a poll:
Who will get the bulk of the playing time at second base next year?
This poll is closed