We asked this about second base a couple of weeks ago. Devon Travis won a pretty close vote.
We’ve has 8 different players get playing time at shortstop this year (so far):
- Aledmys Diaz played 783 innings.
- Lourdes Gurriel played 332.1 innings.
- Richard Urena 101.1 innings.
- Gio Urshela 65 innings.
- Yangervis Solarte 42 innings.
- Gift Ngoepe 23 innings.
- Russell Martin 10 innings.
- Brandon Drury 7 innings.
Next year? Could be any of a few guys:
Aledmys Diaz: He’s played more than we expected him to, and he hasn’t been bad, hitting .260/.294/.455 with 18 home runs. I really wouldn’t have guessed he would get 18 home runs. He has been playing more third base than short lately, but I’m hoping we’ll have someone else playing third next year. At short, he’s been ok defensively, UZR has him at a -3.0/ 150. Considering some of the others we’ve had at short, he’s looked pretty good. I think he’s looked better defensively at third base, but it is a small sample. I’d prefer if he was a utility player, which was the play when he was signed, but we could do worse at the position. He has a 1.5 fWAR this year.
Lourdes Gurriel: He’s been getting the lion’s share of the playing time of late. He’s had some great hitting streaks. In all he’s hitting .292/.320/.463 with 11 home runs in 254 at bats. He’s wRC+ is 111. His defense hasn’t been great, -17.1 UZR/150. Personally I think he’s been improving as he has adjusted to be majors. He has a good arm, the range has been ok, but he’s made mistakes, many of them coming from laying back on the ball, thinking someone else was going to get it, instead of taking charge. FanGraphs has him at a 0.9 WAR. That puts him at 16th among rookies in the AL this year. Not bad considering he’s only played 62 games. He’s gone from ‘he might be a utility player someday’ to ‘we really need him in the lineup’ very quickly. It would be nice if he would take a walk occasionally.
Richard Urena: To me he hasn’t looked out of place. He’s not hitting great, .247/.286/342 in just 79 at bats. He can look smooth on defense, but seems to have his bad moments. I guess we all have bad moments. He’s just 22. His biggest problem that that we have a half dozen guys coming up who are likely to pass him on the depth charts.
Brandon Drury: Came in the Happ trade, but went on the DL with a broken hand. Won’t play again this season. He’s 26, but the front office has seen something they like in him. I think there would be a little push to show they traded for him for a reason. 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 played mostly second base.
Troy Tulowitzki: Well.....it could happen. We are playing him $20 million next year, then $14 million in 2020 (plus $4 million to buyout his contract for 2021). With the crush of players we have for the 40-man roster, I could see them giving up on Tulo, if they can convince Rogers to pay him out. If he was to get healthy, I don’t know how the team would use him.
Russell Martin: Just kidding.
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 fine 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. Could get a call up mid-season.
Kevin Smith is just a step behind Bichette (and hit .302/.358/.528 splitting time between Dunedin and Lansing). He’s 21.
Who will get the bulk of the playing time at short next year?
This poll is closed