Baltimore Orioles: J.J. Hardy Remains Near Bottom For Shortstops

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J.J. Hardy
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Baltimore Orioles – J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado

Preseason prediction – 4th, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Paul Janish

The Baltimore Orioles got 115 games for veteran J.J. Hardy in 2016 and turned for Manny Machado for all but four of the other games while Hardy was out with a broken bone in his foot. The Baltimore Orioles decided that the man who may still be their future shortstop was a better option at the position than Flaherty or Paul Janish, which is correct.

Hardy’s slash line was pretty close to his career average, coming in at .269/.309/.407 compared to .258/.308/.412. He added 9 HRs, 29 2Bs, 48 RBIs and 43 runs from the bottom of the Orioles’ order. At this point, Hardy is no longer a power hitter, but a guy that is more selective than most Orioles, and will give full effort.

Hardy made six errors all year, including an odd two in one inning in early July. However, by the end of the year, he had the second-best fielding percentage for shortstops, and the second best runs saved metric as well. Hardy’s oWAR and dWAR were both 1.3, adding up to 1.9 and putting his WAR number ahead of Miller’s.

As I said, all things considered, it is Machado at shortstop that helped keep the Orioles in fourth. Manny hit .273/.347/.552 at shortstop, compared to .301/.342/.526 at third. Some in the Orioles’ organization think that shortstop may put too much stress on Manny’s offense, and that is a reason to keep him at third base. Regardless, his numbers were quite excellent at both places. Hopefully, the team can use Machado as the main backup to Hardy and eliminate the need to have Flaherty on their team.