The shortstop position on the Baltimore Orioles roster features 34-year-old J.J. Hardy, who enters his seventh year with the Orioles and 13th major league season in 2017.
The shortstop position in the AL East features four guys, including Baltimore Orioles and two-time All-Star J.J. Hardy who is nearing the end of his contract with the Orioles.
Xander Bogaerts is one of the top young players in the game at age 24, which makes it hard to believe the Red Sox signed him in 2009.
As for some of the others, J.J. Hardy was acquired in December 2010 by the Baltimore Orioles from the Twins, and Didi Gregorius was traded to the Yankees in December 2014 as part of a three-team trade. Troy Tulowitzki was acquired in just before the trade deadline in 2015 by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Colorado Rockies. Matt Duffy was acquired at the trade deadline in 2016 by the Tampa Bay Rays from the San Francisco Giants.
So, with all this ‘exported’ talent into the division, who is the best?
To recap, the rankings at SS at the end of 2016 were:
5. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
3. New York Yankees
2. Toronto Blue Jays
1. Boston Red Sox
Remember to let your comments be heard as to whether you agree with these rankings or not!
5. Tampa Bay Rays
Going into these rankings, I did not anticipate having Duffy in last. But, here he is.
The former Giant may not quite be ready for Opening Day as he recovers from his heel surgery but should be back shortly after.
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Duffy has one full season in his career for the Giants in 2015, where he finished second in the Rookie of the Year race and played in 91 games last year between two bays, San Francisco and Tampa.
In 2016, Duffy hit .258/.310/.357 with 5 HRs (4 in San Francisco), 14 2Bs, 28 RBIs and 41 runs, with eight stolen bases to go along (all in San Francisco). For his career, Duffy is a .281/.324/.395 hitter, which is buoyed by that full season in 2015.
If Duffy can split between 2015 and 2016, the Rays should be pretty happy. But, the downside is that Duffy is not a power hitter, and won’t have the offensive opportunities in Tampa that he did in San Francisco.
Duffy is a well-below average fielder by all metrics at shortstop, albeit in only 28 games. But, with Evan Longoria at third, Duffy will be playing short, and the Rays will hope that in full-time duty at the position his defense improves.
Beckham, the once first-round pick, will likely be the utility infielder, with Miller starting at second base for the Rays.