4. Baltimore Orioles
But, as for Hardy, he hit .269/.309/.407 in 2016 with 9 HRs, 29 2Bs, 48 RBIs and 43 runs in 115 games. In 2015, Hardy only appeared in 114 games and struggled mightily.
If healthy, and there is always that requirement with Hardy, who is now 34, he will like hit between .260 and .269, with around 10 HRs and between 25-30 2Bs. It is hard to predict RBIs for Hardy, as he likely will be the ninth hitter in the Orioles’ lineup again in 2017.
Hardy missed time last year with a broken foot and has already dealt with back spasms this spring, which also affected him in 2014. In 2015, he played the entire season with a torn labrum in his shoulder.
However, what sets Hardy above Duffy, and many other shortstops is his defense. The Orioles’ recognize Hardy as the cornerstone of their defense, even with Machado on the roster. Hardy has consistently had a positive dWAR throughout his career and does not make many errors. In fact, he has the second-best fielding percentage at SS, behind only Troy Tulowitzki. His total zone runs above average numbers are exquisite, even if his range isn’t what it once was.
With Machado and Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles are a team that turns a lot of double plays, and Hardy adds to that.
I make it a habit of not putting someone who starts at another position as the primary backup, but Machado is the true backup if Hardy were to miss significant time. If it is just a game or two, it will fall to whoever wins the intense battle for the utility spot between Flaherty, Andino, Janish and Giavotella this spring.