The minor league veterans
There are several players in the minor leagues who could play shortstop. Paul Janish, who was just called up with Ryan Flaherty on the disabled list, is probably the best fielding shortstop in the Orioles’ system, and that includes Manny Machado. He is superb defensively.
However, he is not historically a strong offensive player. Janish is a career .216/.284/.289 hitter. So, he has no power at all. He has seven home runs in his career, spanning 459 games and 1277 plate appearances.
But, is that any worse than what Hardy is doing right now? No. And the defense would probably be better.
Janish is hitting .255 with AAA Norfolk, which is the fifth-best average on the roster.
But, he is not the only veteran at Norfolk who could start at shortstop.
Arguably the best player for Norfolk this year has been Johnny Giavotella.
Giavotella, a career .256 hitter in the major leagues, is hitting .305 for Norfolk, with the team lead in hits and doubles. He is also tied for second in RBIs with 21. The player he is tied with also could play shortstop for the Orioles, Robert Andino.
However, Giavotella has only played one inning in the major leagues at shortstop. He is primarily a second baseman. And he hasn’t played much at shortstop for the Tides either in 2017.
As for Andino, Andino has been the backup at SS behind Janish and has started the last two games at short with Janish with the Orioles.
Andino is a career utility man, similar to Ryan Flaherty (one could argue better too, but that is another discussion). Andino has 153 games in the major leagues at shortstop, with the majority of those coming in Baltimore.
He is a career .233 hitter, and like most utility infielders is limited in the power department. He is hitting .239 this year for the Tides but does have six home runs.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Garabez Rosa here. Rosa is a career minor leaguer, spending 10 years in the minors, all in the Orioles’ system. He is a .266 hitter in the minor leagues and has played over 500 games at AA Bowie.
The Orioles certainly know who Rosa is, because when he travels to away games at Spring Training, all he does is hit. However, he is so far down the list that I can’t see him making the major leagues.