AL East 2017 Positional Rankings: Injuries Catch Up to Several Shortstops

TORONTO, ON - JULY 8: Troy Tulowitzki
TORONTO, ON - JULY 8: Troy Tulowitzki /
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4. Baltimore Orioles – J.J. Hardy, Tim Beckham, Ruben Tejada,

It truly was an unfortunate end to J.J. Hardy’s career in Baltimore. For so long a pillar in the middle of the infield, with a powerful bat to boot, over the last few years Hardy struggled to stay healthy, and also lost his effectiveness.

In 73 games, Hardy hit .217/.255/.323 with four home runs, 13 doubles, 24 runs and 24 runs batted in. Hardy had an offensive WAR of -0.5, and a defensive WAR of 0.4.

Hardy’s defense wasn’t bad, but he was clearly hampered by age and health offensively.

Insert Tim Beckham, who the Orioles acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade-deadline. We’ve discussed Beckham a little previously for his appearances at second base in Tampa.

However, he was a bit of a different player in Baltimore.

Beckham was one of the best players in baseball in August, hitting .394/.417/.646 with six home runs, 10 doubles, two triples, 27 runs scored and 19 runs batted in. He was excellent.

Then, in September and October he batted .180/.255/.348 with four home runs, three doubles, nine runs scored and seven runs batted in. Quite a difference.

And, that will be something for the Orioles to evaluate moving forward. Beckham is a streaky player, but one full of potential. He is also is a bit of a liability defensively, posting a .961 fielding percentage with nine errors in 230 chances with the Birds. And probably five more potential errors were saved by the skill of Chris Davis at first base. He finished second in the American League for the most errors by a short stop, with nine for Tampa and nine for Baltimore.

Beckham remains under contract for the next several years, and appears to be the Orioles’ short stop for the foreseeable future.