2020 MLB Defensive Short Stop Rankings: Trevor Story on Top

2020 was a surprising year for Major League Baseball – perhaps most surprising of all is completing even a 60 game season and crowning a champion.

For every player 2020 presented a challenge. Elite shortstops such as Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians and Andrelton Simmons of the Los Angeles Angels seemed to have down years defensively, while Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies rose to the top of the league.

Below is my ranking of defensive shortstops in MLB based on the following combination of factors:

NameWARFPDRSUZR
Trevor Story2.5.96154.0
Dansby Swanson1.9.97410-4.4
Tim Anderson2.2.9673-2,3
Francisco Lindor1.7.98125.8
Adalberto Mondesi1.4.98320.8

Now, depending on which defensive metric you have the most faith in, Fielding Percentage, Defensive Runs Saved, or Ultimate Zone Rating, this seems like a defensible ranking of defensive shortstops in MLB in 2020, perhaps with the exception of leaving out Fernando Tatis, Jr., who would certainly be number six on the list, considering his total WAR of 2.9, his impressive .984 Fielding Percentage, yet rather average numbers for DRS, a 1 and UZR, 0.9.

I would be likely to place the most emphasis on UZR in the context of a 162 game season, but Fangraphs warns of placing too much emphasis on UZR with small sample sizes:

Beware of sample sizes! If a player only spent 50 innings at a position last season, it’d be a good idea not to draw too many conclusions from their UZR score over that time. Like with any defensive statistic, you should always use three years of UZR data before trying to draw any conclusions on the true talent level of a fielder.

Not being a statistical wizard, let me say that if we looked at three years’ worth of defensive statistics for each of the shortstops in the league, we would know who the top player is over that time period. However, 2020, for all it’s weirdness, was a season, and it has its distinctive place in the history of the sport.

So the shortened season makes somewhat of a mockery of the statistics, but they’re all we have for estimating, even in a cursory way, what player accomplishments are.

Jonathan Loaisiga: New York Yankees 2020 Debut

With his elite fastball and plus curve, Loaisiga will be a pitcher to watch

New York Yankees RHP Jonathan Loaisiga will square up today against LHP Ryan Yarbrough and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Loaisiga is a 25 year old right-hander from Nicaragua, who grew up in Managua.  He made his major league debut with the Yankees on June 15, 2018, but was up and down between the major league club and AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre most of the season.

While Loaisiga had a relatively poor campaign for the Yankees in 2019, to be fair he was hampered by injury (shoulder strain) which ate a chunk out of his season.  He was out of the big leagues from May 8th to August 15th and as a result pitched only 31.2 innings in ’19 for the Yankees.  Ryan Chichester of pinstripealley.com ranked Loaisiga’s performance at the season’s end with a D+ as his stat line looked like this: 4.55 ERA, 37 Ks, 1.48 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 4.95 FIP, 0.2 WAR.

However, it was not all bad for Loaisiga, as Chichester pointed out:

Through his final 15 innings of the year, Loaisiga pitched to a 3.00 ERA and struck out 20 batters, but allowed 14 hits along the way. With that lively fastball and a curveball with a spin rate that’s just outside of the top-10 percentile in all of baseball, you would like to see more shutdown outings from Loaisiga, but perhaps the final month of the year was the start of a trend in the right direction.

With his elite fastball and plus curve, Loaisiga will be a pitcher to watch this season as Yankee fans hope to watch a healthy Loaisiga improve to become the pitcher was slated to become either as a spot starter or as an effective weapon out of the bullpen.

 

 

New York Yankees Postgame Thoughts

Chris Gittens smoked one out in the ninth inning for the Yankees.

On a bright day in Tampa, the Yankees opened the season with the first Spring Training game against the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Jays won 2-1 this afternoon, but who’s counting such things?  Baseball is back and for that I give thanks!

While I had predicted that Gary Sanchez would hit the first homer of the season, he didn’t even make the lineup today and that honor went to 1B Chris Gittens who smoked one out in the ninth inning for the Yankees.

When hits come exclusively from Gittens, Ben Ruta and Rosell Herrera, you know it’s February and not April.

J.A. Happ started the game and was sharp for two innings and was followed effectively by Michael King (1.2 IP) and Luis Cessa (1.1 IP).  The Blue Jays managed six hits against the likes of: Luis Avilan, Kaleb Ort, Domingo Acevedo and Brooks Kriske.

Had so much fun watching this matchup today.  Yankees baseball is making the journey back to championship form.  Looking forward to Gerrit Cole‘s debut on Monday night.

New York Yankees: New Season, New Blog

When the Yankees open up today against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first Spring Training game of 2020, it will mark the beginning of the 2020 campaign towards number 28.

While the injuries have already hit the team, with Luis Severino back in New York being tested for forearm soreness and Aaron Judge with shoulder issues, the game today will be a joy to players and fans alike as baseball is the official end of the winter doldrums and the beginning of spring – at least it is for die-hard baseball fans.

Looking forward to the first smack of the ball in the glove, the first crack of the bat – the first dinger of the year, which I’ll be bold and predict will come courtesy of DJ LeMahieu. Can’t wait to see where Manager Aaron Boone positions Miguel Andujar.  Am eager to know how the rotation will shake down now that Severino is out of the picture.

It is with much curiosity, enthusiasm and joy that I welcome another season of Yankees baseball.

Chris Northrop, Yankeesgabbagabba owner

I’m a Yankees fan who loves to watch, talk and write about baseball.

I’m a Yankees fan who loves to watch, talk and write about baseball.  I’ve been freelance writing since 2016 and have decided to launch my own blog to join in the Yankees conversation with other fans, writers and thinkers.