Cleat Geeks

AL All-Star Position Preview: Shortstop

Boston Herald

You all know the common saying: “Another day, another All-Star game position preview” right? Maybe that’s just me. Alas, whether people are reading these or not, I have truly enjoyed writing this series. You get a good perspective of just how disrespected some guys are and how they must feel.

However, the shortstop position in the AL is different. I mean the position is absolutely STACKED. I am actually upset I can’t talk about at least five of these guys (I might pull an audible and do it anyway). A lot of these players are appointment television like Manny Machado, who is certainly the only reason people are watching the Orioles right now (certainly not Chris Davis, SHEESH).

Current NL Fan Vote:

Manny Machado

Carlos Correa

Francisco Lindor

Didi Gregorius

Jean Segura

Starter: Francisco Lindor

The fact that Lindor is third in fan voting right now is criminal. Lindor is slashing .290/.362/.529 with an .891 OPS. He ranks 10th in home runs and OPS with 16 and .891 respectively. He is third in runs, fifth in total bases, and 6th in both total bases and runs created.

To me, these things don’t put Lindor over the top for the clear AL starter. Having been a previous Gold Glove recipient, Lindor’s defense is elite, especially at such an important position. Being poor defensively can sometimes be masked in the outfield. At shortstop, however, sheer volume exposes any defensive weaknesses. Lindor has very few. With a reliability on offense and defense while also having an MVP caliber season makes him the best shortstop in the American League. The question is, who falls behind him?

Bench Spot 1: Jean Segura

I’d like to say Segura is having a breakout season, but the Mariners finally being good might just be why people are starting to pay attention. Segura is currently on his third season in a row hitting over .300, this year being the highest batting average of his career at .336. Segura is also slashing an impressive .336/.358.483 so although his home run numbers are down he is still hitting the ball hard. His ability to get on base has also turned into him scoring the second most runs (52) at the position behind Francisco Lindor (54).

I think he loses in fan voting due to his lack of home runs (4). Despite his low home run numbers, he has the most doubles per at-bat of his career, while only trailing only Machado in Correa in RBIs. Both of those guys have double-digit home runs, so what Segura is doing is impressive. He is putting the ball in play and bringing his guys. It helps that he has Dee Gordon, one of the fastest players in the majors, leading off in front of him.

Bench Spot 2: Manny Machado

We all knew how good Machado could be. When you talked about the future free agent, everyone was trying to put a number on how much his talent was worth. He has earned Gold Glove and All-Star game honors years ago. You knew that wasn’t his full potential. Now you are seeing it.

Machado is on quite honestly the worst team baseball has seen in a long time. Yet the slugger is having career highs in almost every statistical category. He hit 18 home runs (leads the position), brought in 53 runs (also leads the position), and is slashing a monstrous .305/.373/.559, all career highs.

If the Orioles don’t trade Machado by the deadline the entire front office should be fired. His value is not getting any higher and teams are only willing to pay so much to a guy who will be a free agent at the end of this season. Machado is a lock to make the All-Star game and I am not even mad about it. You can argue any of these guys at any one of these spots and I wouldn’t be upset. Machado gets a slight dip from me is because his defense has suffered, and that is one of his best assets.

Honorable Mentions:

Due to the fact that there are so many exceptional shortstops this season, I will briefly mention two players that deserve it.

Carlos Correa:

Correa certainly deserves to be in the All-Star game. He is slashing .270/.354/.492 with a 2.8 WAR. He is one of the premier players at the position and name value propels him over these other guys in fan voting. If you thought Correa deserves to be in the All-Star game I would not argue.

Didi Gregorius:

Didi has been hot and cold all year and I think that there are more deserving shortstops, but Gregorius certainly deserves mention. His defense has been reliable and his bat has been powerful at times, with his 14 home runs trailing only Machado and Lindor. Gregorius is on a hot streak as we speak but I do not expect him to make his first All-Star appearance due to the abundance of talent at the position.

 

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