Welcome to the next installment of Tampa Bay Rays vs. the AL East. Today we focus on third base.
The Tampa Bay Rays have several high-quality players competing for time at the hot-corner in 2020. The Al East has some very quality depth at third base. While the Rays look to platoon several talented players in and out at third, the Red Sox and Blue Jays have two of the biggest young stars in all of baseball manning the position. Today we dive into what the boys from the Bronx have to offer in 2020. On Deck: New York Yankees
AL East 2B Team Previews:
AL East 3B Team Previews
New York Yankees
New York Yankees Fangraphs 2020 Projected 3B WAR: 2.3
This is Gio Urshela‘s job to lose. Miguel Andujar has logged one full major league season, during which he hit .297 with 47 doubles, 27 homers, and 92 RBI. The problem? He logged 136 games at third base in 2018 and posted -21 defensive runs saved while finishing third in the AL in 3B errors.
The Yankees are happy to keep his bat in the lineup and have chosen to work him in the outfield and at DH. While Andujar missed almost all of last season due to a shoulder injury which required surgery. Urshela helped clarify their future at third in 2019 by stepping in and stepping up.
Gio was a good enough defender to be awarded one defensive run saved last season. That puts him at a tick above an average major league third baseman. In fact, for his career, he currently sits at one defensive run saved at third base in 273 games.
Last season, Urshela gave the Yankees confidence in upgrading their defense at third base without having to sacrifice much offensively. The 27-year-old hit .314 with 21 homers and 74 RBI. His 133 OPS+ was actually three points higher than Andujar’s 2018 season.