Welcome to the next installment of Tampa Bay Rays vs. the AL East. Today we focus on shortstop.
The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the league’s best defensive shortstops who also packs some pop with the bat. In this series, we will preview how the rest of the American League East stacks up to the Rays at the most skilled defensive position on the infield. On Deck: Tampa Bay Rays
AL East 2B Team Previews:
AL East 3B Team Previews
AL East SS Team Previews
Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Fangraphs 2020 Projected SS WAR: 2.7
Most of you have probably heard the rumors about the best prospect in baseball working his way through Tampa Bay’s minor-league system. Wander Franco currently plays shortstop and if he continues to play like a man among toddlers at each level of the minors, he could be in St. Petersburg as early as the end of 2020. It remains to be seen where Franco will play when he arrives because the Rays already have one of the top shortstops in baseball anchoring the infield.
Willy Adames crushed 20 homers last season. Over his first two seasons in the big leagues, he has posted an OPS+ of exactly 100. If he’s going to lead the league in defensive runs saved then getting .260 and 20 homers is perfectly acceptable.
Last season Adames’ hard work on his defensive game propelled him from a -1 rDRS (at SS) in 2018 to tops among all American League shortstops with 13 rDRS in 2019. Adames is still only 24-years-old and showed with his defense last season that he is still making room for improvements.