HHP: RZNJ on the Defensive Side of Tim Beckham

Tigers at Orioles 8/6/17

Myth #1. Tim Beckham can’t get any better at shortstop at age 27 and Tampa Bay determined he isn’t a shortstop and they are a smart organization.

If Tampa thought Beckham couldn’t play shortstop then why at age 27 did they have him start virtually every game at shortstop from the beginning of the season until June 24th?

If he was so bad how did he put up a defensive WAR of .5 (positive) as a Ray? The Rays moved Beckham when they acquired Adainy Hechavarria, who has played shortstop virtually his entire career and is known as a glove-first shortstop. There’s no shame in being moved off of shortstop for him. The Rays may have wanted to upgrade their defense at shortstop or maybe just their infield defense in general by thinking they could upgrade two spots by obtaining Hechevarria. It doesn’t mean that Beckham can’t play shortstop. Just as it didn’t mean the Orioles didn’t think Machado could play shortstop when they resigned Hardy to play shortstop and kept Machado at 3B.

Tim Beckham made ONE error the whole month of September. Some are using the surest-handed shortstop in baseball as a barometer in J.J. Hardy. Even Machado is going to look erratic compared to Hardy.

Myth #2. Manny Machado will be some kind of defensive wizard at shortstop.

Manny is clearly, at least, about 30 pounds heavier than he was as a minor leaguer and a rookie. He has bulked up considerably. In his brief career as a shortstop, Manny has committed errors at virtually the same rate as the “erratic” Beckham who has a whopping 163 total games played at shortstop at the ML level. I’m sure Manny would be at least average and probably better but there is nothing to suggest that he’d be an elite defensive SS. Even Bobby Dickerson said in the last day that Manny would have to change his workouts and change his body in order to play shortstop every day. That could/would probably affect his offense. Heck, statistically a bulked up Manny has lost something at 3B. His defensive WAR last season was his lowest over a full season at 1.0. Of course, some just assume he’ll move over to shortstop and be a Gold Glove guy over there.