The Seattle Mariners used a plethora of players at the shortstop position this year, but they appear to have found their ride or die option, at least for the next several years.
Grades are based on the standard A+ to F- scale. The grades are just opinion-based and they are critiqued on a variety of areas including 2019 production relative to expectation. So a player who signed a minor league contract and performed at any kind of significant level will get a significant boost over a player making real money who put up similar numbers. So let’s get started:
Beckham did exactly what he needed to in 2019. He held down the fort until J.P. Crawford was ready to go at the big league level. The bat flips were fun and his power potential definitely showed. He was about a league-average bat.
But the glove was rough at shortstop and, of course, the PED suspension does put a damper on his season. Seattle does still have control over Beckham for one season, though a non-tender is likely this off-season. It seems unlikely Beckham returns next year, but we shouldn’t completely rule it out.
Dylan Moore was a name to watch this spring simply because he was a career minor leaguer who got a big-league contract. And after some rough moments early in 2019, he turned out to be a decent little player.
Lately, Moore has shown the pop the Mariners believed he had and he certainly has the speed to steal some bags. Defensively, Moore has shown the versatility the team hoped for, appearing in a game at 8 of the 9 positions, missing just catcher. He has been solid but unspectacular at each spot and has a good chance of winning the utility job next year. Not a bad rookie season for a career minor leaguer.
Coming over in the most controversial trade of a rebuild can leave big expectations on a young player. Especially when that player was a former top prospect that failed out of another organization.
But J.P. Crawford came over and for large chunks of the season, looked like the player he was once projected to be. Then, for an extended period of time, he wasn’t. But one thing hasn’t waivered for Crawford; his defense.
The metrics don’t love Crawford, but the eye test shows an average or better defender with the upside for greatness. Crawford also showed good pop throughout 2019 and a knack for taking his walks. He walked in more than 10% of his PA’s and struck out in just 20% of his PA’s, well below league-average.
Crawford is 162 games into his big league career and has been worth 2 fWAR, posting above-average walk rates, defense, and base-running. Crawford can still get better at just 25-years-old so this is an exciting year for the future shortstop of the Mariners.