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Detroit Tigers boast glove-first positional depth at shortstop in 2023


The 2023 Detroit Tigers season is fast approaching as we are only 11 days away from the first spring training game and 43 days away from Opening Day. Today, we will get into the Tigers’ shortstops and the depth they have.

Detroit Tigers

Why it Matters:

  • The Tigers have options at shortstop, though they are glove-first players, that don’t hit much.
  • Baez had a positive defensive WAR but a negative offensive WAR in the 2022 season.
  • Palacios had a negative WAR on both offensive and defensive sides in the majors.
  • Kreidler got his first taste of the majors last season and may start in the minors for the upcoming season
  • Short had a forgettable 2022 season in the majors, but his potential suggests he could be a good filler player for the team.

Major League Options:

Javy Baez – Bats: R | Throws: R

2022 Stats (MLB): 590 PA, .243/.278/.418, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 90 wRC+, .291 wOBA

Javy Baez

Javy Baez will be the starting shortstop for this Tigers team. Baez is coming into the second year of his six-year $140 million dollar contract; he will be looking to have a better season than he did last year for the Tigers. Baez has only had a negative WAR once in his career and that came in his rookie season in 2014, last season for the Tigers Baez posted a -4.3 WAR on the offensive side and a 4.4 WAR on the defensive side of the ball and he overall was a 2.0 WAR.  

Baez is a very good fielder last season posting a .954 fielding percentage and, in his career, he has a .963 field percentage, also producing two OAA. The one number that Baez needs to be better about entering the 2023 season is his strikeout numbers, he struck out a total of 147 times last season, and with the help of new hitting coaches Keith Beauregard and Michael Brdar, that number can improve.

Down In The Minors:

Jermaine Palacios – Bats: R | Throws: R

2022 Stats (AAA): 428 PA, .283/.341/.462, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 112 wRC+, .353 wOBA

Palacios comes to the Tigers after spending time in the Minnesota Twins organization for the last few years. Palacios is entering his age 26 season spending time also with the Tampa Bay Rays, he has appeared in only 30 games in the majors and that was last season with the Twins, where he posted two home runs and drove in six runs. His numbers in the majors are not ideal hitting .143 and his WAR on the offensive side was a -7.4 on the defensive side he was a -3.4 and overall he was a -0.9 WAR.

Palacios is expected to play in Toledo for the 2023 season but he is an option to stay with the Tigers to be a backup for Baez or fill in should there be an injury need. Last season was Palacios’ best season in the minors but he just couldn’t translate those numbers to the majors, if he gets a chance this season you can bet he’ll make the most of that opportunity.

Tigers

Ryan Kreidler – Bats: R | Throws: R

2022 Stats (MLB): 84 PA, .178/.244/.233, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 38 wRC+, .218 wOBA

Kreidler got his first taste of the majors least season when he got called up and made his major league debut on September 2nd. He would record his first major league hit the following day going two for four and driving in his first run of his career, Kreidler would hit his first career home run on September 7th against the Los Angeles Angels.

Kreidler is also an option for the Tigers to play third base. Kreidler most likely will go to the minors to start the season out of camp where he had a decent season last year in AAA appearing in 56 games, hitting eight home runs and driving in 22 runs he posted a batting average of .213. Kreidler also posted 106 wRC+ and a .345 wOBA for Toledo last season.

Zack Short – Bats: R | Throws: R

2022 Stats (AAA): 559 PA, .229/.355/.373, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 99 wRC+, .333 wOBA

Short came over to the Tigers in a trade that sent Cameron Maybin to the Chicago Cubs. Short had a forgettable season last year in the majors not registering a single hit in his nine at bat’s, he would only appear in six games for the Tigers last season.

Short appeared a lot in the majors in 2021, playing in 61 games, hitting six home runs, and driving in 20 runs. He posted a slash line of .141/.239/.282 and produced a 43 wRC+. In 2022, he only saw action in six games with the Tigers, where the numbers were much worse. Short will most likely be in Toledo for the 2023 season.

The Bottom Line

The Tigers have some good options at shortstop, with Baez being the clear choice for the starting position. While the other players may need to improve their game to compete at the major league level, they have shown potential and could contribute to the Tigers’ success in the upcoming season.

Written by Chris Lavallee

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