The Top 3 AL East Shortstops
Rounding out our look on shortstops in the Junior Circuit is the American League East. Some of these teams favor defensive metrics like the ever so quirky Joe Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays. Others favor a shortstop that can produce at the plate, and are willing to sacrifice some range for a stronger batting order. This list will cover the top 3 shortstops in the American League East.
Yunel Escobar - Tampa Bay Rays
After spending a few years in Toronto, Yunel Escobar found himself as the starting shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays. A mediocre season at the plate was largely offset by a impressive .989 fielding percentage and a stingy 7 errors allowed. Joe Maddon prides himself on being a manager focused on spray charts and tendencies. As Escobar develops time at shortstop, expect him to have another solid year defensively, while still being able to contribute at the plate.
J.J. Hardy - Baltimore Orioles
J.J. Hardy had another solid year at his position and at the plate. The shortstop only committed 12 errors and was a part of 108 double plays in the regular season. At the plate, Hardy added 25 home runs and 76 runs batted in. In an Orioles lineup designed to surprise, look for Hardy to be a key contributor both on offense and defense.
Jose Reyes - Toronto Blue Jays
Jose Reyes like many of the acquisitions that the Blue Jays made for the 2013 season, had a disappointing season. Reyes lost a lot of time due to his ankle injury, but was still able to contribute 58 runs scored and 10 home runs. Look for the offensive minded shortstop to contribute more at the plate. With his legs at full strength, look for Reyes to contribute to the running game as well.
The American League East sees some shortstops that contribute with their glove and others that focus more with their bat. J.J. Hardy is probably the best at mixing a solid offense with steady defense. Overall however, I believe that Yunel Escobar is the best shortstop in the American League East.