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Rookie Shortstops: Adeiny Hechavarria and Ryan Jackson

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Adeiny Hechavarria
Adeiny Hechavarria

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Miami Marlins
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 5-11 WT: 180 DOB: April 15, 1989

The Marlins picked up Cuban defector Adeiny Hechavarria from the Blue Jays in the huge November 2012 blockbuster trade. What he did with Toronto in his 41-game major league trial last summer is exactly what he should be expected to do: hit .250-.270 or so, knock some doubles and an occasional home run, but struggle to control the strike zone and post a poor on-base percentage. He will also provide impressive defense at shortstop, featuring above-average attributes in all categories. He'll make some errors on routine grounders, but he'll also make spectacular plays and his reliability should improve with experience. Hechavarria's glove will keep him in the majors, but will he hit enough to become an all-around contributor? I don't anticipate it in the short run, but I think his bat might turn out better than we have any objective right to currently expect. I've seen him have at-bats where he shows some feel for the strike zone, and at-bats where he shows surprising pop. I've also seen him look very helpless, but the skills to be a decent hitter are in there somewhere, and perhaps his glove will keep him employed long enough for those skills to come out more frequently at some point. Grade B-.

Ryan Jackson, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-3 WT: 185 DOB: May 10, 1988

If you needed a shortstop, you could do a lot worse than just sticking Ryan Jackson into the lineup. He's got a solid defensive reputation, featuring decent range and arm strength, excellent instincts, and outstanding reliability: he made just 12 errors in 102 games at shortstop for Memphis and zero errors in 13 games at second base. Although he doesn't have super-amazing range, he makes the plays he needs to make and there's no doubt about his ability to play shortstop regularly from a defensive perspective. As a hitter, Jackson controls the strike zone adequately and will spark occasional power. He's been steady eddie as a .270ish hitter in the minors, and while that might be just .240 in the Show, he'll contribute some walks and doubles, plus the occasional bomb over the fence if the pitchers gets sloppy with him. He is also an adept bunter, and is the kind of fundamentally sound presence that managers love to have around the clubhouse and dugout. Jackson would make a great utility player, but I wouldn't be afraid to stick him low in the batting order and play him regularly for a year, just to see what he can do with it. Grade C+.

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