When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded Didi Gregorius to the New York Yankees, the shortstop position was handed to Nick Ahmed. The rookie received 75 plate appearances in 2014 so at least he had been exposed to a taste of Major League life. Ahmed and fellow rookie Jake Lamb comprised the youngest left side of the infield in the game. The D-backs will be better for it in subsequent years. As far as 2015 goes, let’s take a look at Ahmed’s first full season in Arizona.
The book on the 25-year old Ahmed was simple going into the season: good glove, weak bat. The first part of the equation was a bit understated. Ahmed was great in the field with a tremendous amount of range and a cannon of an arm. Can you imagine how much worse the starting pitchers would look if Ahmed was not patrolling the area at short? Maybe he is not on the Andrelton Simmons level yet but give him another season to get there. As far as his bat goes, it’s true the batting average of .226 wasn’t pretty. However, Ahmed totaled 32 extra-base hits including nine home runs, a respectable number for the number eight hitter in the lineup.
If the .226 average makes you feel bad, then a .276 on-base percentage should make you feel worse. Ahmed started 2015 with only eight hits in his first 64 plate appearances and he hit under .200 in three of the six months of the season. Ironically, he was at his best during the final month of the season with 15 hits over his last 50 plate appearances before a back injury sidelined him for the final week and a half. There was also some misadventures on the basepaths, notably in a June series in Los Angles where he was picked off two games in a row.
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A big reason why the Arizona Diamondbacks were one of the best defensive teams in baseball was the play of Ahmed at shortstop. His bat was spotty but in this lineup, he didn’t need to hit as much as he might have had to on a less potent offensive team. It would be nice to bring his average up by about 15 points but not at the expense of his play in the field. It was a very successful rookie year for Nick Ahmed, one of many for the Snakes in 2015.