Diamondbacks News

Nick Ahmed’s offensive struggles of little consequence

By Christopher Gaine
Apr 30, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed (13) throws to first base after forcing out Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley (4) at second base during the second inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 30, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed (13) throws to first base after forcing out Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley (4) at second base during the second inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Diamondbacks have a lot of problems right now.

And surprisingly, their starting shortstop batting below .200 isn’t one of them.

Nick Ahmed has struggled mightily at the plate this season, batting .180/.239/.300 with three home runs and 11 RBI. He is the team’s worst hitter by far. Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin have higher batting averages than he does.

But Ahmed’s batting average is of little consequence for two reasons: His elite defense and the lineup he has around him. Ahmed’s 3.5 UZR and five defensive runs saved above average indicate that he is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. This defense will help keep runs off of the board– if the pitching staff ever decides to cooperate.

The Diamondbacks also have plenty of other run-producers, and have no problem on the offensive side of the ball. The Diamondbacks have the seventh-best offense in all of baseball, even without their star outfielder A.J. Pollock. Production from Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, Welington Castillo and Yasmany Tomas give the Diamondbacks as good a middle of the order as baseball has to offer. They can afford a hole in their lineup for the sake of good defense, especially since the Diamondbacks have the eighth-most errors in all of baseball.

Over the last 20 years, we have been spoiled with shortstops like Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada and Carlos Correa who can hit and play defense. This hasn’t always been the case; shortstop has traditionally been a light-hitting, solid-fielding position. Ahmed fits this build. The Diamondbacks can afford to have his sub-.200 average in the lineup– especially considering the guys around him.

facebooktwitterreddit