The 2022-23 free agency has a luxury foursome at shortstop: Trea Turner, Puerto Rican Carlos Correa, Aruban Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. They’d all be in the Phillies’ crosshairs, of course, but they’re also coveted pieces by other teams as well.
What do we know about these four shortstops?
Recently, the “gurus” of the numbers analyzed the value of each of them. Below are some of the most relevant data.
Forever: .302/.355/.487 (122 OPS+), 124 HR in 849 games
2022: .298/.343/.466 (121 OPS+), 21 HR in 160 games
Turner’s .489 slugging percentage ranks third among shortstops with 2,000 plate appearances or more since 2016, behind Trevor Story (.513) and Corey Seager (.492). Turner has 99 home runs since 2018, sixth among major league shortstops.
Turner has +3 in above-average putouts as a shortstop over the past four years, according to Statcast. That’s 22nd among 43 eligible shortstops. So, he’s an average defender, which is fine because he brings a lot to the bat.
Turner has been one of the five fastest running backs in Major League Baseball in his career.
Forever: .279/.357/.479 (129 OPS+), 155 HR in 888 games
2022: .291/.366/.467 (140 OPS+), 22 HRs in 136 games
Just six shortstops in the National and American Leagues have had an OPS+ better than Correa’s 129 as he finished his season with 29-year-olds Alex Rodríguez, Arky Vaughan, Nomar Garciaparra, Ernie Banks, Hanley Ramírez and Corey Seager (min. 2,000 plate appearances with at least 50% of their games at short stops).
Correa had -3 outs above average in 2022, but his metrics in the past have placed him among the elite shortstops, including +20 in that department and a Gold Glove win in 2021.
Correa’s 7.2 WAR in 2021 was the best among major league shortstops. The Puerto Rican posted 5.4 in 2022. His combined 12.7 WAR over the last two years surpasses those of Turner (11.4) and Bogaerts (10.7).
Correa does have a history of injuries. He has played in 136 or more games at one time since 2016.
Xander Bogaerts, 30 years old
Forever: .292/.356/.458 (117 OPS+), 156 HR in 1,264 games
2022: .307/.377/.456 (131 OPS+), 15 HR in 150 games
Bogaerts just knows how to hit. The only other player who hasn’t had a sub-.285 batting average and a 125 OPS+ in each of the past five seasons is Freddie Freeman.
He entered 2022 with -40 putouts above career average at shortstop. However, he was +5 this year, the best number of his career. Bogaerts says the improvement was due to better preparation before pitches, so the veteran believes that trend will continue.
In 2022, Bogaerts had the lowest numbers (excluding 2020) in home runs (15), hard contact rate (39.5%), barrel rate (6.5) and average exit velocity (88.1 mph). Is it just a stumble, or a trend?
Forever: .255/.321/.417 (95 OPS+), 102 HR in 827 games
2022: .277/.329/.447 (115 OPS+), 25 HR in 162 games
Swanson entered 2022 with a 90 career OPS+. He then had one of the best seasons of his career, posting a 115 OPS+. He also set a career high with a 46.3% hard contact rate. But Swanson also had his highest strikeout rate (26.1%) and lowest walk rate (7.0%).
Swanson has always been a solid defender, putting out +16 above average from 2016-21. He put out +21 in 2022, the best among MLB shortstops, as well as winning his first Gold Glove.
Swanson is the iron man in this group of shortstops. He has missed a total of two games in the last three seasons, both in 2021. He had the opportunity to miss the final game of the 2022 regular season, but opted to play, so he could once again participate in each of the 162 crashes.
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Who is better between SS Turner, Correa, Bogaerts and Swanson?