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Appreciating Nick Ahmed

The Gold Glove Shortstop has upped his overall game

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Ahmed keeps getting better and better as an all around baseball player, in virtually every facet of his game. And yet among all the discussions of buy vs. sell, Ketel Marte’s breakout, Eduardo Escobar’s power, the returns on the Paul Goldschmidt trade, the bullpen, the back end of the rotation, it seems like Nick’s performance this year has been getting overlooked, and we are not talking about him as much as we should.

His current triple slash is .268/.325/.423, .748 OPS, 92 OPS+ . All of those numbers would be career highs if he finishes the season at those levels. His HR (9) and RBI (45) pace are a little off from last year, but he is actually a more valuable hitter this year than last year. He even leads MLB in Sac Flys with 10.

One particular feature of Nick’s game this year has been his consistency. Looking at his month to month splits he had a rough June, but overall, he has been much more consistent compared to years past.

Nick said coming into the season he didn’t want to just be thought of as a glove only guy. He wanted to be known for his bat. While he hasn’t quite achieved that goal yet, his determination to improve has brought him up to a level that is more than passable at his position.

He also has been running the bases extremely well. Aside from his 6 steals without being caught, he makes numerous heads up base running plays that are often the subject of delight and admiration from Bob Brenly in the broadcast booth. And the numbers back Bob up, as Nick’s +4 Base Running runs are the best of his career

And of course, he is still providing Gold Glove caliber defense at the primary position of Shortstop.

Full Disclosure: I have commented several times that I felt from observation that his defense was not quite up to last year’s standards. However the numbers say my lying eyes are wrong. He already has +17 Defensive Runs Saved this year, (Per Baseball-Reference.com and BIS) Last year he had 21 rDRS. He’s on pace to surpass that number. His UZR at Fangraphs.com is +4.8, and DEF Runs +11, already surpassing last year’s +4.6 UZR and +5 Def Runs.

So with no drop off in any of his metrics, and maintaining his lead among NL SS in rDRS (& 4th in UZR), suffice to say he is on track for a second consecutive Gold Glove.

So in Summary, Nick’s defense, batting, base running, positional adjustment, and durability, have all added up to 3.4 WAR, and when you calculate value, (WAR vs. Salary) the only position player on the team more valuable than Nick has been Ketel Marte. So as not to disappoint, here is an edited table from Baseball Reference, with the “VALUE” column added by me.

(WAR*7,800,000)-(Salary x .636). Note: Season is roughly 64% complete

While there is talk of selling and buying and all sorts of rumors swirling around many players on the team, nobody has discussed a possible extension for Nick. He has one more year of control beyond this year and will be a free agent after the 2020 season. With Jazz Chisholm possibly two years away, (or more if he doesn’t cut down on the K’s), is it worthwhile to extend Nick, and if so, for how long ?

I think if the team could sign him to something like the Eduardo Escobar deal , (3 years, 21 Million) for ages 30-31-32, that would be a strong value deal. It gives the team a solid above average Shortstop for the next couple of years at least, while Chisholm or one of the other infielders in the organization develops. If Nick starts to lose a step or two by 2022 and is being pushed by a prospect, that wouldn’t be a problem. He’s not actually likely to be blocking anyone in 2020 or even 2021 in my opinion.

I personally wouldn’t have an issue with Nick doing much better on the average annual, but I would hesitate to go 4 years to his age 33 season , i.e.2023. Others might not fear that age so much or worry about blocking a prospect that far out.

Some may wish to trade Nick, and if another organization valued him as I do here in the table above, and saw that value carrying over next year as well, then Nick is a pretty valuable trade chip too.

Or they could let it play out, keep him through next year, and make him a qualifying offer for 2021, although at 19-20M , that seems unlikely.

What do you think ?

Poll

What should the DBacks do with Nick Ahmed

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Extend if team friendly deal like EE
    (96 votes)
  • 23%
    Extend even if it takes 3/30 or 4/40
    (33 votes)
  • 6%
    Trade him now and get a good return
    (9 votes)
  • 3%
    Keep him through end of 2020 and make him a Q.O
    (5 votes)
143 votes total Vote Now