The Arizona infield, outside of Paul Goldschmidt, was pretty underwhelming last season. Shortstop, second base and third base are all question marks and those positions will all be decided this spring. There are a lot of interchangeable players in these battles, due to many of these players being able to play multiple positions.
Ahmed was the starting shortstop for the Diamondbacks last year and while his defense is incredible, his bat has yet to produce. Ahmed only hit .226 with nine home runs and 34 RBI last season. Even if Ahmed’s bat only improves a little, his defense might be good enough to land him the job once again. None of the other infielders who can play shortstop have the range or defensive ability as Ahmed.
Owings was coming off of a bad shoulder injury at the beginning of last season and it affected his swing. Owings also said that he changed his mechanics due to the nagging injury, which caused him to become uncomfortable. In 147 games, Owings hit .247 with four home runs and 43 RBI. Owings claims that he is fully healthy this year and will be right in the middle of the competition for the second base spot.
Segura was acquired from the Brewers after having a couple down years in Milwaukee. Segura will be in line to either start at second base or shortstop. If Segura does get one of those spots, he will also bat leadoff for the Diamondbacks. In 2013, Segura was named an NL All-Star and hit .294 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI while also stealing 44 bases.
Drury was a September call-up last season and he proved to have quite a bit of talent. He is currently a top-10 third base prospect in all of the MLB. Drury is actually in competition for both third base and second base this spring. He hit .214 with two home runs and eight RBI in just 20 games played in 2015.
Lamb started off great last year before suffering a foot injury that put him on the disabled list. He was never able to regain his form after returning to the lineup, however. Lamb hit .263 with six home runs and 34 RBI in 107 games last year. The benefit of having Lamb in the lineup is that he would provide another left-handed hitter along with David Peralta.
At the end of Spring Training, my projections for the infield are as follows: Nick Ahmed at shortstop, Jean Segura at second base and Jake Lamb at third base.
These battles should be very entertaining to watch throughout the rest of March. The one thing that Diamondbacks fans should remember about this, is that it’s always nice to have a lot of options.