Ranking the 5 AL West shortstops heading into the 2023 season
2) Jeremy Pena - Houston Astros
Jeremy Pena is a player getting a lot of hype because of how he performed in the postseason. Pena won the ALCS MVP and then followed that up by winning the World Series MVP all in his rookie year.
His regular season wasn't quite as impressive, but he was still very good. He hit 22 home runs and had a 101 OPS+ for Houston. He also won a Gold Glove in his rookie year. He's a complete player who will only improve which is scary for Angels fans. He slots in easily as the second best shortstop in the division.
1) Corey Seager - Texas Rangers
The Rangers spent a lot of money on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien in the 2021 offseason and it paid off for them in terms of their production even with the team's low win total. Semien was solid and Seager stayed healthy which is huge for him and was much better than the base stats might indicate.
Seager slashed .245/.317/.455 with 33 home runs and 83 RBI in 151 games. The power is good but the average was very low for his standards. Seager had just a .242 BAbip despite ranking in the 86th percentile in average exit velocity and the 96th percentile in xBA according to baseball savant.
A big reason for this unlucky batted ball outcome was the shift. Seager was shifted against 92.8% of the time and had a .327 wOBA when shifted against. That number jumped up to .397 when he was not shifted against. Expect Seager to hit closer if not surpass his .287 career batting average in 2023 without the shift and be one of the best shortstops in the game.