Ryan bringing top-notch fielding to Yankees infield

02/23/2014 12:03 PM ET
By Doug Williams

Background: Brendan Ryan is a shortstop from Los Angeles who was acquired last season by the Yankees after spending his entire career in St. Louis and Seattle. He's a defensive wiz, and is commonly known as the best defensive shortstop in the big leagues. A career .237 hitter, Ryan won't put up any huge offensive numbers but his role with the Yankees will be to spot Derek Jeter for rest on occasion, as well as a defensive replacement.

2013 Season: Ryan was struggling mightily with the bat in 2013 with the Mariners and was eventually picked up by the Yankees, who had lost Derek Jeter to injury. Between both teams, he hit just .197 with 4 home runs and 22 RBI's.

Greatest Strength: Brendan Ryan's greatest strength is unquestionably his glove. He's finished first the big leagues in defensive WAR (wins above replacement) twice in his career and is 8th among active players in that category. His range, hands, and arm are all stellar.

Greatest Weakness: Ryan's weakness is his light hitting. He hasn't hit above .200 in the last two seasons and it has made starting Ryan for his glove a little bit more difficult on managers. Ryan will be hoping to return to his 2009 form when he hit .292 for the Cardinals with 114 hits-by far his best offensive season to date.

Prediction: No matter what kind of season Derek Jeter has, Brendan Ryan looks to get plenty of playing time in 2014. Jeter is almost 40 and will need some days at DH, leaving Ryan to start at shortstop. If Jeter breaks down and his health is an issue, Ryan will become the Yankee starting shortstop and (most likely) their ninth hitter in the lineup. Ryan will most likely play in about 85 games for the Yanks in 2014. 

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