Andrés Giménez’s first Good Fielding Play of the season came in the 8th inning of a tight game between the Guardians and Reds on April 12. I don’t have a video clip to show, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
Giménez didn’t even touch the ball on the play, a fly out to left field that turned into a double play when Kyle Farmer, who had been running to second on the pitch, got doubled off first base.
Giménez and shortstop Amed Rosario combined to deke out Farmer, with Giménez pretending to field a ground ball and flip to second. Both infielders sold it well. The Reds didn’t score in the inning.
Oh, and though I’m not focusing on hitting here, I should tell you that Giménez had a moment for everyone to see – he hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the 9th, the first of many marvelous moments at the plate in 2022.
But we’re here because I want to show that Giménez is one of the players you should most look forward to watching play defense this postseason. Because he does a lot of things that you can see that are really good. He’s a huge part of why the Guardians rank 3rd among teams in Defensive Runs Saved.
Giménez ranks third among second basemen with 12 Defensive Runs Saved this season. We’ve previously written about the top two – Brendan Rodgers and Tommy Edman and they’ve been so good that Giménez is going to have a hard time winning a Fielding Bible Award this year. But Giménez plays with a different level of athleticism, skill, and flare.
Most Defensive Runs Saved – Second Basemen in 2022
Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (who was traded in the deal that netted Giménez) recently remarked on a national broadcast that next year’s banning of full defensive shifts would create an environment in which great athletes would thrive.
Lindor could have been talking about someone like Giménez, whose 9 Runs Saved in non-shifted alignments, which makes sense given that the Guardians shift less than any other team.
Giménez’s 7 jumping plays are one off the MLB lead at the position and his 9 sliding plays rank second among second basemen (make sure to catch the call from White Sox announcer Jason Benetti on the second play below).
But there have been plenty of smiles when he’s stayed on his feet too. This play had a 5% out probability and was worth 0.7 Runs Saved.
This one, which just happened on Saturday, was a little easier. The out probability was still only 26%.
There’s one aspect of how Giménez plays that he may have to rein in because it might come with a future cost. Giménez is a highly-aggressive diver. His 47 diving attempts, 40 of which have come at second base, rank second in MLB. And they’ve resulted in only 7 outs, a success rate of 15%. That’s below the MLB average of 25%.
Giménez leads the majors in the combined total of sliding, diving, and jumping attempts, and while that both provides value and looks cool, it can be harmful to one’s health.
Our studies have shown that players who slide, dive, and jump a lot, particularly at an active position like middle infield, are at a prominent injury risk. Giménez ranks among the players most likely to incur an injury warranting a stay on the IL and will probably be on our list of most likely to be injured in 2023.
But for now he’s healthy and so long as he stays so, he’ll be one to watch come October.