1 big reason why Kyle Farmer cannot return to shortstop in 2023

Cincinnati Reds infielder Kyle Farmer.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Kyle Farmer. / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Kyle Farmer bailed the Cincinnati Reds out of a mess during the 2021 season. The former catcher took over as the team's starting shortstop midway through the season and allowed Eugenio Suarez to return to third base.

The move proved two things; Suarez is no longer a shortstop and Farmer could be an everyday player in the major leagues. Farmer rode his unlikely 2021 performance to a starting job during the 2022 season as well.

Farmer was Cincinnati's starting shortstop on Opening Day and maintained that role under after the trade deadline when it became necessary for the veteran to slide over to third base after Brandon Drury was dealt to the San Diego Padres.

Reds infielder Kyle Farmer cannot return to shortstop in 2023.

Shifting Kyle Farmer from shortstop to third base also allowed the Cincinnati Reds to give Jose Barrero an extended look as an everyday player. While Barrero's bat let him down, it's highly likely that the Reds will give the 24-year-old another opportunity to prove that he belongs.

But Barrero's presence isn't necessarily the biggest reason that Farmer should remain at third base rather than move back to shortstop. Next season, Major League Baseball will institute a ban on the defensive shift.

This change will put a greater emphasis on one's defensive range and athletic ability. After seeing Farmer's defensive statistics take a tumble in 2022, it's hard to envision the 32-year-old occupying the most important defensive position on the infield.

After posting 2 defensive runs saved during the 2021 season, last season saw Farmer register -2 DRS according to Fielding Bible. According to Baseball Savant, Farmer was worth -3 outs above average while playing shortstop, but saw that number jump to 2 OAA after making the switch to the hot corner.

In 2021, Kyle Farmer was worth 6 OAA while playing shortstop. That eight point drop is cause for concern, but his production after shifting to his right in early-August is certainly encouraging. Regardless of which young player is competing for the starting shortstop job, Farmer should stay put at third base.

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