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Giants: Was Donovan Solano baseball’s best utility infielder in 2019?

DENVER, COLORADO - AUGUST 04: Donovan Solano #7 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 04, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - AUGUST 04: Donovan Solano #7 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 04, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS – MAY 28: David Bote #13 of the Chicago Cubs hits a home run in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 28, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS – MAY 28: David Bote #13 of the Chicago Cubs hits a home run in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 28, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The question we set out to answer was an easy one. Was San Francisco Giants veteran Donovan Solano the best utility infielder in baseball in 2019?

The first step in answering it was to narrow the field of candidates with some basic parameters.

So in order to be eligible for consideration, a player needed to fulfill the following criteria:

  • More than 100 plate appearances: While utility infielders are usually part-time players, we needed a large enough sample size to properly judge their performance.
  • Fewer than 400 plate appearances: Any player tallying more than 400 plate appearances has reached the level of super-utility player, which is essentially an everyday role spread out over multiple positions, so that’s a different category of player.
  • Played multiple games at 2B and SS: The idea of a utility infielder is generally to serve as the backup to both middle infield spots, so to be eligible, a player needed to have lined up at both second base and shortstop in 2019.

Those three stipulations gave us a list of 43 players.

From that group, only 12 players produced at least 1.0 WAR in 2019, and that’s who we’ll focus on going forward.

Here’s who we’ll be taking a closer look at:

  • David Bote, CHC—2.0 WAR
  • Luis Arraez, MIN—1.8 WAR
  • Chad Pinder, OAK—1.7 WAR
  • Donovan Solano, SF—1.6 WAR
  • Brad Miller, CLE/PHI—1.5 WAR
  • Greg Garcia, SD—1.4 WAR
  • Aledmys Diaz, HOU—1.4 WAR
  • Mike Freeman, CLE—1.3 WAR
  • Myles Straw, HOU—1.1 WAR
  • Ehire Adrianza, MIN—1.1 WAR
  • Brock Holt, BOS—1.0 WAR
  • Luis Urias, SD—1.0 WAR

Which of these players deserves the title of baseball’s best utility player?

Let’s dig a bit further.

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