It’s been rough sledding all season for the Rockies and Angels, two teams at the bottom of their respective divisions through two months with little hope of catching the contenders.

But we recognize defensive excellence wherever it comes, and even on these struggling teams there are examples to be found at different spots on the field.

Our Defensive Players of the Month for May are Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar and Angels right fielder Jo Adell.

Tovar was terrific in the field in 2023 and has again been great in 2024. His 7 Defensive Runs Saved ranked 1st among shortstops this month. His 18 Runs Saved since the start of last season rank tied for the most among shortstops with Anthony Volpe and his 6 this season are tied for the most at shortstop with Brayan Rocchio and Masyn Winn.

Tovar is particularly adept at turning the double play. He’s converted 40 double plays in 50 opportunities. The 80% success rate ranks 3rd in MLB and is 18 percentage points above MLB average for the position.

Tovar has made quick slide-and-turn plays like this one against Marcus Semien regularly throughout his brief career. He’s also shown he can go back on popups (watch) and snag line drives (here). Tovar handled almost everything flawlessly. He had only 1 Defensive Misplay and no errors the entire month.

“From last May to now, I can’t imagine any shortstop that’s played better than Ezequiel,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “He’s steady. He’s dependable. He makes every play. And he does it his way. He’s got great instincts.”

Added Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland: “He’s an incredible infielder. We love having him there as our leader on the infield. The sky’s the limit for a guy like that.”

Most Defensive Runs Saved By Shortstop – 2024 Season

Player Team Runs Saved
Ezequiel Tovar Rockies 6
Brayan Rocchio Guardians 6
Masyn Winn Cardinals 6
Gunnar Henderson Orioles 5
Bobby Witt Jr. Royals 5
Orlando Arcia Braves 5

Adell led all players with 9 Runs Saved for May, a number boosted by a home run robbery (watch it). But that wasn’t his only great defensive play during the month. He had a fantastic catch against the Astros (here) and also made a great throw to preserve a tie in extra innings (here). His 5 Good Fielding Plays for the month ranked 2nd among right fielders to Starling Marte’s 8.

Adell is still trying to figure things out as a hitter (he had a big slump at the end of May) but he looked the part of a star defender in May. He leads all right fielders with 7 Runs Saved this season.

“It’s his work ethic,” said Angels third base coach Eric Young Sr., who works with first base coach Bo Porter on helping the team’s outfielders. “This guy came into camp on a mission to be the best all-around player he could be. He worked on his defense vigorously. That was his main focus when he came to the park. A total commitment to make it happen.”

Most Defensive Runs Saved By Right Fielder- 2024 Season

Player Team Runs Saved
Jo Adell Angels 7
Wilyer Abreu Red Sox 6
Kyle Tucker Astros 6
Max Kepler Twins 5
Mike Yastrzemski Giants 5
Andy Pages Dodgers 5