NICK Nicholas Mark AHMED
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   SS
Home: N/A Team:   DIAMONDBACKS
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 195 Throws:   R
DOB: 3/15/1990 Agent: Meister Sports Mgmt.
Uniform #: 13  
Birth City: Springfield, MA
Draft: Braves #2 - 2011 - Out of Univ. of Conn.
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2011 APP DANVILLE   59 248 46 65 13 2 4 24 18 6 30 46 .346 .379 .262
2012 CAR LYNCHBURG   130 506 84 136 36 4 6 49 40 10 49 102 .337 .391 .269
2013 SL MOBILE   136 487 58 115 21 5 4 46 26 7 33 72 .288 .324 .236
2014 PCL RENO   104 407 57 127 26 4 4 47 14 6 37 55 .373 .425 .312
2014 NL DIAMONDBACKS   25 70 9 14 2 0 1 4 0 1 3 10 .233 .271 .200
2015 NL DIAMONDBACKS $508.00 134 421 49 95 17 6 9 34 4 5 29 81 .275 .359 .226
2016 NL DIAMONDBACKS $522.00 90 284 26 62 9 1 4 20 5 2 15 58 .265 .299 .218
2017 AZL AZL-Diamondback   4 10 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 4 .231 .000 .000
2017 PCL RENO   2 7 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .250 .571 .143
2017 AZL SCOTTSDALE   4 10 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 4 .231 .000 .000
2017 NL DIAMONDBACKS $566.00 53 167 24 42 8 1 6 21 3 4 10 39 .298 .419 .251
2018 NL DIAMONDBACKS   153 516 61 121 33 5 16 70 5 4 40 109 .290 .411 .234
2019 NL DIAMONDBACKS $3,663.00 158 556 79 141 33 6 19 82 8 2 52 113 .316 .437 .254
2020 NL DIAMONDBACKS $2,597.00 57 199 29 53 10 1 5 29 4 0 18 46 .327 .402 .266
2021 NL DIAMONDBACKS   129 434 46 96 30 3 5 38 7 2 34 104 .280 .339 .221
Personal
  • In 2008, Ahmed graduated from East Longmeadow High School in western Massachusetts. His career record was 21-3 on the mound. And he also starred in basketball. Plus, he was a National Honor Society member and graduated 17th in his class of 233.

  • Ahmed's mom, Jan, is a teacher and his dad, Mark, is an investment analyst. Both sets of great grandparents came to America from Italy through Ellis Island in New York.

  • Nick accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Connecticut, majoring in sports management. He hit .326 in 51 games for the Huskies in 2011.

  • Ahmed's uncle, Raphael Cerrato, is the head baseball coach at the University of New Haven.

  • In the summer of 2010, Nick played for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League.

  • In 2011, Nick got drafted by the Braves (see Transactions below).
  • Nick has an old-school approach to the game. He has a take-no-prisoners attitude and a tireless work ethic.

    "There is definitely more to the game than just hitting. Defense. Baserunning. Being a good teammate," Ahmed said.

    He has excellent makeup, drawing comparisons to former D'Backs shortstop John McDonald. They have similar skill sets.

    "It's through the roof—excellent, excellent, excellent makeup,” Lynchburg Hillcats hitting coach Bobby Moore said in 2012. “The kid comes to work every day. If you tell him he does something good, he wants to do it better."

  • In 2012, Baseball America rated Ahmed as the 15th-best prospect in the Braves organization. He was at #11 in the winter before 2013 spring training. They had him at #18 in the spring of 2014.

    And Nick broke into the Top 10 in 2015, at 10th-best after traded to the Diamondbacks organization.

  • In 2012, Nick led the Carolina League in runs (84), doubles (36), steals (40) and fielding percentage at shortstop (.963).

  • When the D-backs called up Ahmed from Triple-A Reno on June 29, 2014 he texted Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella to share the news. Once La Stella heard, he reacted enthusiastically.

    Ahmed had played the role of cheerleader when Atlanta recalled La Stella from Triple-A Gwinnett a month earlier. Three years after the Braves took both players in the 2011 draft, Ahmed and La Stella were both Major Leaguers.

    "We're good buddies. We stay in touch. We talk hitting a lot," Ahmed said. "He was all excited for me, the same way I was for him when he got his callup."

    They first made contact when the duo played together for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League in 2010. They crossed paths again during the 2011 NCAA tournament when La Stella's Coastal Carolina played Ahmed's UConn at the Clemson Regional.

    They went their separate ways in 2011 when Ahmed went to Danville and La Stella played in Rome.  But in 2012, they suited up again as teammates for Class A Advanced Lynchburg. But in 2013, the Braves sent Ahmed to Arizona as part of the seven-player blockbuster trade that brought Justin Upton to Atlanta.

    Only six days removed from his Major League debut, Ahmed finally shared the diamond with La Stella again for the 2014 Fourth of July weekend at Turner Field.

    "Living together and obviously staying in touch over the years, we've talked about this moment for a long time, playing against each other at the highest level," La Stella said. "It's pretty cool it's finally happening."

    "It's going to be fun," Ahmed said. "When you get drafted, you always dream of playing for that organization in the big leagues. I always dreamed of playing here." (Mark Bowman and Joe Morgan, MLB.com, 7/5/2014)

  • "I always found the best way to coach Nick was to tell him, 'You can't,'" said Jim Penders, who coached Ahmed at UConn. "He'd want to know who said that, he'd show 'em."

  • July 2-4, 2016: Nick was on the paternity list. He and Amanda have two sons, Jackson and Cole.

    CHARITY FOR THE DOMINICAN

  • Sept 19, 2018: The daily trek on foot by the women and children of El Mogote, Dominican Republic, takes 5 to 6 hours. Carrying pails as they navigate snaking dirt roads to the nearest water source, members of the 800-person day-laborer community fill those containers and head home in a cyclic mission built out of necessity but negated by the known contaminants in the very liquid intended to bring life to their shared agricultural village.

    Located 60 kilometers northwest of the D-backs' Baseball Academy in Boca Chica, the D-backs are making yet another positive impact in the Dominican. And it's thanks to Nick Ahmed, his wife Amanda, and the Ahmed Family Double Play Fund. The fund provides basic living necessities for the impoverished in the United States and Dominican Republic—including the families in El Mogote.

    The Ahmeds partnered with Striking Out Poverty, an initiative of the Phoenix-based international non-profit Food for the Hungry. They look to raise awareness and funds for a dual project in the Monte Plata province's community. Their aim is to make water more readily accessible and improve its quality—something most people in the world can easily take for granted with a simple spin of a faucet.

    "The people in El Mogote don't have running water in the community," Nick said, "so the first project is creating a water infrastructure to bring the water closer to the residents' homes so they don't have to spend hours and hours each day fetching water that's not even drinkable. The second project is a water filtration system. So we'll have a spot centrally located in the community where they can all go and get clean drinking water, which will eliminate the kind of waterborne diseases that these people are unfortunately encountering."

    The community of El Mogote in the Dominican Republic has roughly 230 families that struggle with a lack of safe drinking water and food. The number of MLB players looking to make a personal difference through Food for the Hungry's Striking Out Poverty initiative is on the rise. Former D-backs pitcher Chase Anderson, Cardinal Adam Wainwright, and the Athletics' Liam Hendriks also pledged to raise funds. So are Mariners outfielder Dee Gordon and Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.

    "The D-backs obviously have a connection to that country," said Nick, "and I've had so many teammates from that country here, it just made sense to help out. It's about improving their quality of life and getting them out of that cycle of poverty. Striking Out Poverty has identified a bunch of different communities that were in need through the connections they have down there. So we felt clean, running water was the No. 1 basic necessity to start. And after that, hopefully we can adopt that community next year and build some sort of agricultural system for them to improve their quality of food and have an opportunity to bring in some money for their families."

  • Milam Byers, Director of Sports Partnerships at Food for the Hungry, said: "Nick and his wife Amanda joined the Food for the Hungry family last year and have truly jumped in with both feet. We are continually thankful for their commitment to Striking Out Poverty, and we can't wait to see the life-changing difference that this campaign will bring to some of the hardest places in the Dominican Republic."

    Planning a first trip to the Dominican this upcoming offseason through Food for the Hungry, the Ahmeds' Double Play Fund's roots began a year ago in July, after the birth of their son, Jackson. Also wanting to be proactive while weathering two stints on the disabled list last year, the infielder set up a pledge program dependent upon D-backs win tallies. With the team's success on the field en route to its first postseason appearance since 2011, the Ahmeds were able to build a worthy campaign in limited time during the second half of the season. This year, pledges center around Ahmed's hits.

    "Baseball is Nick's passion," said Amanda Ahmed, "but for him to want to help others, mentor and just be able to give back. God's given us an amazing opportunity for him to play the game professionally, but we want to be able to do more than just play. That's where giving back comes in. It's been awesome watching him grow both on and off the field."

    "Having kids puts things in perspective," Nick said. "Everyone in the world doesn't necessarily have the same blessings and opportunities we do, so just looking at our son and thinking about not being able to give him clean water to drink, or him getting diseases or not having enough food to give him to eat so he can grow and develop really hurt us. It made our hearts pretty heavy for the people going through something like that."

    At this year's Evening on the Diamond, more than $750,000 was raised to help build food pantries in the most at-risk Arizona schools as part of the launch of the Pitch In to End Hunger program, in conjunction with St. Mary's Food Bank, to alleviate food insecurity for thousands of Arizona families.

    For the Ahmeds, what started out as helping the local Kitchen on the Street provide food to needy Valley residents blossomed into a partnership along with the D-backs, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, and St. Mary's to unveil the first Pitch In to End Hunger food pantry at William Jack Elementary in Glendale earlier this season.

    "We basically adopted a school with underprivileged kids and their families that don't have enough food, and built them a food pantry at the school so the kids can go in and grab food they need for themselves and their families at home," said Ahmed, about the storeroom that houses 10,000 tons of canned food and nonperishable items.

    "It's a huge program that's going to do amazing things. The D-backs are as passionate as we are about it, and we are to going to help out in any way we can."

    With 3,000 miles separating El Mogote from the Ahmeds' home in Nick's hometown of East Longmeadow, Mass., the infielder credits his parents and his faith as catalysts for his philanthropic efforts.  (J Greene - Arizona Diamondbacks)

  • 2020 Season: Statistically speaking, Slick Nick probably lost a step defensively in 2020. However, the 2020 season is one of oddness and small sample sizes. While there is no denying that Ahmed’s defense in the early going did not pass the eye test of being elite, his defense improved as the season wore on. By the end of the season, he was once again making the sorts of plays he was known for.

    Whether his improvement later in the season is merely a product of sequencing, or it is a product of getting a slow start thanks to the aborted offseason, it is difficult to tell. Ahmed’s age would suggest he is due to lose a step, but his tireless work ethic gives reason to believe he might still have a couple of impressive defensive seasons in the tank.

    At the plate, Ahmed has become a respectable hitting shortstop. In 2020, he marginally improved again to a 94 OPS+. 

     On the whole, Ahmed provided 1.6 bWAR/1.2 fWAR to the Diamondbacks in 2020. That rate of output left him only a bit off the pace from his previous two seasons. With a full season of games and a proper spring training unmarred by stoppages and pandemic concerns, it is not a stretch to imagine he could have managed another season in excess of 3.5 WAR. In a season marked by under-performance almost across the board for the Diamondbacks, Ahmed stood out as one of the exceptions. (James Attwood@JamesDAttwood - Dec 27, 2020)

  • 2021 Season: After making noticeable, steady gains at the plate from 2016-2020, Ahmed’s bat fell off a cliff in 2021, dropping from a career high OPS+ of 97 in 2020, all the way down to 67 in 2021. Funnily, despite Ahmed’s dismal showing at the plate, offense league-wide was so far down in 2021, that Ahmed still managed to post positive offensive value. That came courtesy of his base running and positional adjustment. When it came to wins above average, Ahmed limped to a final tally of -0.9 WAA. About that base running though, here are a couple highlights of Ahmed using his speed to make things happen, even if one of them took a little help from Jarred Kelenic.

     Unfortunately, Ahmed’s bat is not the only thing that took a step back in 2021. Ahmed’s previously stellar, highlight reel defense also lost some of its luster. That isn’t to say, that Ahmed was anything less than a fine defender. He simply no longer was quite to leather wizard that the world had come to know for the previous decade.

    Ahmed’s four defensive runs saved in 1,028 innings for 2021 was the same number as he posted in only 484 innings in 2020, and not even in the same galaxy as the 28 he saved in 2018.

    Still, despite appearing to have lost a half-step of range, Ahmed managed a fairly impressive highlight reel for 2021. Enjoy this show from an “aging shortstop who just might be on his last leg”. Arizona is so spoiled by this man’s glovework. Most baseball fans don’t get to watch this sort of thing day-in and day-out. A ho-hum play by this man, even if he isn’t quite the defender he once was, is still a play that 90% of most shortstops don’t make. Here’s a bit of defense porn.

     Sadly, Ahmed’s season was (once again) cut short by a late-season injury. Given the state of the 2021 Diamondbacks, it might have been for the best for Geraldo Perdomo to get those final games at shortstop in 2021. Nick is not part of the next window of contention for this team. The young players getting some reps in a lost season likely serves this team better than another handful of defensive highlights in a 110-loss season.  (James Attwood@JamesDAttwood - Dec 19, 2021)

  •  

    2022 Season: Ahmed, a two-time Gold Glove winner, played in only 17 games.



    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2011: The Braves chose Ahmed in the second round, and he signed for a bonus of $417,600. Kevin Barry is the scout who signed Nick.

  • January 24, 2013: The Diamondbacks traded OF Justin Upton and 3B Chris Johnson to Atlanta; acquiring INF Martin Prado, RHP Randy Delgado, RHP Zeke Spruill, Ahmed, and INF-OF Brandon Drury.

  • Jan 12, 2018: Nick and the D-backs avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal.

  • Jan 11, 2019: Nick and the D-backs avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal.

  • Feb 10, 2020: Nick and the D-backs signed a contract extension. The four-year deal, which runs through 2023, calls for $32.5 million in guaranteed money, along with performance bonuses.

    Ahmed will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus and a salary of $6 million in 2020, $7.5 million in 2021 and 2022, and $10 million in 2023. Ahmed was set to hit free agency following the 2020 season.

Batting
  • Ahmed has impressive selectivity at the plate and makes good contact, but doesn't hit with much power, mostly just singles.

    He makes very good contact. He should hit enough to play in The Show. He drives the ball with his hips and has good contact for lots of line drives. He made some needed adjustments in 2014.

    "He changed his hand position, lowered his hands and created a better path to the zone,” Reno manager Phil Nevin said. “That created more power. Everybody talks about hitting in Reno, but he hit one (of his four home runs) in Fresno. He’s hit a lot of doubles, had a lot of big hits. He’s an everyday big league shortstop.” Yep, his defense is good, but his bat possibly keeping him out of the everyday lineup. If his hitting develops, watch out. (Spring 2016) 

  • Nick has improved his bat control and the way his hands work to the ball. He has good strike-zone awareness and will work the count. He manages the strike zone well.

    Ahmed looks for a pitch from the middle in, and he can hammer it.

  • Ahmed draws walks but may not hit much more than .260 and with below-average power.

    He does most things on a baseball field well. He is an excellent bunter.

  • In 2014, Nick improved offensively.

    "A lot of it is comfortability, trusting in my plan and preparation," Ahmed said. "Those are two big things. I'm comfortable with what I'm doing.

    "I've worked really hard with my hitting coach, Greg Gross. He's made some really good suggestions that have helped me out a lot. Just kind of small things that have turned big results. Just going up to the plate with a clear mind, being aggressive up there, and letting the rest take care of itself."

  • In 2018, the same year he won his first Gold Glove, Ahmed hit 16 homers. So he's putting it together.

Fielding
  • Nick can flash some very good leather at shortstop. But there is nothing fluid about his actions at short. He has above-average range to both sides and makes every play. It is just that he can look a bit awkward doing it.

    Ahmed is strong fundamentally on defense. He gets a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. That's because his glove is a game-changer. His strong arm gets a 60.

  • Ahmed makes all the routine plays at shortstop because he positions himself well to get good hops. His range and arm grade as at least average, his feet are quick and so is his release. And his throws are accurate. His actions are far from classic. But he positions himself well to make all the plays. He has quick feet and is able to read hops better than most middle infielders. He gets to balls that most shortstops don't get to. So he also might accumulate a few more errors than the average shortstop.

  • His arm is strong and he has a quick release that generated 92-94 mph heat when he was a relief pitcher during his sophomore season at Connecticut. Nick was teammates on the UConn baseball team with Mike Olt (2009-2010) and George Springer (2009-2011).

  • In 2013, Ahmed won the Gold Glove for minor league shortstops. Nick committed just 13 errors and posted a .980 fielding percentage.

  • During the 2014 season, Nick and Didi Gregorius alternated between second base and shortstop for the Diamondbacks. "It's been fun," Ahmed said. "Early on, we were going back and forth, basically rotating every series. It was good to get some experience at second base and learn the position, get comfortable over there."

  • In 2015, Diamondbacks' manager Chip Hale has referred to Ahmed as "the best defensive shortstop in the National League." And it was said that he "may be the best defensive shortstop I've ever seen" by former FM Kevin Towers. With comparisons to Omar Vizquel and Walt Weiss, defensive miscues are the exception. "If Nick Ahmed made an error, you assumed he had the flu," first baseman Mark Grace said.

  • 2018: “I put my hand in his glove one day, and his glove is a really small glove," Torey Lovullo told the Arizona Republic. But he plays like it’s 14 inches long. When a fielder does that, you know he’s doing a lot right.”  
  • The 2018 Baseball America Best Tools Survey of managers, scouts, and executives rated Ahmed as the second-best Defensive Shortstop in the NL, behind only Brandon Crawford.

  • The 2019 Baseball America Best Tools survey of managers, coaches, scouts and execs, ranked Ahmed as the Best Defensive Shortstop in the NL.


    GOLD GLOVER

  • In 2018, Ahmed won his first Gold Glove. He tied with Andrelton Simmons for most defensive runs saved among Major League shortstops, at 21.

  • In 2019, SS Nick Ahmed of the Diamondbacks won his second Gold Glove.

  • In 2019, Ahmed won the Fielding Bible Award. Nick's efforts were enough to end Andrelton Simmons' six-year Fielding Bible Award winning streak. Ahmed had 18 Defensive Runs Saved to lead a premium position.

  • May 2020: There’s a reason his nickname is “Slick Nick.” Nick makes the routine plays look easy, and he makes the hard ones look routine.

    “Nick’s value to our team and pitching staff is huge,” D-backs pitcher Robbie Ray said. “Just knowing you have the most sure-handed guy in the league out there at shortstop giving everything he has on every play is the best feeling as a pitcher.”  –Steve Gilbert

Running
  • Nick is a solid-average, or better, runner. He builds his game around his speed and takes advantage of it at every opportunity.

    "God blessed me with the ability to run, and I work at it," Ahmed said.

  • Ahmed picks up pitchers' moves and their timing to the plate and takes advantage of what he learns. So he steals a few bases.
  • He has impressive first-step quickness to get good jumps.
Career Injury Report
  • April 25–late May 2011: Ahmed suffered a collapsed lung in a collision at first base. But the injury was not a long-term concern and the gritty shortstop bounced back in less than a month.

    "It was kind of a freak injury,” Nick said. “I hit a ball and ended up colliding with the first baseman. I went down and thought that I had knocked the wind out of myself."

    An X-ray found that Ahmed’s lung had collapsed and 80 percent deflated. As if the diagnosis weren’t bad enough, the original procedure to re-inflate Ahmed’s lung was carried out incorrectly, so he had to be transferred to another hospital for a second procedure. When all was said and done, Ahmed had spent 15 days in two different hospitals. He returned to the field within two weeks of his release from the hospital and played in Connecticut’s opening-round game of the Big East Conference tournament on May 25, 2011.

  • July 23-end of 2016 season: Arizona placed Ahmed on the DL with a right hip impingement.

    August 9, 2016: Nick received confirmation that the initial diagnosis of an impingement was correct.  Ahmed visited with Dr. Bryan Kelly, who works with the NHL's New York Rangers.  

    August 22, 2016: Ahmed had season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right hip.

  • June 23-end of 2017 season: Ahmed was on the 60-day DL with a fractured right hand.

    September 5, 2017: The Diamondbacks and Ahmed were holding out hope his broken right wrist would heal quickly enough for him to return for the postseason. But those hopes have been dashed with news that Ahmed would undergo surgery.

  • March 7, 2021: Ahmed was scratched from the starting lineup due to right knee soreness.

    "It's going to be day to day," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I just figured this point in Spring Training, let him get ahead of that. And I'll just keep you guys posted on his progress over the coming days, but nothing that we're overly concerned about at this point."

    April 2-April 10, 2021: Ahmed was on the IL.  Ahmed's right knee is taking longer to heal than he expected, but the D-backs shortstop is still confident that he will not need to be placed on the injured list. Ahmed battled patella tendinitis for much of Spring Training, and he received a platelet rich plasma injection, along with another gel injection. At the time, he hoped that would be enough to have him ready to start the April 1, 2021 season opener. That turned out not to be the case, and Ahmed was again out of the lineup against the Padres.

    RIGHT SHOULDER ISSUES IN 2020 AND 2021 AND 2022

  • Sept 26-Oct 5, 2021: Nick was on the IL with right shoulder inflammation. Ahmed had hoped to avoid an injured list stint, but the shoulder, which had bothered him on and off since 2020 Summer Camp, was not responding to treatment. Ahmed said recently that he did not think surgery would be necessary, but instead an injection of platelet rich plasma or cortisone would be in order.

  • March 30, 2022: Ahmed got a second opinion on his right shoulder and received a pair of cortisone injections, which will keep him from baseball activities for 10 days. He has been dealing with soreness in his right shoulder, the same injury that hampered him throughout the 2021 season and caused him to miss the final two weeks. A platelet-rich plasma injection as well as a cortisone injection in the offseason did not alleviate Ahmed's symptoms.

    April 7-22, 2022: Nick was on the IL with right shoulder inflammation.

    April 15, 2022: He has been dealing with soreness in his right shoulder, the same injury that hampered him throughout the 2021 season and caused him to miss the final two weeks. A platelet-rich plasma injection as well as a cortisone injection in the offseason did not alleviate Ahmed's symptoms.

    April 22, 2022: Saying his right shoulder felt better than it has in two years, Ahmed was reinstated from the injured list and was in the starting lineup against the Mets. Ahmed has been bothered off and on by discomfort in his right shoulder since Summer Camp in 2020.  

  • May 16, 2022: Nick went on the IL.

    June 3, 2022: Ahmed was shut down with right shoulder soreness. Ahmed had been rehabbing from COVID-19 in extended Spring Training game action, but his throwing workload became “too much for him to be able to handle” per manager Torey Lovullo. While there is no official timeline for his recovery yet, the initial diagnosis gives little hope for a quick rehab.

    June 15-Nov 10, 2022: Ahmed had season-ending surgery. Dr. Neil ElAttrache performed the surgery, which cleaned up some soft tissue as well as bone spurs in the shoulder.