As teams start to funnel into spring training, it’s time to look at some position rankings for this upcoming season. After discussing 2nd base earlier, it’s time to look at the other middle infield position to rank the top shortstops in the game. There is a huge youth movement at the position in general with the top guys all being 24 or younger. Which 10 guys made the cut?
- Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Seager posted a 6.1 Wins Above Replacement mark in 2016. The 22-year-old phenom looks like a superstar in the making. A year ago as a rookie, Seager slashed his way to a .301 average, .365 on base percentage, and 26 homers. At 6’4″ it’s possible he grows out of the position and moves to 3rd base eventually. As for right now, he is the game’s best shortstop.
2. Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
The X-man posted the 2nd best WAR numbers at the position with a 4.6 offensive WAR. Bogaerts, 24, has cemented himself as a force to wreaked with for a long time. Bogaerts hit .320 in 2015 compared to .294 in 2016 but increased his power input from 7 homers to 21. Heading into 2017, expect Bogaerts to really figure it out as I’ve already been on record as saying Bogaerts could become one of the best of all-time at the position. His production could go a long way to helping the Red Sox repeat as division champs.
3. Carlos Correa (Houston Astros)
Correa, like Bogaerts, was actually better in 2015 despite being only 22. Heading into year 3, expect Correa to compete for the crown as best shortstop in baseball. The former number one overall pick in 2012 hit .274 in 2016 to go with a .361 OBP.
4. Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians)
Lindor’s continuous improvement helped the Indians reach the World Series last year. Lindor, 23, hit .301 in 2016. He doesn’t have the power some of the other guys do at the position but he did steal 19 bags and posted a 2.7 defensive WAR number. His 17 defensive runs saved was good for 4th best at the position.
5. Brandon Crawford (San Francisco Giants)
Crawford might realistically be the best pure defensive shortstop ever. That’s not a joke either. Crawford tied for the lead in defensive runs saved at the position with 19. He also posted a 2.7 defensive War in 2016 and 2.9 mark in 2015. He also rips above average offensive numbers too with a .275 average in 2016.
6. Addison Russell (Chicago Cubs)
It’s hard to believe that the Cubs stole Russell away from the A’s in a trade for Jeff Samardzija. Russell was the hero for the Cubs World Series run proving to be a valuable asset. Russell, 23, also had 19 defensive runs saved in 2016. Although he hit just .238 a year ago, I think we all expect that number to increase along with his power numbers.
7. Dansby Swanson (Atlanta Braves)
Swanson is the Shelby Miller gift that keeps on giving. Why the dysfunctional Diamondbacks decided to trade a number one overall pick from the 2015 MLB Draft is a different story. In just 38 career Major League games, it’s pretty apparent that Swanson will be very special. He hit .301 in 145 plate appearances in 2016 and is pretty much considered a lock to win the NL rookie of the year award this year.
8. Trea Turner (Washington Nationals)
After playing centerfield on a regular basis a year ago, Turner will move to his more comfortable shortstop spot. Turner, in my opinion, is the fastest player in baseball as well who can affect the game even when he’s not hitting. After being called up mid-season playing in 73 games, Turner stole 33 bases and hit .343. This guy is flat out dynamic.
9. Jean Segura (Seattle Mariners)
Segura will be playing for his 3rd team in 3 years. That’s no knock on him however as Segura is a solid middle infielder. After playing 2nd base in Arizona, he will play shortstop for Seattle with Robinson Cano over at second. In a breakout season a year ago, Segura slashed a .318 average and .368 OBP. He also has some good power jacking 20 homers in a deep Arizona ball park.
10. Troy Tulowitzki (Toronto Blue Jays)
Tulo has taken a slight step back in recent years as he heads into age 32. The Blue Jays shortstop has hit .267 over the past two years in Toronto. He is also known for being a top defensive option at the position as well.
Honorable Mention: Andrelton Simmons, Aledmys Diaz, Trevor Story, Didi Gregorious, Freddy Galvis