A decade ago, you had three choices at shortstop for your fantasy baseball team – Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez or some slick-fielding, no-hitting guy who was just filling out your roster. Today, we find ourselves with a ton of elite, young talent at short, including Elvis Andrus, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Didi Gregorious, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Cory Seager, Jean Segura, Trevor Story, Trea Turner…. You get the idea.
How deep your league is and whether you also have to fill a middle infield position will impact how good of a chance you have to land one of the stud shortstops. In my 20-team dynasty league, the run on elite shortstops started early and I found myself on the outside looking in. I decided to look to the prospects to fill the position long term, and use a stopgap for the short term. These are the top fantasy baseball dynasty prospects to consider when looking for a shortstop of the future.
This guy is a future stud. There is not much more to say other than grab him if he is somehow still on your waiver wire. The only drawbacks about him are that he’s still a year away from playing in the San Diego Padres lineup, and there is a chance he will grow out of shortstop, but his bat will still be huge as a third baseman. His dad was good, but Junior will be much better. ETA: 2019
Toronto Blue Jays prospect Bichette is the son of Dante Bichette and like Fernando Tatis Jr., he will easily eclipse his father’s feats. Bo’s swing is very long but it is also very fast. Second base may end up being his position of the future, but the bat plays anywhere. He’s got 30 home run power and will get you double digit steals. Look for Bichette to debut next summer. ETA: 2019
Torres would have been up last summer if not for an elbow injury and the Tommy John surgery that followed. New York Yankees called up Torres on Sunday and he will mostly handle second base duties. He has a good hit tool and is solid all around, but he isn’t exceptional in any category. He swings and misses too much, which keeps him from joining Tatis and Bichette in the top tier. ETA: now
I’m not as high on Rodgers as others unless he can improve his approach at the plate. The Colorado Rockies prospect is too anxious and needs to take more walks. He also swings and misses too much, which will keep him from becoming elite, but the power is unquestionable. ETA: 2018
Adames is good all around, but doesn’t have enough of anything to become a superstar. He is Torres-lite in his game, but has a little better contact rate. Adames will be a better real life shortstop than a fantasy player due to his elite defensive skills. Already in triple-A, and given the state of the Tampa Bay Rays, we should get a look at Adames in the Majors this season. ETA: 2018
Mountcastle can fill out the stat sheet with a lot of power and a little speed. His plate discipline must improve or he will be exposed in The Show. He will likely grow out of the position and is destined for a corner, which could be in the infield or outfield. ETA: 2019
Mateo is a decent contact hitter with a little pop and a lot of speed. He seems to be headed to the outfield and will likely be a leadoff hitter for the Oakland Athletics. He will need to improve his approach at the plate to become elite. ETA: 2018
The power/speed combo is there for Barreto, but so is the swing and miss. He is probably going to be a utility player since he doesn’t have good hands or footwork to be a full time shortstop and he will struggle to make consistent contact, but his bat will play most anywhere. ETA: 2018
Gordon is the son of Tom “Flash” Gordon and has good all-around offensive skills as a line drive hitter. He is likely destined for second base due to the lack of range and since Royce Lewis is the better defender. He doesn’t have the speed of his brother, Dee Gordon, but he will still get you double digit steals each year. ETA: 2019
Too Far Away
Lewis has a big time bat and a strong defensive skillset. The plus speed will make him an asset to go along with double digit home run power. ETA: 2020
Maitan was caught up in the Atlanta Braves violations on the bonus rules signing international prospects, and the Los Angeles Angels signed Maitan in early December. The bat will deliver a lot of homeruns, but probably as a third baseman. Great bat speed and huge power will make him worth the wait if you have room on you bench to wait until 2021.
Kieboom is a great name for a guy who has major power. He’ll probably grow out of the position and head to the hot corner. He has a few holes in his swing, but the power you get will pay off in the batting average loss you give up. Younger brother of catcher prospect Spencer Kieboom, also of the Nationals, Carter’s anticipated arrival is 2020.
Javier is another Minnesota Twins prospect on this list and maybe the one who will eventually push all the others to other positions. He’s athletic and produces hard contact at the plate, but he won’t be ready for The Show until 2022.
Franco has the tools to be elite, but is too far away to declare him for the top tier. He has the skillset to stay at shortstop and is an excellent hitter from both sides of the plate. At the time of signing last July, Franco was ranked number one on MLBPipeline.com’s Top 30 International Prospects list. He won’t be playing for Tampa Bay’s top team until 2022.
Tip of the Week
Jorge Polanco is in the middle of his 80-day PED suspension and won’t be back until late June. I thought this was going to be his breakout season, but the suspension may push that breakout to next season. He is solid at the least and will reward your patience if you can afford to give up a bench spot waiting for his return.