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2017 Shortstop: Top MLB Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

Welcome back, RotoBallers. I've already looked at the top 10 prospects for each MLB team, and now I'll be breaking down impact prospects by position. Today I'm bringing you my top 10 shortstops - MLB prospect rankings for the 2017 fantasy baseball season.

Over the past two seasons, we have been gifted with some insanely fun shortstop rookies debuting in the big leagues. Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa burst out onto the scene in the second half of 2015 while Addison Russell began to establish himself right from the beginning of the season. Last season, we got to watch dynamic youngsters like Corey Seager and Trea Turner turn in NL ROY and MVP-caliber seasons while Jose Peraza emerged as a talented speedster for the Reds.

This season, there are a couple guys at the top who could reach the big leagues, but no one looks quite as dynamic as the names we have seen in recent years. Dansby Swanson is a solid bat and he will be a franchise shortstop for Atlanta, but he is no Corey Seager or Francisco Lindor. In 2018, when guys like Gleyber Torres (who may see some time at the end of this season) and Brendan Rodgers debut will be a much more exciting season for rookie shortstops. But for now, there are still a couple names fantasy owners should familiarize themselves with so they can have a leg up on opponents in redraft leagues for the 2017 season.

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Top 10 Shortstop Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball

1. Dansby Swanson (ATL, MLB)
Stats: 145 PA, .302/.361/.422, 3 HR, 3 SB, 9.0% BB rate, 23.4% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
This is really quite the no-brainer. Swanson is the clear guy to own here in fantasy leagues. The Vanderbilt product has flown through the minors and has now reached the point in his career where he is ready to take over as the franchise shortstop for the Braves. His best skill from a fantasy perspective is his ability to consistently hit for a high average and his likely placement at the No. 2 spot in the Braves’ lineup this season. He does have a chance to post a 15/15 season as well, making him a very enticing buy for fantasy owners. If you are looking for a rookie shortstop to own, this is your guy.

2. Franklin Barreto (OAK, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 507 PA, .281/.340/.413, 10 HR, 30 SB, 7.1% BB rate, 17.8% K rate
ETA: Early May
Barreto has put up some dazzling numbers throughout his minor-league career. He has twice now posted double-digit home run totals and has twice posted 25+ stolen bases in a season. He not only flashes an outstanding combination of power and speed, but he has also proven to be a consistent hitter, capable of making consistent contact and avoiding the punchout. He will not be pushing Marcus Semien out of shortstop just yet, but he may come up and move Jed Lowrie out of second base as early as this April. My money is on a May debut, but regardless of when he reaches the big leagues, he will be a fun one to watch and a worthy own in fantasy leagues.

3. Amed Rosario (NYM, AA)
Stats: 237 PA, .341/.392/.481, 2 HR, 6 SB, 8.0% BB rate, 21.5% K rate
ETA: Mid-May
Rosario’s name has shot up prospect lists and it’s easy to see why. He has turned himself into one of the most consistent hitters in the minors and still has a big frame that scouts see potentially developing some more power and speed. Evaluators already love his speed, particularly after he totaled 19 stolen bases in 110 games played this season. Rosario looks like the franchise shortstop for the Mets and with the struggles they have endured with finding consistent bats in their lineup lately (and the fact David Wright is almost guaranteed to get injured again), a spot in the infield could very easily open up for Rosario and he could begin to assist both fantasy owners and the Mets alike in the early goings of this 2017 season.

4. Willy Adames (TB, AA)
Stats: 568 PA, .274/.372/.430, 11 HR, 13 SB, 13.0% BB rate, 21.3% K rate
ETA: Early June
Much like Rosario, Adames’ name has started to emerge at the top of prospect lists. He put together the best season of his professional career at the highest level he’s ever reached and finally starts to be putting everything together as he lowered his strikeout rate, increased his walk rate and increased both his power and speed output. The Rays’ middle-infield depth might slow his path down to the majors just a tad, but he should be able to force his way into their lineup if he continues to rake at Triple-A to open up the season.

5. J.P. Crawford (PHI, AAA)
Stats: 385 PA, .244/.328/.318, 4 HR, 7 SB, 10.9% BB rate, 15.3% K rate
ETA: Early June
Frequent readers will know that I am no big fan of J.P. Crawford. I think he has done little to prove that he is going to be a productive fantasy shortstop in the majors outside of demonstrate an advanced, disciplined approach to the plate. And while Crawford appears to have one of the highest floors out there because of that approach, I just do not see him being a stud fantasy shortstop until he develops some more power and starts putting his speed to use on the basepaths. Regardless, this is not an overly deep season for rookie shortstops in baseball and if he does get a chance to debut, his high floor could be valuable to owners looking for at least a consistent batting average.

6. Kevin Newman (PIT, AA)
Stats: 268 PA, .288/.361/.378, 2 HR, 6 SB, 9.7% BB rate, 9.0% K rate
ETA: Early June
Think Diet Dansby Swanson. Newman is basically a step down from the Braves’ shortstop across the board, but he still looks to be a solid big-league regular for the Pirates in the near future. He is a consistent hitter who avoids striking out, commands the strike zone and can steal a base when the opportunity presents itself. He is not likely to hit .310 with 15 homers and 20 stolen bases like Swanson, but Newman could easily hit .280 with 5-10 home runs and steal 10-15 bases. It may not sound great, but like Swanson, he has a high floor which is always valuable for fantasy owners in search of reliable production.

7. Gleyber Torres (NYY, A+)
Stats: 581 PA, .268/.349/.413, 11 HR, 22 SB, 10.2% BB rate, 20.5% K rate
ETA: Mid-August
If you want the shortstop prospect with the highest upside, look no further than Gleyber Torres. The 20-year-old shortstop has demonstrated to scouts that he not only possesses a ton of speed and a disciplined approach, but that he has some untapped power that started to come out last season. Scouts now believe he has the potential to be a 20/20 threat at the big-league level. Now with a full season of Advanced Class-A under his belt, Torres is likely to open the 2017 season with Double-A Trenton and could find himself on the big-league roster by the end of the summer and having a major impact on fantasy teams in the midst of a playoff races.

8. Richard Urena (TOR, AA)
Stats: 132 PA, .266/.282/.395, 0 HR, 0 SB, 3.0% BB rate, 14.4% K rate
ETA: Early August
Urena has had better seasons in the past, and he hit well enough before arriving at Double-A, but for whatever reason he struggled when he arrived at New Hampshire. After blasting eight home runs and swiping nine bags at Class-A Advanced, Urena could not muster either in his 30 games played and also struggled to find consistent hits. But this is a guy who has hit 15 home runs in a season back in 2015 (in only 91 games as a 19-year-old) and who has shown before that he has plenty of offensive upside. Both Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis are prone to injury and should either of them find themselves on the DL for an extended period of time late in the season, Urena could receive the promotion. Fantasy owners will want to keep an eye on him because if either of the middle-infielders are hurt and Urena starts hitting like he did a season ago, he could be a valuable sleeper prospect to own.

9. Nick Gordon (MIN, A+)
Stats: 493 PA, .291/.335/.386, 3 HR, 19 SB, 4.7% BB rate, 17.6% K rate
ETA: Early August
Gordon is not the most dynamic prospect from a fantasy perspective, but he is a shortstop who may get a chance for solid playing time late in the 2017 season. The Twins aren’t exactly loaded with middle-infield depth and a possible trade of Brian Dozier at the deadline could move Jorge Polanco over to second and open up a spot for Gordon who will likely spend most of this season at Double-A. He should prove valuable enough to warrant owning in redraft leagues if owners are in need of some batting average and stolen base help in the playoffs.

10. Mauricio Dubon (MIL, AA)
Stats: 269 PA, .339/.371/.538, 6 HR, 6 SB, 4.1% BB rate, 13.4% K rate
ETA: Early August
Dubon’s Double-A numbers don’t really do him justice as his whole season numbers looked quite a bit better. Between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, Dubon combined for 30 stolen bases and hit well over .300 with only 17 more strikeouts than walks. He is a speedy prospect who could provide owners with a fair amount of steals and a solid average if he is given playing, which is possible given his ability to play multiple positions and solid bat. He could be a solid bat to own for teams in slightly deeper leagues.

 

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