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Dynasty Shortstops - Top MLB Prospects for Fantasy Baseball


Welcome back, RotoBallers. I'll be breaking down impact prospects in dynasty leagues by position over the next several weeks. I’ve already covered catchers, first basemen, second basemen and third basemen. Today I'm bringing you my top 10 shortstops - dynasty prospect rankings for 2018 dynasty baseball leagues.

Though there are still plenty of players who could be facing positional changes at some point down the road, there are many more players who seem likely to stick at the position and provide value to owners for years to come. If you are able to get your hands on one of these shortstop prospects, your team could be in a good position for years to come.

So without any further ado, here is the dynasty positional prospect rankings for shortstops.

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Top Shortstop Prospects for 2018 Dynasty Baseball Leagues

1. Brendan Rodgers (COL, AA)
Stats: 184 PA, .260/.333/.413, 6 HR, 0 SB, 4.9% BB%, 22.0% K%
ETA: 2018
There are plenty of batters who can hit well. A lot of them can’t play defense and might have to shift off more fantasy-friendly positions. But Rodgers hits well and defends well enough to stick at either shortstop or second base moving forward. His glove is solid and his arm grades out as plus, which should keep him at shortstop moving forward. It’s his bat, however, that draws the most rave reviews. He is not the most patient hitter, but he does not swing and miss too much either. Though he did run into some issues at Double-A with strikeouts, he seemed to adjust the more time he spent there. He makes plenty of contact to make up for his lack of patience as well, and most of it is hard contact. Scouts believe he can be a guy who hits for a decent average, possibly even a .300-plus average if he can keep the strikeouts low enough. He has shown tremendous power and should be a 20-plus home run hitter even outside of his incredibly hitter-friendly ballpark. Throw in Coors Field, and that could be 30-plus home runs.

Put Trevor Story in any other ballpark, and his value likely goes down significantly. But because he is a slugger who plays in Coors Field, he has value for owners. Rodgers is a far superior hitter to Story, both in terms of hit tool and at least is comparable if not better in power. What makes Rodgers so enticing is the Coors effect and the fact that he is already a talented batsman without the help of the home ballpark. He is a top-two shortstop prospect without Colorado. But throw in the home-field advantage and you’ve got a potentially elite fantasy performer as early as later this season.

2. Gleyber Torres (NYY, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 139 PA, .273/.367/.496, 5 HR, 5 SB, 12.2% BB%, 15.1% K%
ETA: 2018
If Rodgers is not playing in Coors Field, Torres is the top shortstop prospect for dynasty owners. He is a much better defender, and his bat is one of the most advanced in the minors, let alone just shortstops. Scouts see him as an easy .300-plus hitter given his discipline, pitch-recognition and all the hard contact he makes. He consistently drives the ball, and as he has continued to grow and mature, he has started to develop more home run power. The biggest concern is that there is no telling how he will recover from the Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm, and he might have to move off the position because of Didi Gregorious. The trade of Starlin Castro likely increases the odds Torres can at least avoid third base where his bat does not profile quite as well as it might up the middle. Even if he does end up at the hot corner, he should still hit more than enough to be valuable. There are concerns, but the reward for Torres is one of the best up-and-coming hitters in all of baseball.

3. Jorge Mateo (OAK, AA)
Stats: 287 PA, .296/.357/.521, 8 HR, 24 SB, 8.4% BB%, 22.6% K%
ETA: 2019
Every hitter previously listed has been more of a power hitter than a speedster. Mateo is not that way. He is one of the few pure 80-grade runners in the minors and has stolen at least 30 bases in each of his full professional seasons. But what has made him all the more enticing as of late has been his power. He hit eight home runs in 113 games last season, and topped that with 12 in 129 games in 2017. The strikeouts have persisted, but he continues to walk more than the average speedster. He has everything that it takes to stick at shortstop, but with Franklin Barreto and Marcus Semien — albeit two inferior defenders to Mateo — in front of him on the depth chart, it could be a challenge. But his speed plays anywhere. And if he even adds double-digit home run power, he could be an exceptional dynasty asset.

4. Bo Bichette (TOR, A+)
Stats: 182 PA, .323/.379/.463, 4 HR, 10 SB, 7.7% BB%, 14.3% K%
ETA: 2019
No one on this list had a better 2017 season than Bo Bichette. Many would say that he only hit well at Class-A and Advanced Class-A rather than a higher level, but he was also only 19 years old for the entire season. In 70 games at Class-A, he slashed .384/.448/.623 with 10 homers and 12 stolen bases while striking out less than 20 percent. More than anything, Bichette demonstrated one of the brightest hit tools in the minors at a young age, while also flashing some budding power that could become 20-plus homer power in the future. The speed is expected to decline as he develops, but for now, it might not be enough to push him off of shortstop. If he can’t stick at shortstop, he will likely shift over to second base, another position that will help him stand out as a fantasy performer. He has to prove that his 2017 season was legit and that he can carry over the offensive success to higher levels, but there is no reason to start doubting Bichette now.

5. Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD, AA)
Stats: (from A) 518 PA, .281/.390/.520, 21 HR, 29 SB, 14.5% BB%, 23.9% K%
ETA: 2019
Bichette’s scouting reports from the past season might have been more impressive than Tatis’ in 2017, but Tatis put up arguably more impressive numbers at a younger age. Bichette might have only been 19, but Tatis was only 18 and finished the season at a higher level. He had a 20/20 season at Class-A before skipping Advanced Class-A for 14 games at Double-A. And while he still struggled at Double-A (.255/.281/.327 slash line), the tools stood out to scouts. His profile is nearly identical to Manny Machado, and that is probably his ceiling. Like Machado, he is not fast, but defends well enough to stick at shortstop and could become a potent bat at the position. As with Machado, there is a concern that he might have to move over to third base because of his size. But that is not an avenue the San Diego Padres have considered just yet. His power is legit, and evaluators believe he could be a 25-plus home run hitter down the road. His hit tool has some work left to be done, particularly as far as patience and pitch-recognition are concerned, but he is still so young and has plenty of time to become more disciplined. Given time, Tatis could develop into one of the best power-hitting shortstops in baseball.

6. Willy Adames (TB, AAA)
Stats: 578 PA, .277/.360/.415, 10 HR, 11 SB, 11.2% BB%, 22.8% K%
ETA: 2018
There isn’t any one standout tool for Adames. Mateo has his speed, Tatis has his power, Torres has his hit tool. Adames doesn’t do any one thing excellent. What he does, however, is everything above-average. He is a sound defender at shortstop and someone who should be able to hit for a .280-.300 batting average in the future with the chance for a little higher if he cuts down on the strikeouts. The power is solid, flashing the potential to post 15-20 home runs any given season. He also has remained quite fast on the basepaths, demonstrating the chance to match his home run and stolen base totals and post 15/15 or 20/20 seasons in the future. He is far from the most exciting prospect out there, but he should be able to provide a little bit of everything for fantasy owners while remaining at shortstop longterm.

7. Carter Kieboom (WAS, A)
Stats: 210 PA, .296/.400/.497, 8 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 19.0% K%
ETA: 2020
As his name would seem to suggest, Kieboom has a ton of potential in his bat to be an exceptional player. Scouts love the bat speed shown by Kieboom and believe it will not only result in him hitting for a high average, but also posting impressive power stats. Though he has not posted jaw-dropping power numbers yet, scouts expect that to start to change as he grows into his 6-foot-2 frame. He is a patient hitter at the plate as well, which should help him move through the minors faster and post higher on-base percentages as he climbs the ladder. His speed is not going to blow anyone away, but he should be good for 5-10 stolen bases annually. As with several of the players on this list, Kieboom will take a few years to develop. But the finished product could be a plus-plus hitter capable of being one of the standouts at his position.

8. Kevin Maitan (LAA, ROK)
Stats: 139 PA, .220/.273/.323, 2 HR, 1 SB, 6.5% BB%, 28.1% K%
ETA: 2021
The upside and projection in Maitan is exciting. He has drawn comparisons to Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones for jaw-dropping tools from both sides of the plate. But unfortunately for fantasy owners, Maitan is all projection at this point. He struggled through most of his time in the Rookie League. Scouts who believe in him see a plus-plus hitter with 30-plus home run potential and limited speed, and a young 17-year-old who is still trying to get adjusted to professional baseball. Though no one is giving up on him just yet by any means, some are starting to wonder at least if the hype might have been slightly overblown. Since released from the Atlanta Braves and signed with the Los Angeles Angels, Maitan is the clear star in a still weak farm system. They will likely be patient with him and try to get the most out of him in the end. Fantasy owners should be equally patient with the toolsy shortstop.

9. J.P. Crawford (PHI, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 556 PA, .243/.351/.405, 15 HR, 5 SB, 14.2% BB%, 17.4% K%
ETA: 2018
The only player on this list to have reached the majors, Crawford is also arguably the one with the highest floor. His borderline elite plate discipline ensures he keeps the strikeouts down and the walks at a very high rate. He also makes plenty of contact to ensure he does not swing and miss at pitches in the zone. The problem for Crawford more than anything else has been that he has not seemed to produce the power many expected, and his speed has not shown up on the basepaths. He hit a career-high 15 home runs in 2017, but his batting average also took a bit of a hit. Crawford just needs to find the middle ground between over-the-fence power and making enough hard contact to hit for a respectable average. And while he is quick, it shows up more in the field — where he is an exceptional defender and future Gold Glover — than on the bases. He was once seen as a future 20/20 hitter. Now fantasy owners would probably be overjoyed if he could put together a 15/10 season. His high ceiling and guarantee he will stay at short help keep him as a valuable asset to fantasy owners, but there’s no doubt his star has diminished over the past couple seasons.

10. Nick Gordon (MIN, AA)
Stats: 578 PA, .270/.341/.408, 9 HR, 13 SB, 9.2% BB%, 23.2% K%
ETA: 2018
Gordon is another prospect like Adames who does everything well, but nothing great. His hit tool and glove are his top two attributes. He should be able to stick at shortstop and could come close to hitting .300 every season. But as far as power and speed go, his upside is a bit capped. He is nowhere near as fast as his brother — Dee Gordon — and will probably only top out at 10-15 home runs per season. Fantasy owners are not exactly going to be jumping at the chance to get a player with Gordon’s profile, but he is a solid shortstop to have who should provide above-average production and stability at the position for many years.

 

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