Dynasty Shortstops: Top MLB Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

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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 15 shortstops - dynasty prospect rankings for 2017 dynasty baseball leagues.

There are only three positions in baseball that warrant an extended list. Outfield and pitcher should be obvious because there will always be three outfielders per team and at least five starting pitchers per team (including a ton of relievers). But shortstop is an incredibly deep position and continues to be littered with names that could shape dynasty rosters for years to come.

Be prepared, however. Not every player on this list is going to be a shortstop forever. There are a few likely headed for second base, some possibly moving to the outfield and a handful might even be destined for third base. Though position changes may be coming, I have taken that into account and the names of players listed on here are players who should be stud fantasy producers wherever they play.

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Top 15 Shortstop Prospects for 2017 Dynasty Baseball Leagues

1. Brendan Rodgers (COL, A)
Stats: 491 PA, .281/.342/.480, 19 HR, 6 SB, 17.1% BB rate, 20.0% K rate
ETA: Late 2018
We were all treated to watch Trevor Story completely annihilate MLB pitching in just his first time around the majors. Now imagine how well someone like Rodgers, a guy with better plate discipline and arguably more power, will do against big-league pitchers. As a 19-year-old, he crushed Class-A pitching and even though it was in a hitter-friendly environment, his numbers still reflect a talented player. Giving the Coors Field bump to an already potent force at the plate should help Rodgers establish himself as a perennial All-Star and the next franchise shortstop for the Rockies.

2. Gleyber Torres (NYY, A+)
Stats: 581 PA, .268/.349/.413, 11 HR, 22 SB, 10.2% BB rate, 20.5% K rate
ETA: Early 2018
Just as soon as the Cubs dealt Torres away to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal, Torres began to be viewed as a future franchise shortstop and consensus top-five prospect. Especially when Torres went to the Arizona Fall League and put on absolute show, scouts really started to look at him as a true stud shortstop. They saw a smooth, consistent swing that generates easy line-drive power with the ability to spray the ball to all fields.

And while the home run power has not come in bunches just yet, scouts believe Torres will eventually find 20-homer pop. He is also not the fleetest of foot and his 22 stolen bases are a tad deceiving as he was thrown out 13 times, but he should still be quick enough to steal a fair share of bags. Fantasy owners are looking at a future .300 hitter with 20/15 potential, certainly productive for a future shortstop.

3. Dansby Swanson (ATL, MLB)
Stats: 145 PA, .302/.361/.442, 3 HR, 3 SB, 9.0% BB rate, 23.4% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
Looking for a shortstop with decent upside, but don’t want to take a big risk or wait forever for your guy to debut? Then Swanson is your guy. The former Vanderbilt standout shortstop is going to be the Braves’ starting shortstop in 2017 and comes with little future risk. He is an advanced hitter, with patience that compliments his line-drive, contact-first approach well.

He is neither a premier power hitter nor is he a real burner, but rather he will provide owners with a solid batting average and just a little bit of everything. In his prime, Swanson should be counted on to hit nearly .300 on an annual basis with the possibility of posting up a few 20/20 seasons (though 15/20 is far more likely). He should be an enticing fantasy option, particularly in dynasty leagues where owners can afford to wait on him to establish himself in the majors.

4. Amed Rosario (NYM, AA)
Stats: 237 PA, .341/.392/.481, 2 HR, 6 SB, 8.0% BB rate, 21.5% K rate
ETA: Late 2017/Early 2018
A season ago, Rosario looked like a boring, defensive-first .260-type shortstop who would probably not have much of a fantasy impact. But coming off his strongest professional season, Rosario now appears to be a steady presence for the Mets at the top of their lineup for years to come with the chance to have a serious impact on dynasty owners.

Scouts see some power eventually developing for him, but right now he is just a guy with a good chance to bat .300 and steal 20-25 bags per season. He could eventually develop double-digit pop, but right now owners should remain plenty satisfied with the top-of-the-order presence, batting average and steals.

5. Willy Adames (TB, AA)
Stats: 568 PA, .274/.372/.430, 11 HR, 13 SB, 13.0% BB rate, 21.3% K rate
ETA: Late 2017/Early 2018
Adames, much like Rosario, built up most of his prospect stock after this past season where he dominated Double-A pitching. He dropped his strikeout rate 5.7 percent from the past season, increased his walk rate by 1.2 percent and increased both his career-high home run and stolen base totals by three.

Adames now appears to be a potential 15/15 threat, or at best a 20/20 threat in the big leagues. He has some improvements still to make, but he is on the right course to eventually becoming a very productive fantasy shortstop.

6. 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: Mid-2017/Late 2017
Someone with those numbers should definitely be higher up on this list, but just here me out for a second. Barreto can really hit and looks to have a major impact on fantasy rosters somewhere down the road. The only problem is his defense at short will probably force him either to second base or the outfield, two positions that are loaded with great hitters.

Nonetheless, Barreto has one of the most promising power/speed combinations in the minors and could be a future 15/25 hitter in the majors with the upside to post 20/30 seasons. His value could vary based on where he plays, but his fantasy upside will prove to have at least some value no matter where he plays.

7. Jorge Mateo (NYY, A+)
Stats: 507 PA, .254/.308/.379, 8 HR, 36 SB, 6.5% BB rate, 21.3% K rate
ETA: Late 2018/Early 2019
Mateo falls right into the same boat as Barreto where his numbers warrant a higher spot, but the position uncertainty puts his value in question. Mateo is the fastest player on this list, and quite possibly in all of Minor League Baseball. In 2015, he stole 82 bases in 117 games and has always demonstrated an ability to reach base better than a lot of other slap-hitting speedsters (though he still needs to improve his discipline).

But with Torres the likely franchise shortstop and a plethora of options at second base, Mateo could be headed to center field where his speed does not play quite as well given the depth of speedy outfielders. Mateo is still a guy worth owning, however, because as we’ve seen with Billy Hamilton, speed can help out fantasy owners regardless of position or batting average.

8. J.P. Crawford (PHI, AAA)
Stats: 385 PA, .244/.328/.318, 4 HR, 7 SB, 10.9% BB rate, 15.3% K rate
ETA: Late 2017/Early 2018
Crawford is generally loved by scouts and only moderately liked by fantasy owners. Though he may be the most disciplined prospect on this list, he lacks both explosive power and game-changing speed. He is still just a defensive-first prospect with a solid batting average. But Crawford’s discipline makes him a low-risk buy, and his frame could eventually lead to more power. Scouts believe he could eventually become a .300/10/20 hitter in the majors, which should be enough to encourage fantasy owners to buy in on him.

9. Kevin Maitan (ATL, NA)
Stats: NA
ETA: 2020
There are no numbers to work with when examining Maitan. Only the eyes of the scouts. But those scouts sure do see a ton of talent. Maitan has received a ton of lofty comparisons from all scouts who have seen him play, most frequently being compared to Chipper Jones.

Scouts see a future middle-of-the-order bat with the potential to be a .300/30/10 hitter potentially playing shortstop. Some see the hot corner as his future home, but if his bat is as good as the scouts claim it is, the position won’t matter. Maitan is risky since he has yet to play in a single MiLB game, but the upside here is tremendous and owners should absolutely take the chance on him if he is available.

10. Richard Urena (TOR, AA)
Stats: 132 PA, .266/.282/.395, 0 HR, 0 SB, 3.0% BB rate, 14.4% K rate
ETA: Late 2017/Early 2018
Most of the guys on this list are coming off particularly strong seasons in the minors. Not Urena. The Blue Jays’ shortstop put together an outstanding 2015 season with 16 home runs and eight stolen bases, and things were only looking up for him as he got off to a hot start at Class-A Advanced to begin the 2016 season. But he faltered at Double-A and was unable to replicate the same success he had previously found at other levels.

Urena is talented enough, however, that he deserves a second chance. Scouts love his power/speed potential and could foresee him becoming a 15/15 shortstop in the majors. He will need to start to show more success in 2017 if he wants to keep that upside and maintain value, but this could be a solid time for dynasty owners to buy low and get a guy with decent upside.

11. Delvin Perez (STL, ROK)
Stats: 180 PA, .294/.352/.393, 0 HR, 12 SB, 6.7% BB rate, 15.6% K rate
ETA: 2020
Like many of the guys on this list, Perez is right now more valuable for his upside than what he has done so far. He was only just drafted last season and is still only 18 years old (and will be for all of 2017). But scouts see a player with speed, a good eye at the plate and potentially some raw power in the 6-foot-3 frame as he starts to bulk up. Perez is also sure-handed defensively and a position change is likely not in the cards for him.

Right now, he is probably a .290 hitter with 30 stolen bases, but with time, he could turn that into a .300 hitter with 10-15 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Dynasty owners will just have to wait a little while before they can claim their prize.

12. Kevin Newman (PIT, AA)
Stats: 268 PA, .288/.361/.378, 2 HR, 6 SB, 9.7% BB rate, 9.0% K rate
ETA: Late 2017/Early 2018
Newman is a solid, albeit boring shortstop prospect. You know you’re going to get a .280+ batting average and he will steal 10-15 bases per season with five home runs. Those numbers aren’t inspiring, but he has a high floor and should be in the majors soon. Dynasty owners shouldn’t break the bank for him, but he is a decent depth player to own.

13. Nick Gordon (MIN, A+)
Stats: 493 PA, .291/.335/.385, 3 HR, 19 SB, 4.7% BB rate, 17.6% K rate
ETA: Early 2018
Gordon is basically the same player as Newman, but with more speed and strikeouts. His discipline is not quite as solid and thus his average could be in a bit more danger than Newman at the big-league level, but he is going to be a 20-stolen base threat in Minnesota. Like Newman, he is best utilized as depth, but he could be a potential solid starting shortstop if he can hit .290 in the majors given his speed.

14. Ryan Mountcastle (BAL, A)
Stats: 489 PA, .281/.319/.426, 10 HR, 5 SB, 5.1% BB rate, 19.4% K rate
ETA: 2019
To round out this list, we’ve got two more high risk/high reward shortstops. Starting things off is 20-year-old Ryan Mountcastle who is coming off a strong season at Class-A. He has a potentially explosive bat with plenty of raw power, while proving he is not just a pull hitter, but can spray the ball around the field. His two issues right now are defense and plate discipline, both of which could hold him back. If he shifts to the outfield or first base, his value could really go down. But if he stays at shortstop, he could be one of the biggest sleeper shortstops in the game.

15. Carter Kieboom (WAS, ROK)
Stats: 155 PA, .244/.323/.452, 4 HR, 1 SB, 7.7% BB rate, 27.7% K rate
ETA: 2020
Staying in the mid-Atlantic area, the Nationals have a young, projectable shortstop of their own. Kieboom was taken 28th overall in 2016 and though he struggled to get things going after being drafted, scouts still see a potent bat that could be a consistent producer of batting average. He still has a ways to go with proving his power is more than raw potential and he will need to shore up his defensive ability, but he is another guy on this list with a high ceiling who could payoff in the end if all goes his way.

 

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