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Top 10 Shortstop Dynasty Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

Anthony Volpe - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Prospects

After discussing my Top 10 catcher, first base, second base, and third base prospects previously, we round out the infield today with my Top 10 shortstop prospects for dynasty leagues

As usual, this position is absolutely loaded. All 10 names below fall inside my Top 50 overall with six inside my top 25 and four inside my top 10 overall. That's not even counting Gunnar Henderson and Noelvi Marte who I discussed at third base and did not include here. This position is already loaded and deep at the Major League level without most of these guys and only stands to become even more potent with many of the below debuting this season.

You can find other positional prospect rankings articles here.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Top 10 Shortstop Dynasty Prospects

10. Masyn Winn, St. Louis Cardinals

Masyn Winn has always been a very intriguing prospect to me. To start, he's a plus or better runner with one of the best infield arms I've ever seen. There's no doubt in my mind that he's going to be a shortstop at the Major League level for a very long time. Winn has also shown upside with the bat, displaying above-average contact skills and budding raw power.

That raw power is the key to Winn's long-term value. If he's able to get into the 15-18 homer range, Winn could develop into a well-rounded fantasy asset. However, he's still a bit aggressive with chasing pitches outside of the zone from what I've seen and that could be exploited by Major League pitching. With all that said, Winn is an exciting all-around shortstop with the upside to develop into a top-100 fantasy player.

9. Adael Amador, Colorado Rockies

In my opinion, Adael Amador is one of the more underrated prospects in fantasy circles. Yes, he's ranked fairly high across the industry and in many top 100s but still not ranked high enough. That's something I was guilty of as well last year, but not anymore. Amador is a plus hitter with an exceptional approach that had led to a career .294 AVG, .405 OBP, and a 15.1% walk rate compared to only a 12.7% strikeout rate. With the aid of Coors Field, Amador could be a strong AVG and OBP asset.

What about the power and speed? Well, Amador doesn't stand out in either of those areas but could wind up as a 15+/15+ type if he continues to add strength as he matures. I'm usually terrible with comps but I could see a Tim Anderson profile with slightly less power/speed but a bit more OBP. Amador will advance to High-A this season as a 20-year-old and could see some time in Double-A later this summer. The upside isn't studly, but Amador is a safer dynasty investment than most prospects his age.

8. Oswald Peraza, New York Yankees

Let me start by saying that nobody should be discouraged by Oswald Peraza's poor performance this spring and subsequent demotion in favor of Anthony Volpe at shortstop. Yes, this puts a damper on his short-term value for 2023, but my thoughts on Peraza long-term haven't changed at all. After an 18-homer/38-steal campaign in 2021, Peraza followed that up with a 19/33 season in 2022 while slashing .259/.329/.448.

That slash line might not stand out, but an early-season slump is to blame for that. From May 2 through his Major League promotion in early September, Peraza slashed .292/.362/.506 in 288 plate appearances with 15 home runs and 26 steals. Overall, he's one of only five prospects to record more than 15 home runs and 25 steals in each of the last two minor league seasons. The long-term upside is in that .260/15/25 range, so if his poor spring and demotion open up and sort of buying opportunity in your dynasty leagues, I'd recommend capitalizing on it.

7. Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins

Remember him? Of course you do, but it's certainly been a roller coaster professional career for the 2017 #1 overall draft pick. After two fairly productive seasons in 2017 and 2018, Lewis endured a down season for his standard in 2019. He still racked up 12 home runs and 22 steals, but that came with an uninspiring .236/.290/.371 slash line. Minnesota opted to send him to the Arizona Fall League for additional development and Lewis wound up winning the MVP award. The roller coaster ride only got scarier after that as we wouldn't see Lewis for the next two years in game action due to the canceled 2020 season and a torn ACL in February 2021.

Once Lewis did return in 2022, he was using a more tame leg kick and appeared more in control of his at-bats. The results followed suit with Lewis slashing .313/.405/.534 in 34 Triple-A games with 12 doubles, five home runs, and 12 steals. That earned him a promotion to Minnesota where he racked up six extra-base hits and a .300 AVG in 12 games before tearing his ACL for a second time.

Due to the most recent layoff, Lewis' dynasty value and price have been suppressed to the point where I think he's a solid buy. Lewis is an above-average hitter with plus speed and average game power that could develop into a .270/15+/20+ type at the Major League level.

6. Marcelo Mayer, Boston Red Sox

As a Red Sox fan, I was ecstatic when Marcelo Mayer fell to Boston with the 4th pick in the 2021 draft. Many projected Mayer to be in play at #1 overall given his upside on both sides of the baseball. On top of being a strong defender at shortstop, Mayer was one of the better pure hitters in the 2021 draft class and has hit .279 with a .394 OBP through his first 117 games in professional baseball. Unlike many shortstops on this list, Mayer doesn't project to be a significant source of steals, but Mayer is an above-average to plus hitter with the potential for above-average power as well. Think Corey Seager with a bit less power upside.

5. Jackson Holliday, Baltimore Orioles

The baby-faced, second-generation star, Jackson Holliday has already risen to great heights in prospect rankings given his all-around blend of offensive abilities. Landing in the Baltimore Orioles organization was a nice boost as well, as was his strong performance after the draft in the low minors where he had a .489 OBP in 20 games.

Holliday's zone awareness and pitch recognition are incredibly advanced for his age. Pitchers have a hard time getting him to chase any bad pitches and Holliday has the contact skills and bat speed to punish mistakes. With more bulk, Holliday could develop into an above-average power/speed threat with 20/20 upside to pair with a high AVG and OBP.

*Noelvi Marte would rank here if included. He was discussed in my Top 10 3rd Base prospects article*

4. Ezequiel Tovar, Colorado Rockies

While he can't match the pure fantasy ceiling of the three names below, Ezequiel Tovar's offensive profile should lead to plenty of fantasy impact moving forward. Tovar falls more into the sum of the parts type instead of having any one standout tool. But what allows him to be ranked this high and inside my Top-10 overall is that he's proven to be above-average or better across the board. This is a hitter capable of hitting above .280 with close to 20 home runs and 25 steals if everything clicks. In general, Tovar projects more as a 15-homer bat, but Coors Field gives his offensive profile a nice little boost.

3. Jordan Lawlar, Arizona Diamondbacks

After a labrum injury limited him to just six plate appearances after the draft in 2021, Jordan Lawlar broke out in a major way in 2022. The 2021 #6 overall pick racked up 16 home runs and 39 steals in 100 games with a .303/.401/.509 slash line and 12.4% walk rate, silencing some of his draft-day critics. Lawlar is an easy plus runner and could wind up with plus raw power as well. He's already flashed that level of raw power good bat speed and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. And while there's still a bit too much swing and miss to his game, Lawlar was able to keep his strikeout rate in check until the end of the season following his promotion to Double-A. With his .270+/20+/25+ upside, Lawlar is on the shortlist for the new #1 overall prospect once Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Walker, and Anthony Volpe graduate.

2. Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees

It was very tempting to slot Anthony Volpe #1, but settling for #2 on a list like this ain't too shabby either. Entering the spring, Volpe appeared to be a longshot to win the Yankees' starting shortstop gig over Oswald Peraza but Volpe's dominance all spring won him the job with Peraza being optioned to Triple-A. In 63 plate appearances this spring, Volpe racked up 10 extra-base hits, three home runs, and five steals with a .302/.413/.623 slash line. He also walked 14.3% of the time. This comes after a 27/33 season in 2021 and a 21/50 season in 2022. Some will point out his .249 AVG last season as well, but he's a better pure hitter than that AVG indicates.

Having seen him plenty of times live in Double-A, I'm highly certain that Volpe is going to be an impact fantasy player for a long time. He's easily a plus runner and has been an efficient base stealer over his career as well with an 84% success rate in 106 attempts. At the plate, Volpe has around average power with the potential for an above-average hit tool, putting him in the .260-.275 range and flirting with 20 home runs annually. However, I do believe he's going to wind up at second base long-term, but there's a chance he could stick at shortstop. The arm is better suited for second though.

*Gunnar Henderson would rank first in this article if included. He was discussed in my Top 10 3rd Base prospects article*

1. Elly De La Cruz, Cincinnati Reds

Who else but Elly De La Cruz? When it comes to pure fantasy upside, an incredibly strong argument can be made for De La Cruz having the highest fantasy ceiling in the minors. It's easy to make that argument when Elly possesses double-plus power and speed and is coming off a season where he racked up 31 doubles, nine triples, 28 home runs, and 47 steals in 121 games with a .304/.359/.586 slash line. We're honestly talking about fantasy first-round upside with Acuña/Tatís levels of power/speed if everything clicks. And by that, I mean if De La Cruz's approach doesn't limit him.

While he's been able to produce an impressive quality of contact and has hit .298 through his 225 career minor league games, De La Cruz has also posted a 29.4% strikeout rate for his career and had a 15.8% SwStr rate last season. In fact, De La Cruz has had a strikeout rate above 30% at every level above rookie ball. If he's able to make enough contact and keep the swing-and-miss issues in check, we're likely looking at a 30/30 threat that will get to play half of his games in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the Majors.

If you enjoyed these rankings and want to see additional rankings, analysis, and more, check out Eric's Toolshed Fantasy Patreon.

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