2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings: Top 25 Shortstops

Shortstop is the deepest position in fantasy, and with the way the prospect landscape looks, it’s going to stay that way for a long time. This ranking was really hard,...

Shortstop is the deepest position in fantasy, and with the way the prospect landscape looks, it’s going to stay that way for a long time. This ranking was really hard, as there’s a group of guys in the honorable mentions who would have been in the Top 10 at second base. As a reminder: A player is a prospect until they reach either 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched.


Top 100 Hitters Top 20 First Baseman Top 25 Shortstops
Top 100 Pitchers Top 25 Second Baseman Top 25 Outfield
Top 20 Catchers Top 25 Third Baseman Top 50 Outfield

Tier 1: Future Studs


Wander Franco; Tampa Bay Rays; Age: 18

Current Level: High-A

Talking about Wander Franco is a bit like talking about Mike Trout. That’s obviously not a comparison, but when a player as young as Franco is as apparently great as he is, it’s sorta hard to come up with new things to say about him. He’s super young for High-A and has just continued to mash with a .417/.477/.694 slash line in a brief 44-plate appearance sample. If I wanted to try to nitpick, I would look for him to become more efficient as a baserunner as he progresses, but that’s something he’ll figure out with time. There’s really not a lot to say; he’s the best prospect in baseball, and I don’t think it’s particularly close. Congratulations if you own him in dynasty, and if you don’t, you’re probably not getting him at this point. I would expect his trajectory to be taken slowly, given it’s the Rays and they’re typically slow with advancing their players. A 2020 season spent mostly in Double-A, with a late-season call-up to Triple-A and a 2021 midseason call-up to the majors is what I would expect for him, but it’s going to be hard to justify that if he keeps raking at this pace. 


Bo Bichette; Toronto Blue Jays; Age: 21


Current Level: Triple-A 

Bo Bichette is one of the most complete hitters in all of the minor leagues; he hits the ball incredibly hard. He’s consistently hit around .320 in the minors and has a ton of raw power to go with it. At just 21 years old, in his first experience with Triple-A pitching, he’s dominated with five home runs and an .877 OPS in 171 plate appearances. He has the potential to win batting titles and hit 25-30 home runs a season. His speed is above average as well, with 25-steal upside, but realistically he will sit at around 15-ish per season in his prime. He legitimately has first-round fantasy upside, and should be called up to the majors by midseason 2020. 


Brendan Rodgers; Colorado Rockies; Age: 22


Current Level: MLB

Brendan Rodgers is one of the more complete prospects in baseball. HIs lead trait is his power, which could translate to 30- to 35-home run seasons in his friendly home field. His hit tool is above average. His plate discipline isn’t great, but he’s continuously made hard contact well throughout the minors. In the majors he will likely play second base due to Trevor Story’s presence, which increases his fantasy value. He’s an average baserunner. In his prime I expect we’ll see some .280 seasons with league-average walk rates and 30 home runs. It’s just a matter of when Colorado, which is notorious for jerking its prospects around, gives him an everyday opportunity. I would expect he’d get it by the start of next year with the continued struggles of Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson, but it’s hard to guess with Colorado. 


Gavin Lux; Los Angeles Dodgers; Age: 21


Current Level: Triple-A

There’s huge upside with Gavin Lux and a pretty high floor. He benefited from an approach change in 2018 that brought his ground=ball rate down from 52.7% to 41.7%, and with that came a huge jump in his ISO and his OPS. He dominated Double-A this season to the tune of an .896 OPS with 13 home runs, seven steals, and a 28:60 BB:K ratio in 291 plate appearances. He recently was called up for his first test against Triple-A pitching, and the numbers have once again been dominant. There’s a lot of similarities between him and Jean Segura—if Segura had more power. Lux makes exceptionally hard contact and doesn’t strikeout a ton. He’ll walk at about an average rate and has above-average speed. His glove isn’t great, so I would expect him to be moved to second base, and he could debut in the majors by the start of next season if he continues to dominate Triple-A. 


Carter Kieboom; Washington Nationals; Age: 21


Current Level: Triple-A

At 21 years old, Carter Kieboom has consistently dominated significantly older competition at the plate. His power and hit tools are both above average, and he profiles as one of the best hitting middle infielders in baseball. On the downside, there’s not a lot of speed there and his glove is a bit of a disaster right now, and will likely facilitate a move to second base at some point, but overall there’s more to be excited by than worried about. His first major league test didn’t go great: a 37.2% strikeout rate over 43 plate appearances and a -0.8 bWAR in just 11 games is disappointing, but he’s also only 21 and they had him at shortstop, which was a mistake considering where his glove is at. 


Tier 2: Multi-time All-Star Potential


Royce Lewis; Minnesota Twins; Age: 20


Current Level: High-A

As the first pick of the 2017 draft, Royce Lewis has consistently carried high expectations in the minor leagues. After performing reasonably well in High-A a season ago, he’s stagnated a bit this year, but ultimately I’m not too concerned. He’s extremely fast and should be a 20-25 home run hitter as a major leaguer. His aggressive plate approach has hurt him a bit this season. His 21.8% strikeout rate and 6.4% walk rate are also not where you’d like them to be, but he’s talented enough that he can improve upon that as he gets older. He’s not going to be ranked in the Top 10 in prospect rankings like he was entering the season, but he’s still a very good prospect, and I trust him to get better as he gets older. He really needs to improve his plate approach to get back in the top tier of shortstop prospects.


Nico Hoerner; Chicago Cubs; Age: 22


Current Level: Double-A

It’s not often a prospect dominates so quickly that he gets called up to Double-A the year after he was drafted, but that’s how good Nico Hoerner has been since being selected 24th in the 2018 draft. He tweakedf his swing after he was drafted and has hit for more power in the lower levels than expected. He’s also a very good baserunner and should hit around .290-.310 in his career. It’s extremely encouraging that even though he was called up to Double-A so quickly in his young career, through 100 plate appearances the strikeout rate has stayed low at 14%, and he’s still showing good discipline at a 9% walk rate. As the season progresses it will be interesting to see how he continues to perform in Double-A and if he can continue to show the power upside he’s shown so far. He’s the Cubs’ best prospect and could see himself in the majors by midseason 2020.


Oneil Cruz; Pittsburgh Pirates; Age: 20


Current Level: High-A

After a slow start to the season, Oneil Cruz suffered a fractured foot and was placed on the IL. He dominated rookie ball during a rehab stint and was returned to High-A on July 1. Since coming back, he’s hit four home runs and posted a .324/.343/.706 slash line in his first 35 plate appearances. Cruz has a huge frame at 6’6”, 175 pounds, and his power potential is very high. He’s shown plus speed in the minors, but if he starts to fill out his frame, that may be a factor in his game that slows down. His biggest question mark is if he can make enough contact to be an above-average bat. The strikeout rates in the minors have sat in the 27% range, which is higher than you’d like. There’s legitimate 35-home run upside with Cruz, and he’s super unique because shortstops that big are almost unheard of, but Cruz has the tools to be one of the best hitters in baseball. 


Bobby Witt Jr.; Kansas City Royals; Age: 19


Current Level: Rookie Ball

Bobby Witt Jr. would have been the No. 1 pick in most years, and that would’ve been true this year if not for Adley Rutschman’s emergence, but Witt is a great prospect nonetheless. His elite bat speed and huge power for his age has led to comparisons to guys such as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Correa, and I think the Correa one is very fitting. Similar to Correa, I would expect Witt to put up 20-ish steal seasons in the minors but wouldn’t be surprised if those totals fell as he continues to add weight. Witt immediately became the Royals’ best prospect, and it should be interesting to see how he fares in rookie ball the rest of the season. If he dominates there, he could see a call-up to Low-A by the end of the season. 


CJ Abrams; San Diego Padres; Age: 18


Current Level: Rookie Ball

The sixth pick in the 2019 draft out of high school, CJ Abrams is a really good athlete with a huge frame and huge speed potential. It’s obviously early, but it’s hard to do much better than he has in his first 89 plate appearances with a .434/.461/.687 slash line, 11 steals and a 5:7 BB:K ratio. His power is lacking at this point, but with his huge frame at 6’2”, 185 pounds, it’s fair to project some power onto him. He legitimately has 75- to 80-grade speed, and that combined with a really good hit tool should project him to being one of the safer high school prospects in the 2019 draft. He’s not a great fielder, which may keep him from flying through their minor league system, along with the fact he’s blocked by Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias. If he can keep his strikeout rate down as he progresses and show more power upside, he may become one of the best prospects in a loaded Padres farm. 


Jeter Downs; Los Angeles Dodgers; Age: 20


Current Level: High-A

Jeter Downs is one of the most underrated prospects in all of baseball. In his first three years as a professional hitter, he’s played on average against competition 2.5 years older than him, and despite that is yet to have a bad season in the minors. Downs has an interesting power-speed combination, he’s routinely hit more home runs than scouts have expected him to, and he has a chance to be a 25-home run bat once he reaches higher levels. His swing has a good amount of loft to it, which has led to heavy fly-ball rates in his early career. His stolen base ability is likely overstated by his 63 steals in 243 career minor league games, as his realistic outcome is more like 15-25 steals as a major leaguer. Despite being a career .258 hitter in the minors, Downs has .280-ish upside. He’s also adjusted very well to High-A pitching. After starting the season with a .646 OPS in April, he’s improved with an .828 OPS in May, and a .934 OPS in June. His BB:K ratio improved each month as well, before he got hit by a pitch on the hand and hit the IL to start July. Once he comes back from a hand/wrist injury, I will be intrigued to see if he can continue with his improving plate skills. If he gets a chance in Double-A this season, Downs is someone who could enter 2020 with Top 75 prospect hype. 


Jazz Chisholm; Arizona Diamondbacks; Age: 21


Current Level: Double-A 

Jazz Chisholm is a very fun prospect. He has legitimate 60-grade raw power and has shown it in his last couple of seasons with ISOs ranging from .228 to .268. He also has above-average speed and is solid in the field. As a left-handed hitter, he’s continuously struggled against left-handed pitching, with OPSs of .612, .670, and .580 in the last three seasons against lefties. He has a very aggressive swing, which has helped him in the power department, but has also led to strikeout rates ranging around 32% the last couple of seasons. I think his profile lines up very similarly with Rougned Odor’s, except if Odor were a better baserunner—which is a useful player, but not a particularly stable one. Chisholm has rebounded very well after a disastrous start to his season, so I am monitoring, because if he can cut that strikeout rate he has a chance to be one of the most exciting hitting prospects in baseball. For now, Chisholm is a very toolsy, fun player, but also one with clear flaws. 


Marco Luciano; San Francisco Giants; Age: 17


Current Level: Rookie Ball

As one of the top signings in the 2018 international free-agent class, Marco Luciano entered 2019 with the hope he’d dominate rookie ball and get a call-up to Low-A by the end of the season, and so far he’s done the first part of that. His .342/.438/.724 slash line through 89 plate appearances is extremely impressive. He’s considered to have huge raw power, and hitting seven home runs in your first 89 plate appearances does a good job of showing that. He’s very aggressive at the plate and hits the ball extremely hard, which leads me to believe as he goes through the lower levels he may experience some slumps and the plate discipline may lack at points. Still, he’s a really fun prospect who has a chance to rise on this list as he continues to progress through the minors. 


Bryson Stott; Philadelphia Phillies; Age: 21


Current Level: Rookie Ball

As the 14th pick in the 2019 draft, Bryson Stott carries a big frame. At 6’3”, 200 pounds, Stott still has a little bit off filling out to do, but as he develops his power, he should get to a point where he’s average to above-average in hat department. He has a very mature approach, and could have BB:K ratios around 1:1 in the lower levels of the minors. His hit tool is also above average, and he profiles to be a .280-ish hitter with good walk rates. He doesn’t have much speed, and the speed he does have may become less of a factor as he continues to bulk up his frame. As an above-average fielder, Stott has a chance to fly through the Phillies farm and could be in Double-A by next season. What I am watching for is how his power develops as he gets bigger and if he can out-class lower-level pitching. 


Tier 3: Solid Starters with Upside


Isaac Paredes; Detroit Tigers; Age: 20


Current Level: Double-A 

A mature plate approach is my favorite part of Isaac Paredes profile. Often times when you see 20-year-olds sent to Double-A, their walk rates will plummet and their strikeout rates will increase, but that hasn’t been the case. In his age-20 season against Double-A pitching, his 36:41 BB:K ratio is extremely impressive. He profiles to be a slightly below-average power hitter but should hit in the .280-.300 range. There’s almost no speed there, and he’ll likely be moved from shortstop to either second base or the outfield, and that could slow his development path a little bit. But purely as a hitter, Paredes is very interesting, and if he can show more power as he ages, he’ll move up a tier on this list.


Jorge Mateo; Oakland Athletics; Age: 24


Current Level: Triple-A

After sitting in the back half of Top 100 lists entering 2018, Jorge Mateo had a bit of a disaster season in his first test against Triple-A pitching. Mateo has never been considered somebody who had a particularly polished plate approach, but a 5.7% walk rate and a 27.3% strikeout rate were beyond disappointing. His three home runs in 510 plate appearances were also a bafflingly low number. He still showed his elite speed, with 25 steals, but that was pretty much it. He’s really turned around this year, showing the raw power that scouts had thought he could tap into with 13 home runs and a .225 ISO in 397 plate appearances. The plate approach is still lacking with a 4.3% walk rate, but the strikeouts have dipped back to 24.1%, which is encouraging. I think he may strike out too much to be a top-of-the-order bat, but he still has 50-steal upside, and if he can prove the power improvements from last year to this year are real, I have him too low on this list. I just worry that last season is more of what he is as a major league hitter than this season is. 


Tier 4: Keep an Eye on Them 


Luis Garcia; Washington Nationals; Age: 19


Current Level: Double-A

As the youngest player in Double-A, Luis Garcia has struggled a bit in 2019. His .603 OPS and 13:56 BB:K ratio in 360 plate appearances show he’s been a bit overmatched, but there’s still a lot to like about the 19-year-old shortstop. Garcia has above-average speed and very good contact ability. The power hasn’t been there yet, but he has a good frame, and although I wouldn’t expect him to ever be a plus in the power department, him getting to 10-15 home runs per year by the time he hits his prime isn’t crazy. For the rest of the season I will be intrigued to see if he can start walking a little more—because a 3.6% walk rate is pretty disappointing—and if he can get his ISO up from the .044 mark it’s at. Do not sell on Garcia because he’s struggled in 2019; he still has plenty of upside and is just a bit overmatched at this point in his career. 


Geraldo Perdomo; Arizona Diamondbacks; Age: 19

Current Level: A-Ball

It looks like the Diamondbacks got a steal in acquiring Geraldo Perdomo for just $70,000 dollars as an international free agent. Perdomo’s best trait is his plate approach, For such a young hitter, he consistently put up great walk rates in the minors; that has continued this season in his first test at A-ball with a 15.9% BB% compared to a 15.6% K%. He is considered to have the potential to be a Gold-Glove caliber player, which doesn’t affect his value for fantasy a ton, but that combined with his great plate approach could let him fly through the Diamondbacks minor league system. He should hit around .270-ish and give you 25-30 steals per season. The most interesting part of Perdomo is his power upside. He has a big frame at 6’2”, and at just 184 pounds there’s a fair amount of projecting you can do. His ISO this season sits at a very unremarkable .081, which doesn’t matter a ton, but you’d like to see it higher. As a switch-hitter, it is encouraging to see he has similar results against both lefties and righties. The thing I am monitoring for Perdomo as he fills out his frame is if he can improve his quality of contact and turn more of those flyouts into doubles and home runs. If so, Perdomo has a chance to really fly up through farm. 


Noelvi Marte; Seattle Mariners; Age: 17


Current Level: Foreign Rookie Ball

As one of the top 2018 international free-agent signings of the class, Noelvi Marte profiles to be a major riser on this list as he progresses. He showcases the potential to have a lot of power in his bat, to go along with a quick, aggressive swing. He possesses a big frame at 6’1”, 181 pounds, and his raw power is his most intriguing tool. At this point it’s worth being patient with Marte and seeing how he develops. He’s considered by scouts to be one of the most toolsy international free-agent signings of the last couple of seasons. 


Andres Gimenez; New York Mets; Age: 20


Current Level: Double-A

With Pete Alonso losing prospect eligibility, Andres Gimenez has taken over as the Mets’ top prospect. Gimenez’s best trait is his glove, which doesn’t do a ton for fantasy. His speed is his most bankable trait at this point for fantasy purposes. Gimenez posted 38 steals a season ago, and while that is higher than what he post as he fills out his frame, it shows the upside in that category. He has a pretty small frame at 5’11”, 161 pounds, but as he fills out he should have decent gap power with the ability to get to 15 home runs per season. His swing leads him to hitting a lot of ground balls, and his plate approach needs to get better before he can be considered one of the top prospects at his position. I’m lower on Gimenez than most because I really only see one bankable above-average fantasy trait in his profile, and that’s his speed. He’s still super young for his level, so I’m not out on him, but I just need to see some more before I’m sold on his upside like others are. 


Jordan Groshans; Toronto Blue Jays; Age: 19


Current Level: A-Ball

As a 2018 first round pick, Jordan Groshans has performed really well to start his career. In 71 professional games across two seasons, Groshans has a .309/.376/.457 slash line with a 28:58 BB:K ratio in 303 plate appearances. His best trait is his power, currently more of an all fields hitter, as Groshans ages he should be able to translate those doubles into 30-ish home run power. His contact skills are his biggest question mark, and he won’t be able to answer them for a little while as a foot injury has had him on the shelf for the majority of the 2019 season. When he comes back the big thing to watch is if he can keep his strikeout rate down. 


Brice Turang; Milwaukee Brewers; Age: 19


Current Level: High-A

Brice Turang is a bit of jack-of-all-trades prospect. He profiles to have above average speed with a solid hit tool. The power is going to be the last thing that develops, but that should be slightly below average at worst. He has an extremely mature plate approach that will lead to BB:K ratios like the 55:55 one he’s posted across A-Ball and High-A in 2019 across 377 plate appearances. He’s one of the better bets to develop into an everyday middle infielder on this list given the safety of his profile. 


Willi Castro; Detroit Tigers; Age: 22


Current Level: Double-A

As the Tigers return from the Leonys Martin trade a season ago, Willi Castro has been very impressive since joining the Tigers. He ended the season on a tear a year ago with four home runs, four steals, and a .928 OPS in 114 plate appearances with Detroit’s Double-A club. In his first test against Triple-A the numbers have also been pretty good with five home runs, 13 steals, a .295/.381/.442 slash line and a 35:72 BB:K ratio. The Tigers seem to have made a change in his approach that has done wonders for him, as his 9.8% walk rate in 2019 in almost double where that number sat throughout his minor league career. Castro doesn’t have the upside most guys on this list have, but if this plate approach change is real Castro has a chance to be a really solid everyday shortstop. He’s only 8% owned on Fantrax also so if you have a chance to get him now, I’d be doing so. 


Greg Jones; Tampa Bay Rays; Age: 21


Current Level: Low-A 

The 22nd pick of the 2019 draft, Greg Jones is an athletic, speedy, shortstop with big upside in the Rays loaded farm. Jones has been given 80-level grades on his speed, which is the top grade you can give. As a hitter he’s fairly unpolished, he may strikeout a lot in the lower levels of the minors and I don’t see a ton of power in his profile. I’m not super-high on his type of profile, but given that its the Rays and they’re a lot smarter than I am, I remain intrigued to see what he does in the lower levels of the minors. 


Terrin Varva; Colorado Rockies; Age: 22


Current Level: A-Ball

A third round pick in the 2018 draft out of college, Terrin Vavra has hit the ground running for the Rockies farm. Across 568 plate appearances in Low-A and A-Ball, Vavra has a .314/.402/.483 slash line with 12 home runs, 24 steals, and a 73:93 BB:K ratio. He’s a very patient hitter with a solid hit tool and above average speed. Those stats are a bit skewed when you factor in he’s a bit old for his level and the hitter friendly environments he plays in, but he’s due for a call-up to High-A soon and I’ll be very intrigued if he can keep up this level of production at that level. As a left-handed hitter he profiles more as a platoon bat as he’s shown continuous struggles against left-handed pitching.


Honorable Mentions

If this were a 26-person list, Tyler Freeman would have appeared on it with a very mature plate approach and a really good hit tool, but shortstop is super deep. Kevin Smith would be on this list if not for a disastrous 2019 in which his strikeout rate has risen to 31.8%. After a disastrous 2018, Nick Gordon has rebounded well, but beyond his speed I don’t think there’s a ton there. Mauricio Dubon and Jake Cronenworth have put together impressive 2019’s in Triple-A, but profile more as really good utility infielders, than as everyday starters. Mason McCoy has made some noise in the Orioles farm, but I’m not sure there’s a ton there beyond an above-average hit tool. Ezequiel Tovar and Luis Garcia (PHI) are guys that could find themselves on this list soon, but have been out-matched by older pitching. Orelvis Martinez and Ronny Mauricio are young toolsy international free agents that could also find themselves on this list very soon. After garnering some prospect hype after his 2017 breakout season, Wander Javier missed all of 2018 and has been awful in 2019, but I’m not giving up hope on him just yet. Lastly, Robbie Glendinning has really broken out in 2019 and is worth keeping an eye on, thanks to a new swing that has led itself to a huge power breakthrough.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Jt Kohout

Twenty years old. Huge baseball, basketball, and football fan. Most importantly a diehard Orioles fan. Also write for FakeTeams of SBNation and Numberfire.

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