The journey through the 2024 Top Keepers continues this week with a look at the top shortstops.

Already, we have gone over:

Compared to some of the other positions we’ve covered, shortstop is actually a pretty deep position. If you get stuck with a Tier 4 player, like a Jeremy Pena or Tommy Edman, you still have a decent shortstop on your hands.

Even in Tier 5 (players ranked 31-40), you still can get a decent utility player or fulltime shortstop with some solid upside. Meanwhile, the top shortstops are players who are not just the best at this position, but are some of the best players in the game. Overall, this is a strong group of players.

Now, to the rankings!

Tier 7

*Age as of April 1, 2024

60 Aledmys Diaz Oak 33
59 Nick Allen Oak 25
58 Jose Barrero Cin 25
57 Osleivis Basabe TB 23
56 Nick Ahmed Ari 34
55 Yu Chang Bos 28
54 Trevor Story Bos 31
53 Joey Wendle Mia 33
52 Casey Schmitt SF 25
51 Miguel Rojas LAD 35

When I was talking about the depth of the position, it does not extend all the way down to this tier. Of the 10 players listed above, none of them had a good season. Miguel Rojas sported the highest batting average at a whopping .236 while Jose Barrero recorded the highest OBP at .295. Meanwhile, Yu Chang had the highest slugging percentage at .352. None of those numbers are going to make you want to draft those players.

Anyone to watch?

In trying to find someone who can say “keep an eye on,” that is a hard task. Trevor Story used to be good, but he isn’t good now. Over the last three years his numbers have continued to get worse.

Barrero is basically blocked at every position in Cincinnati and Osleivis Basabe is not the answer at shortstop for any team.

So that leaves Nick Allen. The future Las Vegas A’s don’t really have anyone else to turn to as short unless they want to stick Diaz there. The problem with Allen is he isn’t very good on offense. In 655 career plate appearances (so a full season), he has a .214/.260/.289 slash line with eight homers and 39 RBI.

Unless you are in a 30-team league, the above players should only be rostered in an emergency situation.

Tier 6

50 Tucupita Marcano Pit 24
49 Marco Luciano SF 22
48 Brayan Rocchio Cle 22
47 Enrique Hernández LAD 32
46 Vaughn Grissom Atl 23
45 Jordan Lawlar Ari 21
44 Zach McKinstry Det 28
43 Gabriel Arias Cle 24
42 Taylor Walls TB 27
41 Masyn Winn Stl 22

This is a tier that has a lot of players with potential outside of Enrique Hernandez. Hernandez could still be of use in deep leagues and as depth, but his best days are behind him.

The Guardians

With Amed Rosario no longer in Cleveland, the Guardians will have a battle between Brayan Rocchio and Gabriel Arias for the starting spot at short. Neither player set the world on fire in 2023. Arias slashed .210/.275/.352 with 10 homers and 26 RBI in 345 plate appearances while Rocchio went .247/.279/.321 with no homers and eight RBI in 86 plate appearances.

Rocchio has never really hit in the minors either, compiling a .276/.349/.426 slash line with 47 homers in 2,176 minor league plate appearances. But he does have some speed as he had 96 steals down on the farm. Arias, meanwhile, hasn’t been great in the minors either, slashing .269/.325/.410 with 49 homers in 2,070 plate appearances. And he has fewer steals with 27.

Someone will win the battle, and right now I am going with Arias, but that is written in very light pencil.

The Grissom Mystery

After the 2022 season, tons of people were on the Vaughn Grissom bandwagon. That bandwagon quickly disappeared when Grissom didn’t earn the starting job with the Braves coming out of spring training. And it shrank even more as the season progressed and Grissom was seeing most of his playing time in Triple A and not with the Braves.

There is still a chance for Grissom to become a valuable fantasy player, but it may be more as a utility player than pure shortstop as Orlando Arcia looks to have solidified himself as the starting shortstop.

Are Lawlar and Winn Ready?

Fantasy players were excited to see Jordan Lawlar and Masyn Winn get time in the majors, but their debuts did not go well.

Lawlar appeared in 14 games for Arizona and slashed .129/.206/.129 with one steal and 11 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances. He is 21 on Opening Day and the likely future shortstop for the D-Backs. But is that future in 2024 or still another year or two away?

The good news for Winn is he had a decent 19% strikeout rate. The bad news is that is nearly the only thing that was above MLB average. He slashed .172/.230/.238 with two homers, 12 RBI and two steals in 37 games. His walk rate was below MLB average by 1.3% and his average EV of 84.3 wasn’t close to the MLB average of 88.5 mph.

Both Lawlar and Winn got exposed in their MLB debuts. But don’t let the numbers fool you into thinking they are not worth keeping, especially in long-term keeper leagues as both have very good power/speed skills.

Tier 5

40 Jorge Mateo Bal 28
39 Elvis Andrus CWS 35
38 Javier Báez Det 31
37 Paul DeJong SF 30
36 Garrett Hampson Mia 29
35 Kyle Farmer Min 33
34 Jon Berti Mia 34
33 Chris Taylor LAD 33
32 Maikel Garcia KC 24
31 Tim Anderson CWS 30

If I were doing strict dynasty rankings for this position, then many of the Tier 4 players above would be in Tier 5 while players like Rocchio, Arias, Lawlar and Winn would be in this tier. But since this is a list of top keepers for 2024, players such as Elvis Andrus, Paul DeJong and Javier Baez wind up in this tier.

Andrus does just enough to make himself a useful depth player as he stole 12 bases. The same goes for Baez as he also swiped 12 bags in 2023 while driving in 59 runs. Not great numbers, but as a backup middle infielder, there is some meat on the bone.

If you care only about power, then DeJong still is a useful player. In 328 at-bats last season, he hit 14 homers and slugged .393. But that is about all he does as he kills your batting average and OBP.

Speed Guys

Jorge Mateo’s power surge in 2022 proved to be just that in 2023 – a surge – as his homers dropped from 13 to seven and his slugging percentage fell from .379 to .340. However, Mateo has always had speed and continued to show it off in 2023. After stealing 35 bases in 2022, he swiped 32 this past season. Mateo isn’t going to help your slash line, but his speed is an asset and nice to have on your team.

Maikel Garcia is not going to ever take over the starting job at short. But he gets enough games there to qualify as a shortstop and thus be helpful at that position on your fantasy team. He stole 23 bases this past year while also slashing .272/.323/.358.

Washed Up, or Deserves a Second Chance?

Tim Anderson’s fall from being a top shortstop to one without a job has come quickly. In 2021 he hit 17 homers while slashing .309/.338/.469. Those numbers were in line with his career numbers. But last year he slugged only .395 with six homers in 79 games and this past season saw him hit only one home run in 123 games while slashing .245/.286/.296. I’m not ready to throw Anderson into the trash bin, but he certainly isn’t a top 30 shortstop.

Maybe he will rebound with a new team in 2024, but for now, I’m thinking the decline is on and he is only a good depth player in fantasy baseball.

Tier 4

30 Ezequiel Duran Tex 24
29 Amed Rosario LAD 28
28 Geraldo Perdomo Ari 24
27 Tommy Edman Stl 28
26 Jeremy Peña Hou 26
25 Luis Rengifo LAA 27
24 Ezequiel Tovar Col 22
23 Zach Neto LAA 23
22 Willy Adames Mil 28
21 Orlando Arcia Atl 29

Now we’re getting into the real depth of this position as there are a host of players listed above who are MLB starters and have solid seasons already on their resume.

The Very Good Utility Players

Ezequiel Duran was an unsung MVP for the Rangers last season. With Corey Seager and Josh Jung missing time, Duran stepped in at shortstop and third base as well as left field and produced solid numbers. Among the 63 shortstops I looked at, Duran ranked 11th in AVG (.276), 19th in OBP (.324) and 12th in SLG (.443) while hitting 14 homers and driving in 46 in 122 games. Duran is only 24 and should be a valuable utility player for the Rangers moving forward.

Tommy Edman also qualifies at three positions, getting time in at second base, shortstop and center field for the Cardinals. Edman has good speed (27 steals) and some power (13 homers). Don’t expect much more power from Edman, however. In his four full MLB seasons, he has hit 11, 11, 13 and 13 homers. And his slash line of .248/.307/.399 is nothing to write home about and ranked 28th, 32nd and 26th, respectively, compared to the other shortstops. For his career his slash line is .265/.319/.408 with a 100 OPS+. That is the true definition of average. Like Duran, he has great value as a utility player to go with his speed, making him a solid keeper.

Where’s the Power?

In 2022, Jeremy Pena hit 22 homers and drove in 63 runs while slashing .253/.289/.426 to finish fifth in the ROY voting. Then came 2023. Pena actually improved his average and OBP (.263/.324), but his SLG fell from .426 to .381. A large reason for that is the fact Pena last hit a home run on July 5. He basically went three months without hitting a single home run. Otherwise, he showed improvement from his rookie season as his walk rate increased (3.9% to 6.8%) while his strikeout rate decreased (24.2% to 20.4%).

I’m not sure if Pena is a 22-homer player, but he has more power than the 10 dingers he hit this season. If he can increase his ground ball rate (53.1%) back to where it was in 2022 (46.2%), then I see him reaching 15-18 homers.

Young Up-and-Comers

I really like Ezequiel Tovar and Zach Neto and as dynasty players, I love Tovar and Neto.

In his first full season with the Rockies, Tovar slashed .253/.287/.408 with 15 home runs, 73 RBI and 11 steals. Yes, there are some numbers he put up that aren’t pretty, like a 27% strikeout rate and 4.1% walk rate. He also hit only .190 against breaking pitches with a 39.7% Whiff rate. However, Tovar will only be 22 next season, leaving plenty of room for improvement.

Neto was drafted by the Angles with the 13th pick 0f the first round in 2022 out of Campbell University and he ended the season at Double-A Rocket City, slashing .320/.382/.492 with four dingers, 23 RBI and four steals in 30 games. Neto didn’t break camp with the Angels this season, but it didn’t take long for him to get the call-up to the majors after a blistering start at Double-A, where in seven games he slashed .444/.559/.815 with three homers, 10 RBI, and three steals.

He wasn’t able to match those numbers on the MLB level as he finished with a slash line of .225/.308/.377 with nine homers and 34 RBI in 84 games as injuries kept him off the field too often. But his 8.8 Barrel% was nearly two points higher than the MLB average while his average EV and Sweet Spot% were slightly higher than average. Like Tovar, there is plenty of room for growth in Neto’s game and I see him being close to a 20-homer shortstop with a much better slash line.

Tier 3

20 Anthony Volpe NYY 22
19 Carlos Correa Min 29
18 Thairo Estrada SF 28
17 Nico Hoerner ChC 26
16 Dansby Swanson ChC 30
15 Ha-Seong Kim SD 28
14 CJ Abrams Was 23
13 J.P. Crawford Sea 29
12 Elly De La Cruz Cin 22
11 Oneil Cruz Pit 25

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Anthony Volpe was lot of things for the Yankees during his rookie season. The good is the fact he hit 21 homers, drove in 60 runs and stole 24 bases. The bad is the fact Volpe struck out 167 times for a 27.8 strikeout percentage, thanks to chasing pitches like this too often. And the ugly – a slash line of .209/.283/.383. That average ranks 55th among the shortstops I ranked and the OBP ranked 44th.

Volpe is likely to never hit for a high average as his career minor league average was .263. But his game is about the power/speed combo he brings to the field. He is a 20/20 player and could become 30/30 with a little more discipline at the plate. I’ll take that every day of the week.

Cubs Combo

Nico Hoerner is not going to unseat teammate Dansby Swanson as the team’s shortstop. However, he did get enough playing time at the position to be a solid option at the spot next season. Hoerner doesn’t have the power of Swanson (nine homers to 22), but he swiped 43 bases and slashed .283/.346/.383. His speed makes up for his lack of power.

Swanson didn’t put produce a great slash line (.244/.328/.416) but it was right around the MLB average of .248/.320/.414. Swanson’s value is due to his ability to hit home runs and drive in runners. His 22 dingers ranked 8th and his 80 RBI ranked 7th among the shortstops I looked at for these rankings. He’s no longer a spring chicken, but he still has years of production left in him.

My Cruz Crushes

If I walk by the TV and see Elly De La Cruz or Oneil Cruz at the plate, I am going to stop and watch that at-bat. De La Cruz appeared in only 98 games for the Reds, but every at-bat was an event because you don’t want to miss a bomb like this or one like this being hit. De La Cruz could stand to walk a little more and strike out a little less, but only if it doesn’t affect the rest of this game.

In 427 plate appearances he hit 13 homers, drove in 44 runs and stole 35 bases. Over the course of 162 games, that is 21 homers, 73 RBI and 58 steals. De La Cruz has elite sprint speed, ranking in the 100th percentile with an average of 30.5 mph.

Oneil Cruz missed most of last season thanks to an injury he suffered during a play at home plate nine games into the season. But in 87 games in 2022, Cruz slugged 17 homers, drove in 54 runs and stole 10 bases while slugging .450. His 162-game average is 31 homers, 101 RBI and 21 steals with a .449 SLG. Cruz’s average EV in 2022 was in the 91st percentile and Barrel% ranked in the 96th percentile, leading to missiles like this, and like this, while his sprint speed ranked in the 98th percentile. Like De La Cruz, his power/speed combo is off the charts.

Tier 2

10 Xander Bogaerts SD 31
9 Matt McLain Cin 24
8 Wander Franco TB 23
7 Gunnar Henderson Bal 22
6 Mookie Betts LAD 31

Xander Bogaerts didn’t have a spectacular season in any one area. But he had a solid season across the board for the Padres. He hit 19 homers, drove in 58 and stole 19 bases. Where he really shined was his slash line of .285/.350/.440. The first two numbers ranked sixth and seventh among his position peers while his SLG ranked 13th.

Matt McLain should be the primary second baseman next season for the Reds, but he played a lot of shortstop during his rookie season. And it was a very good rookie season. McLain hit 16 homers, drove in 50 runs and stole 14 bases while slashing .290/.357/.507 in 89 games. He has power, he has speed, and he can hit for average. And for at least one more year, is a very good keeper at short.

The Elephant in the Room

If you don’t know about Wander Franco’s legal situation, then Google it. There is no need to go into detail about that here. However, his legal situation does affect fantasy baseball owners. If Franco’s baseball career is over, or severely curtailed by his ongoing issues, then he obviously doesn’t even belong in these rankings.

But since he is innocent until proven guilty, he has a spot in these rankings, because on the field he is one of the best shortstops in the game. His slash line was top 10 compared to other shortstops at .281/.344/.475, with that SLG number ranking 6th. In 112 games he hit 17 homers, drove in 58 and swiped 30 bases.

The Short Timer

I don’t think there isn’t anything Mookie Betts can’t do. Great right fielder. Great second baseman. Great bowler. And apparently a great shortstop. The only reason why Betts isn’t the top-rated shortstop is because he is not going to be one past 2024. But since he started 12 games at the spot last year, and appeared in 16 games at short overall, he is a shortstop in many leagues. If you own him, rejoice at your good fortune.


The voting for the AL Rookie of the Year was pretty easy this year thanks the season Gunnar Henderson had. He pretty much helped fantasy teams across the board. He scored 100 runs, hit 28 homers, drove in 82, stole 10 bases and had a slashed .255/.325/.489.

His Hard Hit% ranked in the 95th percentile and average EV ranked in the 91st percentile. Meanwhile, he ranked in the 75th percentile in Barrel%. The only question about Henderson over the next few years is will he be a shortstop or a third baseman? He appeared in 83 games for the Orioles at short and 84 at third. With Jackson Holliday in the Baltimore pipeline, the future for Henderson appears to be at third base. But until that happens, he will be a force as a shortstop.

Tier 1

5 Bo Bichette Tor 26
4 Francisco Lindor NYM 30
3 Trea Turner Phi 30
2 Bobby Witt Jr. KC 23
1 Corey Seager Tex 29

A Down Year?

For some people, Bo Bichette had a down year in 2023. I guess when you compare it to his 2021 season, he did. That year he slashed .298/.343/.484 with 29 homers, 102 RBI and 25 steals. This past season his slash line was just fine at .306/.339/.475. But his homers dropped to 20, his RBI fell to 73 and he stole only five bases. Those are still very good numbers overall. When you factor in the fact he played in 135 games compared to 159 each the previous two years, it is understandable why the home run and RBI numbers dropped.

Compared to the other shortstops, he ranked in the top 10 in homers, RBI, AVG and SLG. Compared to all major leaguers, his xwOBA, xBA, xSLG and Sweet Spot% all ranked in the 85th percentile or higher. Over the last three years his OPS+ has been 121, 128 and 123. All that adds up to a top-five shortstop.

Aging Well

Francisco Lindor and Trea Turner will both be 30 at the start of the next season. But while they are getting older, they are not getting less productive on the field.

Lindor ranked third among shortstops (and second if you ignore Betts) with 31 homers while his 98 RBI trailed only Betts’ 107. And Lindor still has his speed as he stole 31 bases. His average wasn’t great at .254, but he still had a .336 OBP and a very nice .470 SLG, his highest since he slugged .518 in 2019.

Turner’s numbers have declined slightly over the past three years as his SLG has gone from .536 in 2021 to .459 last year and his OPS has dropped from .911 to .779 during that time span. But that dip in his numbers this year can be attributed to two bad months during the 2023 season. In May Turner slashed .208/.257/.368 with three homers and eight RBI. In July those numbers were .218/.269/.356 with two dingers and five RBI.

But Turner turned it around in August and looked like the player we are used to seeing on the field. In August he slashed .333/.376/.685 with nine homers and 26 RBI. That pace was not sustainable in September, but he still had a very good month with seven home runs, 16 RBI and a slash line of .299/.365/.567. The player we saw over the last two months is the player I expect to see during most of the 2024 campaign.

The Final Two

If you had any doubts about Bobby Witt Jr. and his outstanding rookie year in 2022, then 2023 should have put those doubts away. As a rookie, Witt slashed .254/.294/.428 with 20 homers, 80 RBI and 30 steals. As an encore in 2023, he went out and hit 30 homers, drove in 96 runs and stole 49 bases while slashing .276/.319/.495.

While he doesn’t walk a lot (5.8% walk rate), he limits his strikeouts (17.4% to ranking in the 79th percentile). Witt also does a good job of hitting the ball hard, ranking in the 74th percentile in AEV, 76th percentile in Barrel% and 73rd percentile in Hard-Hit%. Opps, almost forgot to talk about his speed. His sprint speed ranked in the 100th percentile and allows him to turn easy outs into singles.

And making fantasy owners who already own Witt drool is the fact he will only be 23 on Opening Day. Witt has not come close to reaching his extremely high ceiling.

Corey Seager had an outstanding season for the Rangers. All he did was slash .327/.390/.623 to rank first among all true shortstops. Then you add in his 33 homers and 96 RBI and it is plain to see why he was an MVP candidate. And he posted those counting numbers in only 119 games.

When you look at Seager’s percentile rankings, he’s at 92 percent or higher in xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, AEV, Barrel%, and Hard-Hit%. He’s “only” in the 86th percentile for Sweet-Spot% and 84th percentile for K%.

And Seager will only be 29 on Opening Day next season, meaning he has several more years of top-rate production ahead of him.

Come Back Next Week – and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. And come back next week as we end our trip around the infield by looking at the 2024 Top Keepers – Third Basemen.