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Over the past few seasons few positions have gotten more hype than shortstop. With players like Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Alex Bregman, Addison Russell, Amed Rosario, the names go on and on. Some of these names were obviously major difference makers in fantasy, while others have ridden “real baseball” prospect hype to overrated status. Much like with catchers on the mainstream prospect lists, the demands of the position defensively significantly increase these player’s values. We don’t care about defense though, there’s only two questions we ask ourselves as dynasty managers. Does this Rotowear shirt make me look fat? No, wait, wrong question. We ask ourselves A. Can he hit? B. Will he stick at the position? The latter of which is ehhh, with a side of meh sauce. I really only care if they can hit. If a player is moved to second, third, or center, it really doesn’t matter, you know, as long as the skills play. I understand position scarcity, but my focus when drafting, adding, or trading for prospects in fantasy leagues is to land the best possible hitters. With this in mind I present to you the Top 10 Shortstop Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.

 

1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS Padres | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .278/.379/.498 22 HR, 75 RBI, 32 SB

Not since his father was a pretend Microsoft Paint artist have I been this jacked about a Tatis. He ranked 55th in my Mid-season prospect list, but has done nothing but hit for power, steal bases, and show ability far beyond his years. To me he’s the top offensive shortstop prospect in the minors hands down. This James Shields trade will be the Padres Herschel Walker.

2. Gleyber Torres, SS Yankees | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .287/.383/.480 7 HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB

We’ve all forgotten about Gleyber haven’t we? The man was on a rocket ship to the Bronx before a freak injury sliding into home plate ended his season. With TJ on his non-throwing elbow it’s fair to question just how much this impacts Torres future offensive ability, particularly in the short term. I believe in the all around offensive skillset, and still think Torres has the upside of a superstar, even if he doesn’t have a standout category.

3. Brendan Rodgers, SS Rockies | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .336/.373/.567 18 HR, 64 RBI, 2 SB

It’s been an up and down year for Rodgers, literally. He was gangbusters at high A Lancaster of the Cal League from late April until late June. Taking full advantage of one of the friendlier hitting environments in baseball. Upon promotion to AA Hartford, Rodgers took some time to settle in before finding his stroke, to only tank again before hitting the DL. He’s back in Lancaster now for the remainder of the season, but it’s not the actual bat that’s the problem with Rodgers, it’s what he chooses to swing at. When Rodgers makes contact, he makes good contact, but his 4.9% walk rates really hurts his value to me, especially when he doesn’t bring much speed to the table. That’s not to say Rodgers isn’t a potential fantasy star, but I think we need to temper expectations some.

4. Bo Bichette, SS/2B Blue Jays | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .362/.423/.565 14 HR, 74 RBI, 22 SB

The older of the Blue Jays legacy duo with super talented teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Last night the Dunedin Blue Jays clinched a share of the Florida State League title after the playoffs were canceled due to hurricane Irma. Natural disasters aside, Bichette’s prospect status has blossomed as much as anybody in 2017. From a 2016 second rounder to universal top 50 prospect, Bichette in my opinion is squarely in the conversation for top shortstop for the next few seasons. His swing has some mechanical issues (serious bat wrap), but his bat speed is insane. It’s likely Bichette is moved to 2nd base full time, but that is yet to come to fruition.

5. Royce Lewis, SS Twins | Level: A | 2017 Stats: .279/.381/.407 4 HR, 27 RBI, 18 SB

The first overall pick in June’s draft has been impressive in his first run through professional baseball. Hitting the ground running, literally, in the Gulf Coast League before seeing promotion to Cedar Rapids the Twins Low A full season affiliate. There’s still a lot of development to go, but what we got was a far more advanced player than we expected. The speed, contact, and approach are already present, the plus power needs time to develop.

6. Kevin Maitan, SS Braves | Level: A | 2017 Stats: .241/.290/.340 2 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB

Before we get to caught up in the numbers, remember Maitan turned 17 in February. This kid is the same age a high school junior, and he’s playing in advanced rookie ball. That’s impressive on its own. Just making it to Danville is an accomplishment for the highly regarded Venezuelan prospect. Elite power, and franchise cornerstone is what we’re hoping on here.

7. Willy Adames, SS Rays | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .277/.360/.415 10 HR, 62 RBI, 11 SB

With a full year of solid but unspectacular production at AAA Durham. I can see how you could go either way with Adames. Some will feel he’s underrated all things considered, while others will feel he’s overrated all things considered. I’m more the former than the latter. It’s obvious when watching Adames that he’s a professional hitter with no glaring weakness. Much like Gleyber he lacks a true category of impact, but to expect similar production to frequently overdrafted Xander Bogaerts isn’t crazy. I think Adames will have his season’s of good but never elite production. Should be up in Tampa if not in the next few weeks, then early in 2018.

8. J.P. Crawford, SS Phillies | Level: MLB | 2017 Stats: .241/.351/.405 15 HR, 63 RBI, 5 SB

After struggling for close to a year at the AAA level, Crawford returned from the DL on June 20th to slash .280/.381/.522 with 13 homers and a 13.8% Bb rate. The mainstream lists have always boosted his value to heights it never should have reached with fantasy. The player Crawford is, as opposed to the one we want him to be, has shown itself. He’s an on base machine with above average power, making the funture Phillies star a potential stud in OPS formats. Points leagues will see value from Crawford from the jump, he hits homers, should leadoff, takes tons of walks, and rarely strikes out.

9. Ryan Mountcastle, SS Orioles | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .287/.312/.489 18 HR, 62 RBI, 8 SB

The Orioles top middle infield prospect and 2015 first rounder in many ways is representative of the Orioles recent prospect profile. He’s a talented contact hitter, with little approach, and plus power. Between he and Austin Hays they have two players whose skills should play in 5×5 roto formats, but will take a hit in points, OBP, and OPS leagues. Unlikely to stick at short long term, many feel his future lies in a corner outfield spot, but in 2017 he’s split time between short and third.

10. Jorge Mateo, SS Athletics | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .267/.322/.459 12 HR, 57 RBI, 52 SB

The elite speed option on the list, Mateo was the major get, sort of, in the Sonny Gray to the Yankees deal. He’s been solid for the Athletics AA affiliate Midland, starting all 30 games at short, while slashing .292/.333/.518. The former Yankee farmhand has 170 steals over the last two seasons, and in my opinion is the premier speed prospect in the minors. The power has started to come along this year, producing the best ISO of his career at .192. Mateo will never win a batting title or bat .300, but he has the ability to produce 40+ steals with 15 homer pop.

Next Two: In an effort to provide the next few off the list here’s the next two!

11. Nick Gordon, SS Twins | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .270/.341/.408 9 HR, 66 RBI, 13 SB

Unlike his brother Dee, Nick isn’t a speed demon or even a one category superstar. He might be the better all around player than Dee, certainly providing more pop in his bat, but that’s not saying a ton. If Willy Adames is the poor man’s version of Gleyber, then Gordon is the poor man’s version of Adames. He’s a strong all around player that should be fantasy relevant but never a superstar.

12. Franklin Barreto, SS Athletics | Level: MLB | 2017 Stats: .290/.339/.456 15 HR, 54 RBI, 15 SB

I go hot and cold with Barreto, and after more study of his game, I’m far less optimistic than I’ve been in the past. Here’s why, he has major contact issues, his speed is either under-utilized (A’s problem for Mateo too) or diminishing, his power is there, but only above average not a difference maker, and I’m not sure how long he is for short. His value decrees significantly as an outfielder. I know, I’m contradicting my opening. I worry we might be looking at a .240/17/10 guy, and that’s just not enough to be the difference maker we’ve been hoping for.

Others To Consider: Luis Urias, Issac Paredes, Yu-Cheng Chang, Cole Tucker, Isan Diaz, Wander Javier, Logan Warmoth, Carlos Vargas, Yasel Antuna, Delvin Perez, Mauricio Dubon, Chris Seise

 

Follow me on Twitter @ProspectJesus and Tune on Tuesday’s @ 9PM (EST) to my Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube.  (and join the Crab Army in the chat)

   
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    But Victor Robles!!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: Victor!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        To the Victor goes the Robles!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Never been said before!

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Grey: You’ve coined a new phrase! Wait….

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Literally, can’t imagine anyone else ever has said it, it’s mine!

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Plus, I’m on three glasses of cold brew and nothing else, can you tell?

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Grey: Yeah cold brew in empty stomach will lead to crazy and stomach pains.

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    Check and check!

  2. Sport says:
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    Love the list and that I grabbed Tatis already!

    Raul Mondesi could be a comp to Mateo but a faster track? Do you think it’s a fair comp, or you favor one side over the other?

    Luis Castillo a MUST grab in 10 team dynasty. I’m out of contention this year so I don’t mind just holding him.

    Thoughts on Flaherty so far and fire?

    Thank you for all your work!

    • Sport says:
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      @Sport: I mean Raul Mondesi a faster track to MLB playing time. Probable starting SS for KC next year. Mateo probably late 2018?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Sport: Yes he’ll be in the show in 2018. Mateo might be later in the year.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: Nice Tatis is awesome

      Better power for Mondesi, but better speed, and approach from Mateo. He’s also not been rushed along.

      yes 100% grab Castillo

      Flaherty was okay last night, I think he’ll find his groove.

      • Sport says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: who would you dump? Colin McHugh, Lance McCullers, Mike Clevenger, Michael Fulmer. I list Fulmer because i think he loses value in an inning cap league.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Sport: Go Fulmer

  3. Ryan says:
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    What’s the earliest we could see Tatis playing for the Padres?

    • Raider says:
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      @Ryan: In this same thought, How many Buxtons is he rated on bust potential? can he bring down the whiffs?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Raider: Maybe 2, I think he’s pretty safe, the whiffs will come down.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ryan: Probably late next year, but more than likely early in the 2019 season. Depends what he does the first half next year.

  4. Sport says:
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    Has Ivan Nova dropped out of your top 100 SP? Couldn’t fondness him in your last SP post.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: I think there’s some question of him starting this week. Looks like Sunday now. I’ll add him back next week. I was worried we might see a shut down. Prolly around 75

  5. Alan says:
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    With Sixto’s struggles upon promotion do you see those as normal for a young kid or being exposed a bit?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Alan: Too bad you weren’t here a few weeks ago. Haha

      I think it’s normal struggles, and him tiring out a bit. It’s why I’m cautious with 18-19 year old flamethrowers.

  6. slimbo says:
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    should Willie Calhoun be rostered in a 12 team dynasty where we keep 5 NA players?

    is he an upgrade over isan diaz

    thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @slimbo: Yes and yes

  7. tony says:
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    With robles activated out of my NA spot, who to drop?
    Dynasty league we keep em all.

    Drop souza, doningo santana, harrison bader?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @tony: Souza, damn this choice sucks!

      • tony says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: i know right,

        Tho it will feel good to get rid of some souzas k’s.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @tony: I’m sure!

      • tony says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:
        And my team is over powered

        Grandal
        Goldy
        Rizzo 2b
        Bryant
        Correa

        That’s my infield

        My outfield is
        Adam jones didnt mention him caus is safe
        Santana
        Buxton (i didnt mention him previosly ‘cos i love watch him play

        Also harper in dl

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @tony: Yeah drop Souza-phone

  8. Slappy Jack says:
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    top notch Ralph!
    man I hope you stay a ‘free’ agent because idk if I could afford you if you go Pay2Ralph haha

    holy Tatis number #1 , man your sneak peak hint from the other day about him did this no justice
    I am surprised af and happy af at the same time! (i scooped him a bit ago in my keep-half league)

    I personally kinda yawn reading other people’s brag-a-posts but the razzball team got me on Robles, Acuna, Vlad, Eloy, etc before my leaguemates.. and Hoskins too but in early May I figured I was fine with Miggy, Myers, Hanley and C.Santana at 1B and I dropped him (fml)

    cheers ~
    if i make the big money in ’18 or ’19 , daiquiris all around!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Slappy Jack: Drinks for all!

      Yeah Tatis is the top guy for me, so much to love and he’s just 18! Crazy!!!

      I’ll stay free but click some more adds. Grey pays me enough I’ll quit my real job and write everyday lol

  9. J.R. says:
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    Ralph, what’s happening my man?

    Quick question for you.

    Who would you rather own in a dynasty points league going forward…Amed Rosario or Brendan Rodgers? After reading this write-up, I feel like Rosario might be the better choice due to Rodgers plate discipline/approach and not taking enough walks. Not sure though, Rodgers might have elite power for the position, but then does he stay at SS? I already have young Vlad the Impaler ready for my future 3B spot.

    Thanks.

    • J.R. says:
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      @J.R.: Also with Rodgers, you have to take into the account the “Coors” factor. Really torn on this one.

    • J.R. says:
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      @J.R.: If Rosario qualified for this list, where would he rank?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @J.R.: He’d be 2nd.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J.R.: I love Amed in a points league. Fits the skill set.

  10. Miketron says:
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    Considering a number of these guys won’t actually play short what kind of consideration did you put into likelyness to stick? I would guess about half of these do not play SS in the majors.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Miketron: Almost none. They’re SS now and they shall be ranked as such until they aren’t. Not my job to make those calls, unless I want to. We talk about thisnon the podcast.

      • Miketron says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: That cool however you want to do it buddy. I always enjoy the read. Was just curious, looking forward to the pod!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Miketron: Haha yeah it’s tough cause there’s some guys that might surprise us (Tatis and Adames) and others that I’d be shocked if they don’t move off Torres, Mountcastle, and Bichette. The other part is there’s not the same depth there had been in past years. Two years ago SS was insanely deep.

  11. James says:
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    Hey Ralph, love the column as usual. I have an owner that wants to trade for Daniel Murphy. I’m pretty deep at 2B for the next few years with Jose Ramirez and Eduardo Nunez as well as having Scott Kingery in the pipeline. I have no SP depth and I’m thinking of asking for Triston McKenzie and a first round pick next year. Would you pull the trigger?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @James: Yeah Triston and a first isn’t bad at all. Is that a normal return for a top 25 bat?

  12. Raoul Duke says:
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    What are your thoughts on Carter Kieboom? I know he missed a large part of this season but what do you see his upside being? Also, if you could help me choose one player to keep between Kieboom, Whitley, Julio Urias and Marsh I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Raoul Duke: Keep Whitley if it’s Forrest.

      We talk Kieboom on tomorrow’s podcast. Halp’s higher than I am but he’s as good as the other names listed on the bottom. He’s got some pop and all around skill set.

  13. Chris says:
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    I have Derek Fisher on my dynasty roster but Harrison Bader is available off the wire. Should I keep Fisher or drop him for Bader?

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