RANKED: Every MLB Team’s Shortstop From Worst to Best

30. Richie Martin — Baltimore Orioles

When you have a historically bad season, you often turn to young players in hopes of finding a potential gem. Last year, the Orioles finished 47-115. Martin has spent four years in the Minors — never advancing past AA — but appears to be ticketed for the starting gig in Baltimore this year. Martin hit .300 in ’18, by far the best mark of his career. Martin’s defense is his biggest strength. He is quick, shows good range, and has a very strong arm. If he can continue to hit well, Martin should be able to stick around in Baltimore.

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29. Luis Urias — San Diego Padres

Manny Machado’s arrival in San Diego has re-energized a dormant fanbase. Luckily for Urias, Machado has agreed to play third base. So, until Fernando Tatis Jr. is ready to takeover at short, Urias will get the call next to Machado. Urias is a diminutive player — measuring 5-foot-9, 185 pounds — but has the talent to succeed in the Majors. He is fast, but not overly quick. His instincts in the field should help Urias have a decent career — though it may be at second base and not short. At the plate, Urias has shown a keen eye and the ability to make solid contact. With Tatis hot on his tails, Urias will be pressed to make a good impression to start the season.

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28. Kevin Newman — Pittsburgh Pirates

An up-and-coming player in Pittsburgh’s organization, Newman made his MLB debut last year for the Pirates. The 19th overall pick of the 2015 MLB Draft, Newman appeared in 31 games last season. Newman is a contact hitter who lacks a ton of pop — homers may be infrequent, but he has enough gap power to tally up a few doubles. Newman’s defense is what will carry him in the big leagues. The 25-year-old displays great instincts at the position, making up for an average throwing arm.

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27. JT Riddle — Miami Marlins

Entering his first full season as the Marlins’ everyday shortstop, Riddle hopes to improve on his respectable showing in ’18. After a tough end to the year, Riddle finished with a .231/.277/.377 line, and posted a .653 OPS. The young Marlin needs to cut down on his strikeout rate, but his ability at the plate is evident. In addition to his nine homers, Riddle hit 10 doubles, and four triples. Defensively, Riddle is supremely talented. He has an incredibly strong, accurate arm. He is a good fielder as well, though he can surely improve upon his .983 Fld%.

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26. J.P. Crawford — Seattle Mariners

As recently as ’16, Crawford was regarded as the Phillies’ top prospect. After appearing in 72 games with the Phils over the past two years, the team decided they were ready to move on. Now in Seattle, Crawford will have a golden opportunity to show that he is more than just hype. Crawford is a disciplined hitter — as his walk rate may suggest — and has shown bursts of power in the Minors. While that hasn’t yet translated in the pros, Crawford has tantalizing potential. Despite committing eight errors last season, Crawford projects as an above-average defensive shortstop. Only 24, Crawford has plenty of time left to capitalize on his skills.

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25. Jordy Mercer — Detroit Tigers

The need for the Pirates to develop Kevin Newman spelled the end of the road for Mercer in Pittsburgh. A five-year vet, Mercer will look to bring some leadership and steady play to Detroit. You know what to expect with the 32-year-old — he will hit around .255, strikeout between 80-90 times, and provide middling defense at short. He doesn’t excite you, but Mercer is a serviceable, reliable shortstop.

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24. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. — Toronto Blue Jays

The younger brother of Houston’s Yuli Gurriel, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had a great start to his career last year. In 65 games with the Blue Jays, Gurriel hit 11 HR and posted a .281/.309/.446 line — after hitting .301 between Double-A and Triple-A. Limited range at shortstop dampens the excitement a tad, but Gurriel will be judged more for hitting. One area in which he needs to improve this season — patience at the plate. Gurriel only drew nine walks and was set down on strikes 59 times.

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23. Orlando Arcia — Milwaukee Brewers

After dazzling in his first full season in ’17, Arcua came back down to Earth last year. His batting average dropped to .236 after hitting .277 the year before. His OBP and SLG also fell significantly. The most troubling statistic, however, was his OPS — .576 — falling nearly 200 points. Arcia struggled defensively for the second year in a row, committing 15 errors and finishing the year with an unsightly .964 Fld%. Though he had a down year, Arcia flashed his promise during the postseason. In 10 games, Milwaukee’s shortstop slashed .333/.353/.606 with three homers.

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22. Tim Anderson — Chicago White Sox

The happiest man in Chicago, regarding Manny Machado choosing the Padres, may be Anderson. Anderson has freely admitted he isn’t a finished product on the diamond. Entering his fourth season, Anderson will look to build upon a productive ’18 in which he slugged 20 HR and vastly improved defensively. Anderson has the tools to become an All-Star if he can find consistency at the plate and in the field.

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21. Troy Tulowitzki — New York Yankees

The last few years have not been kind to Tulowitzki. His body has betrayed him, resulting in multiple lost seasons and a diminished star. However, with Didi Gregorius set to miss most of the year following Tommy John surgery, Tulowitzki will start the year as the Yankees’ starting shortstop. Tulo isn’t expected to play like his former self, but if he stays healthy he is capable of hitting 20 homers. There is no telling how good Tulo may be, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt one last time.

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20. Nick Ahmed — Arizona Diamondbacks

Ahmed will never strike fear into opposing teams when he steps up to the plate, but the Massachusetts native is an invaluable member of the Diamondbacks. Ahmed, a lifetime .229 hitter, is coming off of his most productive season at the plate. In a career-high 153 games, Ahmed hit 16 HR and drove in 70 runs. Defensively, however, is where he continues to shine. Ahmed earned his first Gold Glove, and finished the season with a 2.9 dWAR.

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19. Amed Rosario — New York Mets

Yet another young player oozing potential, Amed Rosario is primed to take a big step in ’19. Having just turned 23, Rosario is seen as a future cornerstone of the organization. A product of the Dominican Republic, Rosario’s athletic ability jumps off the screen. In addition to hitting nine homers, Rosario legged out 26 doubles and nine triples. He is also a threat once he reaches base, as evidenced by his 24 steals. After struggling the first half of the year, the 23-year-old got hot late. Better discipline at the plate, and an increase in hard hit balls, led to a near .290 BA over the final two months of the season.

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18. Willy Adames — Tampa Bay Rays

Called up twice during the course of the year ’18 season, Adames made the most out of his second chance. Following his second callup in late July, Adames slashed .305/.383/.435 — finishing the year with 10 homers and a .278 BA. Though he committed a few too many errors, Adames flashed his potential at short. He has above-average arm strength and great hands for the position. Though he isn’t overly quick, Adames’ skill-set makes up for his slight weakness. After an offseason dedicated to improving his strength and approach at the plate, Tampa fans should have high hopes for their young shortstop.

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17. Adalberto Mondesi — Kansas City Royals

The son of Raul Mondesi, Adalberto has progressed through the Minors having to deal with an unusual amount of scrutiny. In limited appearances throughout the ’16-17 seasons Mondesi struggled — to put it mildly. However, the 23-year-old began to live up to expectations last season. He hit 14 HR, stole 32 bases, and posted a .276/.306/.498 line. He also had his best defensive season to date, posting a 1.2 dWAR. Mondesi’s improvement at the plate was a welcomed sight for the Royals. Thanks to his game-changing speed, Mondesi should have a spot in Kansas City for the foreseeable future.

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16. José Peraza — Cincinnati Reds

A former top prospect, Peraza showed a great deal of improvement in his first campaign as Cincinnati’s starting shortstop. Saying Peraza is an aggressive hitter would be understatement. Despite his free-swinging ways, Peraza doesn’t strikeout in abundance. In ’18, Peraza set career-high’s in HR (14), RBI (58), and BB (29). He finished the year with 181 hits — leading the Majors in singles. Peraza must improve on defense if he wants to elevate his game even more, but his age and talent call for hope.

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15. Jorge Polanco — Minnesota Twins

Despite appearing in a mere 77 games a season ago, Polanco was rewarded with a new five-year/$25.75 million extension in February. In limited action, Polanco put together his best year at the plate. He accumulated 87 hits, and finished with career-high’s in BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Since a rough beginning to his career at the plate, Polanco has turned a corner due in large part to a better approach. His 80-game PED suspension was worrisome, but Polanco played well following his time away. He hasn’t been great defensively, however the young shortstop has graded out as a passable option.

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14. Dansby Swanson — Atlanta Braves

Swanson, the No. 1 overall pick in ’15 out of Vanderbilt, hasn’t hit his stride with the Braves thus far.  After hitting only .232 with six homers in his first full season, Swanson slashed .238/.304/.395 with 14 homers in ’18. To this point, Swanson has been too aggressive at the dish. He is swinging at too many pitches out of the zone, resulting in poor at bats and less opportunities over the course of a season. While he displayed an uptick in power last season, the expectations remain higher than his current performance. The most encouraging part of last season, however, was Swanson’s improved defense. One of the worst fielders in ’17, Swanson committed 10 less errors last season and graded far better in the advanced metrics.

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13. Marcus Semien — Oakland Athletics

Semien is a player who you either love or hate. When healthy he has proved to be a solid hitter with good speed. Following his disastrous ’15 season in which he committed 35 errors, Semien has honed his craft…a bit. Semien cut the number of mess-up’s to 20 in ’18, and posted a 2.0 dWAR — the best mark of his career. The 28-year-old provides a decent amount of pop — 15 HR, 35 doubles — but remains strikeout prone.

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12. Elvis Andrus — Texas Rangers

I feel for Andrus now that he won’t have Adrian Beltre by his side — the Rangers immediately become less entertaining — but the All-Star should still thrive in Texas. Ever since Andrus introduced the leg kick to his swing, the 30-year-old has been a different hitter. Before appearing in only 97 games a season ago, Andrus had perhaps the best two-year stretch of his career. He has turned into a consistent hitter — hovering around .300 — and has become a bigger power threat. Andrus will hit 30 or more doubles, has 20 HR potential, and is capable of stealing 25+ bases. Andrus is not the same defender he once was at short, but he did post his best defensive runs saved mark (7) since the ’13 season.

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11. Brandon Crawford — San Francisco Giants

One of many accomplished players to come out of UCLA in recent years, Brandon Crawford has been a constant presence in San Francisco for the better part of a decade. A good, but not great, hitter, Crawford’s biggest claim to fame is his brilliance at short. The recipient of three Gold Glove’s over the past four seasons, Crawford is among the elite fielding his position. For as good as he is in the field, Crawford remains a valuable player due to his consistent approach in the box. With the exception of ’16 in which he hit .275, Crawford has finished each full season between .246-.256. With 17-year-old Marco Luciano still years away from making an impact, Crawford will likely be a starter until he calls it quits.

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10. Paul DeJong — St. Louis Cardinals

If you are a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, or believe they are a contender in ’19, you should keep an eye on DeJong. The 25-year-old has quickly immersed himself into St. Louis’ future. After slashing .285/.325/.532 with 25 HR as a rookie, DeJong hit another 19 HR in his second year. While his offensive numbers didn’t reach the heights of his debut campaign, his defense soared. He posted a +14 defensive runs saved — tied for third in baseball — and looked more comfortable at short.

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9. Jean Segura — Philadelphia Phillies

Three-straight years hitting at least .300 and one 200 hit season later, Jean Segura will finally be seen on a national stage. Segura has been one of the best shortstops over the past five or so years — his 16.0 fWAR is sixth since ’12 — and has been an all-around threat offensively. Double-digit homers, 30-40 doubles, and 20-30 stolen bases per year will get the job done. His defensive value hasn’t come close to matching his offensive value, but Segura deserves more credit. Last year, his second All-Star season, Segura recorded his highest dWAR.

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8. Xander Bogaerts — Boston Red Sox

Only 26 years old and entering his seventh season with the Red Sox, Bogaerts is on the cusp of a huge contract. A two-time World Champion and All-Star, Boston’s shortstop is coming off his best season. He posted a .288/.360/.522 line, hit a career-high 23 HR, topped 100 RBI for the first time, and finished with a .883 OPS. Bogaerts has steadied his batting stance and been more selective at the plate, resulting in much better production. He has plenty of room to improve defensively, but his offensive capabilities will take him a long way.

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7. Trea Turner — Washington Nationals

Turner is easily one of the most versatile players in baseball. He can play shortstop, centerfield, and second base extremely well. Turner made 158 starts at short last year and committed only 12 errors. At the plate, Turner set career-high’s with 19 HR and 73 RBI. He continues to steal bases at an incredible rate — 43-of-52 — and is a constant threat to take an extra-base on a routine hit. A number that should encourage Nationals’ fans is Turner’s 69 walks. If Turner can continue to reach base he’ll be a productive player.

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6. Andrelton Simmons — Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The conversation of ‘who is the best defensive player in baseball’ starts and stops with Andrelton Simmons. Simmons is elite with the glove. His four Gold Glove’s don’t tell the whole story. The Angels’ magician has played seven seasons — each year he has saved at least 18 runs. In ’13, he saved 41. Simmons has the potential to go down as one of the all-time greats defensively. In an exciting twist, Simmons had his best season at the plate in ’18. He slashed .292/.337/.417 with 11 HR and 75 RBI. That type of production on top of stellar defense makes Simmons all the more valuable.

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5. Carlos Correa — Houston Astros

By his standards, Carlos Correa had an awful season. A year removed from posting a .315/.391/.550 line, Correa saw his numbers dip to .239/.323/.405. Part of his downfall was surely his bad back, but the Astros can’t afford another lost season. Correa has missed 105 games since the start of 2017. When healthy, Correa is an MVP-caliber player. He is a force at the plate and a good defender as well. This will be a big season for Correa to prove he can remain in the elite category of shortstops.

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4. Corey Seager — Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers may have lost Machado to the Padres, but they essentially picked up their own MVP candidate with the return of Corey Seager. Seager played in only 26 games in ’18 before being shut down. The 24-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in May and a minor hip procedure in August. Projected to be ready by Opening Day, Seager is a huge part of the Dodgers’ season. Seager is without a doubt one of the most talented players in the game. He has two Silver Slugger’s under his belt, and finished third for the NL MVP as a rookie in ’16. He has played well defensively for most of his career, but it will be interesting to see how he reacts to both surgeries.

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3. Trevor Story — Colorado Rockies

With top prospect Brendan Rodgers nearing his arrival in Colorado, Story entered last season with a lot at stake. After a disappointing sophomore campaign, Story was scintillating in ’18. To go along with 37 HR, 108 RBI, 27 SB, and a .914 OPS, the 26-year-old slashed .291/.348/.567 — all career-high’s. Story wasn’t as good in the field as he was the year prior, but he remained an above-average shortstop according to the metrics. Story’s strikeout rate went from 34.4 to 25.6 percent last season. If he improves further in that regard, the sky is the limit.

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2. Javier Báez — Chicago Cubs

For starters, I acknowledge the fact that Báez is predominantly a second baseman. However, due to Addison Russell’s ongoing suspension, Báez will play most of the season at shortstop. Runner-up for the MVP last season, Báez was an absolute monster up until the final few weeks of the year. He finished the year with a .290/.326/.554 line, 34 HR and 111 RBI. Báez remains a free-swinger at the plate and displays ruthless aggression. Though at times it is to his detriment, Báez is one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. Defensively, there aren’t many better than Báez. He possesses all the tools up the middle and is capable of making the most difficult plays look ordinary. Báez is a stud no matter which position he fields.

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1. Francisco Lindor — Cleveland Indians

There are a ton of talented shortstops in the game today. However, there is one man who stands above the rest — Cleveland’s Lindor. Lindor was always projected to be an above-average hitter, but nobody could have foreseen his recent power surge. After hitting a combined 27 homers over his first two seasons, Lindor has smashed 33 (’17), and 38 (’18) homers the past two years. He has an incredible approach at the plate, allowing the 5-foot-11 shortstop to succeed any which way he wants. In an MLB-high 745 plate appearances, Lindor drew 70 walks. He stole a career-high 25 bases, and led baseball with 129 runs scored. Lindor is no slouch defensively, either. Cleveland’s star produced a +14 defensive runs saved mark, and finished the year with a 2.5 dWAR. Lindor is not only the best shortstop, he is one of the five best players in baseball.

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