Wrapping up the infield, shortstop is one of the most exciting positions in fantasy baseball. The position is filled with five-tool superstars and elite fantasy contributors. Perhaps more importantly, the prospect landscape is stacked with talent. Many prospects will eventually move away from shortstop but their bats tend to be strong enough to play at any position.
As has been the case with many of my dynasty rankings, one top name here will likely fall off the list next year. Fernando Tatis is locked into his outfield role and will lose shortstop eligibility in 2024 barring a change. Several other top stars will battle for the title of top dynasty shortstop and a few already have an edge over the rest of the competition.
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- Up top in Tier 1 with Tatis sit Wander Franco and Bo Bichette, the two leading candidates to take over the top spot. Once considered a generational prospect, Franco has taken a big step forward in 2023. He’s slashing .288/.351/.500 with seven homers and 12 steals through 41 games. Those seven home runs have already matched a career best and he logged just 10 career stolen bases in 153 games before this season. The talent has never been a question but a healthy Franco has quickly become a high-end power/speed threat. Bichette, while a few years older, has already shown consistent big-league production. The 25-year-old owns a career .299/.342/.492 slash line and has significantly improved his strikeout rate (15.7%) this season. However, he went from 25 steals in 2021, to 13 in 2022, and now just one so far in 2023. Even with the drop in production on the bases, Bichette’s strong batted-ball data makes him a safe option at shortstop for the foreseeable future.
- A shortstop prospect that could headline this list in a few years is Jackson Holliday. The top pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, he’s living up to the hype so far with a .349/.485/.576 slash line, nine steals, and 14 extra-base hits across 29 games at Single-A and High-A. He doesn’t turn 20 until this offseason and looks to be trending toward a promotion to Double-A before the end of the year. Holliday has also displayed an advanced approach, posting a walk rate of over 20% at each level. The Orioles continue to churn out big-name prospects and Holliday could be the best of the bunch.
- Nico Hoerner has really improved his dynasty stock over the last two seasons. He’s hitting .303 with a .742 OPS and 12 steals through 35 games. It doesn’t seem like he’s going to find another level in the power department; he has just 15 career homers through 282 games, with 10 of them coming in 2022. However, with a strikeout rate just above 10% and flashes of elite speed, Hoerner can be a classic hit-first middle infielder. As the Cubs’ lineup continues to improve, the 26-year-old has become a 100-run threat and is still on pace to swipe at least 35 bags, even with some slight regression.
- Tier 5 is home to a pair of debuting rookies in Zach Neto and Casey Schmitt. After just 44 career minor-league games, Neto jumped straight from Double-A to the MLB to become the Angels’ shortstop. There’s obviously been an adjustment period as he’s registered just a .673 OPS to date. However, the team clearly has faith in his long-term outlook for him to make the jump so quickly. Prior to the promotion, Neto slashed .444/.559/1.374 through seven games with Double-A Rocket City. At the very least, his strong glove will keep him in the lineup for now. Schmitt on the other hand has hit the ground running with the Giants. After slashing .313/.352/.410 with Triple-A Sacramento, he’s posted a 1.286 OPS with six extra-base hits since being promoted. Schmitt’s power has been inconsistent throughout his career but the hit tool has steadily improved. His lowered K-rate has been a driving factor this season; he’ll need to maintain those gains to hold a high batting average floor.
- One of the biggest surprises so far in 2023 has been the emergence of Taylor Walls. He posted an abysmal .172/.268/.285 slash line through 466 plate appearances in 2022, only holding on to playing time due to a strong glove and injuries to Wander Franco. Now, Walls is slashing .277/.365/.564 through 33 games with 13 extra-base hits (seven homers) and nine steals. His hard-hit rate has dramatically improved and, despite a strikeout rate over 20%, he rarely chases. The 26-year-old has never hit more than 10 homers in a season at any level but was a legitimate stolen base threat in the lower minor-league levels. Walls’ power likely won’t stick but the breakout season should result in some consistent production in the steals department.
- Entering the year with massive expectations, Anthony Volpe is still searching for his footing at the MLB level. He’s getting every day playing time but is slashing just .213/.299/.381 through 174 plate appearances. On the bright side, he’s already swiped 13 bags with 12 extra-base hits (six homers). The potential is being shown in glimpses but the near-30% strikeouts rate is weighing him down.
- Carlos Correa’s early-season struggles have continued as we approach June. The 28-year-old shortstop owns a .203/.274/.386 slash line with six homers and nine doubles. He’s striking out 24% of the time (the highest of his career) but his barrel rate is a career-high 13% with a 44.3% hard-hit rate.
- Marcelo Mayer has looked like his top-prospect billing at the High-A level this year, slashing .315/.395/.537 with four homers, four steals, and 10 doubles. The hit tool is beginning to show and he should earn a promotion to Double-A this summer.
- Carson Williams has all the tools to fly up prospect rankings. He ripped 19 homers with 28 steals at Single-A last season but a 32.1% strikeout rate was cause for concern. Now, the 19-year-old has brought it just under 30%, resulting in a .911 OPS with 12 extra-base hits and six steals.
2023 Dynasty Shortstop Rankings
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SDP||24.4|
|4||Bobby Witt Jr.||KCR||22.9|
|12||Elly De La Cruz||CIN||21.4|