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Top 40 Shortstop Prospects For 2023

Welcome to my top 40 positional prospect breakdown series. In this series, I will break down each position’s top prospects giving you a deep dive into the top 5 and five additional names to target in deep leagues. My goal is to help you get your minor league systems into shape with upside prospects that can help you now as well as set you up for long-term success. Let’s dive into my top five shortstop prospects and five deep-league names to keep your eyes on. Further down the page are my Top 40 Shortstop Prospects for 2023. For deeper dives into the shortstop rankings check out the 41-236 on the Weekly Streamer Patreon page.

More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers

The Top Five

Jordan Lawlar, ARI

Taken sixth overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2021, Jordan Lawlar hit the ground running shortly after the draft. In his first full season of professional ball, the 19-year-old Lawlar ascended four levels finishing the year in AA Amarillo. Lawlar slashed .303/.401/.509 with 18 doubles, seven triples, 16 home runs, 98 runs, and 39 stolen bases in 100 games played in 2022.

Lawlar showed patience at the plate in 2022 as he had a 13.07% walk rate and a 25.6% strikeout rate in 459 plate appearances. No doubt the results were fantastic for the 19-years-old’s first professional season and the rise through the industry rankings was swift.

Currently, Jordan Lawlar is back in AA Amarillo where he is slashing .220/.355/.440 with three home runs, eight RBIs, and six stolen bases in 14 games. The low average is not a concern for me as he has lowered his strikeout rate from last season to 24.2% (down 4.7%) and has raised his walk rate to an impressive 16.1%. It’s just a matter of time before Lawlar gets his average back up and continues his quick rise to join the Diamondbacks.

Anthony Volpe, NYY

One of the most exciting storylines coming out of spring training was Anthony Volpe making the Opening Day roster for the Bronx Bombers. The New Jersey native grew up a Yankees fan and almost felt like he was destined to wear the pinstripes. Volpe had back-to-back productive seasons in the minor leagues and rose quickly through the system.

In 2021 Volpe ascended two levels finishing in A+ Hudson Valley, posting a combined slash line of .294/.423/.604 with 68 XBH, 27 home runs, 113 runs scored, and stole 33 bases in 109 games. After what seemed to be a video game-like season for Volpe, he ascended two levels again in 2022 finishing the season in AAA Scranton. With a slash line of .249/.342/.460 with 61 XBH, 21 home runs, 86 runs scored, and 50 stolen bases in 132 games.

Anthony showed the Yankees enough to be added to the Opening Day roster and though the start has been slow, Volpe is starting to get acquainted with big-league pitching. Currently, Volpe is slashing .228/.358/.354 with two home runs, 11 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 79 at-bats.

As I said on The Prospect Pod to start the season, have patience as he has been prone to slow starts once he moves up a level. But there is no doubt in my mind that he will adjust and make his mark where a recent Yankee legend once stood.

Jackson Holliday, BAL

Already Jackson Holliday is taking the baseball world by storm! Being the son of former slugger Matt Holliday can’t be easy but Jackson seems to be taking it in stride as he was selected first overall by the Orioles in 2022. Baltimore sent their prized first pick to complex ball then off to A- Delmarva where there he slashed .238/.439/.333 with eight runs, six RBIs, and one stolen base in 12 games. He’s is known for his plus hit tool and discipline at the plate, and both have been on full display here in 2023.

Baltimore assigned Jackson Holliday back to A- Delmarva where he went off! In only 13 games Holliday slashed .392/.523/.667 with two home runs, 15 RBIs, and three stolen bases. As mentioned before, Holliday’s plate discipline was on full display as the 19-year-old had an 18.5% strikeout rate and an impressive 21.5% walk rate in his 65 at-bats in Delmarva.

This fantastic start to the season prompted the Orioles to promote Jackson to A+ Aberdeen. It seems Baltimore wants to move quickly to get this special bat up to the major leagues. We saw the aggressive push with Gunnar Henderson a season ago which begs the question will Jackson Holliday be next?

Brooks Lee, MIN

If Jackson Holliday was one of the best high school shortstops in the 2022 class, the argument could be made that Brooks Lee was the best from the college side. The switch-hitting Lee put up great numbers for Cal Poly and was selected by the Twins eighth overall in the MLB draft. Lee is known for his elite bat-to-ball skills and put on a hitting clinic in his first taste of professional ball.

Over three levels Lee slashed .303/.388/.451 with six doubles, four home runs, and 17 runs in 31 games. In A+ Cedar Rapids (25 of Lee’s 31 games played) Lee had a 14% walk rate and a 15.8% strikeout rate in his 114 plate appearances solidifying scouts reports of advanced plate discipline and excellent pitch recognition.

The Twins sent Lee back to AA Wichita to start the 2023 season and so far he has picked up where he left off last season. In 15 games Lee is batting .290/.343/.484 with six doubles, two home runs, 14 runs scored, and one stolen base in 69 plate appearances this year. The walk rate is a bit low to start the season currently at 5.8% but the strikeout rate is still solid at 20.3%. There is a good chance that Brooks Lee, like Zach Neto with the Angels, could make his major league debut this season if the need for the Twins arises.

Ronny Mauricio, NYM

Last season there is no way you would have seen Ronny Mauricio’s name anywhere near the top 10, probably not even among top 20 shortstops in the minor leagues. So how has he shot up here now?

In 123 games last year in AA Binghamton, Ronny Mauricio slashed .259/.296/.472 with 26 doubles, 26 home runs, 89 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He lowered his strikeout rate to 23.1% down from the year before but once again struggled with drawing walks (4.4% walk rate). After the minor league season, Ronny Mauricio started tinkering with his swing mechanics and started to apply them in the Dominican Winter League. The results where astounding! Mauricio hit .287/.335/.468 in 46 games and won league MVP.

Ronny took what he learned in the DWL into spring training with the Mets and was able to get constant playing time due in large part to most of the team playing in the World Baseball Classic. Mauricio took full advantage of the opportunity, launching three home runs in his first seven at-bats!

Ultimately the Mets had no room for the surging Ronny Mauricio and seeing how he hadn’t played above AA, they sent him to AAA Syracuse to start the year. Now 21 games into the AAA season Mauricio has not slowed down, crushing a .350/.395/.688 slash line with seven doubles, six home runs, 16 RBIs, and four stolen bases in just 86 at-bats.

The question will be where does Ronny Mauricio end up long-term? This past week the Mets started having Mauricio play some games at second base for the first time in his career. During the Dominican winter league, they had Ronny playing third base.

Personally, I think he would be better suited for one of the corner outfield spots. Regardless, the swing looks effortless and the raw power generated by his 6’3” frame is undeniable, the switch-hitting Mauricio’s mechanics look to have him on a crash course with Citi Field at some point this season.

*Since Elly De La Cruz (Ranked Third) was broken down in my Top 40 Third Basemen Prospects article. I have highlighted the next prospect down to give you more insight into another top shortstop option.

Deep League Targets

Cole Young, SEA

19-year-old Cole Young was the talk of the industry this off-season and so far this spring he has not slowed down. Young was taken 21st overall out of high school in the 2022 draft by the Mariners and played 17 games split between complex ball and A- Modesto. Young slashed .367/.423/.517 with two home runs, 14 RBIs, and four stolen bases across 60 at-bats. With a 12.15% strikeout rate and walk rate it’s easy to see why Cole Young impressed dynasty managers over the off season.

The Mariners wanted to see Young get a little more work at A- Modesto in 2023 and so far the results are solid. In 19 games, Young is currently slashing .301/.446/.493 with six doubles, four triples, 18 runs, and six stolen bases in seven attempts. Despite not having any home runs this season, Young has shown his ability to drive the ball for 10 extra-base hits, demonstrating the potential to grow into at least above-average power as he fills out. Young’s continued hot start to the season will see him skyrocket up my rankings on the next update so make your moves before the price continues to soar!

Yiddi Cappe, MIA

No doubt about it, Yiddi Cappe has been a favorite of fellow Fantrax writer Ed “The Irish” Fingerhut for several seasons now and this season he is looking to come into his own. Cappe played in complex ball and low A in 2022, quietly slashing .290/.328/.438 with 12 doubles, nine home runs, 40 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases in 67 combined games played. The solid 13.8% strikeout rate showed off Cappe’s plate discipline and pitch recognition.

The Marlins were impressed with his performance and moved the 20-year-old shortstop up to A+ Beloit to start the 2023 season. In 19 games, Cappe is slashing .324/.375/.563 with six doubles, three home runs, 17 RBIs, and two stolen bases in 80 plate appearances. Yiddi has filled out over last season and already appears to be hitting the ball with more authority, leading me to believe there could be 20-plus home run power for Cappe. Keep an eye on Yiddi this season as he makes his push to help the Marlins build for the future.

Leonardo Balcazar, CIN

One of the biggest risers for me over the off-season has been Leonardo Balcazar of the Cincinnati Reds. The 18-year-old Balcazar put up solid numbers in 2022, playing 42 games in complex ball. Balcazar slashed .322/.411/.476 with six doubles, two triples, four home runs, 26 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases in 168 plate appearances. With a solid walk rate of 10.7% and a strikeout rate of 25% there was a lot to like with Balcazar.

The Reds assigned Balcazar to A- Daytona to start this season. So far he has slashed .333/.446/.483 with four doubles, one home run, nine RBIs, and two stolen bases in 16 games. Picking up where he left off last season Balcazar has bumped up his walk rate to 17.6% but that’s paired with an increased strikeout rate of 28.4%. The strikeout rate needs to come down a bit but is not a major cause for concern at this time. The overall numbers are trending in a good direction for Balcazar and he should be on your radar going forward.

David Hamilton, BOS

If speed is what you are after with your dynasty team look no further then David Hamilton of the Boston Red Sox. In College, Hamilton led the Big 12 conference with 31 steals while at the University of Texas. Fast forward to his first professional season in the Brewers organization and Hamilton stole 52 bags in A+ and AA. Following the trade of Hunter Renfroe that brought Hamilton to Boston, he set a Red Sox stolen base record of 70 in 119 games. In fact, he has only been caught 20 times in 153 attempts..

This season Hamilton has been efficient at the plate, slashing .303/.372/.539 with four home runs, 15 runs, 11 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases in 20 games at AAA Worcester. Hamilton’s walk rate is slightly below his career rate but still solid at 9.2% and the strikeout rate is well below his career rate at 16.1%. Now at 25 years old, Hamilton is poised to make his major league debut this season and frankly with his performance so far at AAA Worcester, and the fact that he is already on the team’s 40-man roster, a call-up could be days away for the speedy Hamilton.

Blaze Alexander, ARI

If you are looking for a close-proximity shortstop that could be a sneaky add at little cost take a look at Blaze Alexander of the Arizona Diamondbacks. At only 23 years old Alexander has moved quietly and steadily through the Diamondbacks organization. In 2022 Blaze moved through two levels ultimately finishing his season in AAA Reno. With a combined .301/.389/.540 with 41 XBH, 20 home runs, 59 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 98 games Alexander took a major step forward. The strikeout rate was manageable at 24.4% and the walk rate was a solid 10.45% over 352 at-bats in 2022.

The Diamondbacks started Alexander back at AAA Reno to start the season and the results were looking promising before Alexander went on the IL with a broken thumb. Blaze was slashing .458/.618/.792 with three doubles, one triple, one home run, six runs scored and one stolen base in 9 games played before the injury. In 34 plate appearances, Alexander was showing excellent plate discipline and pitch recognition as he was walking at a staggering 23.5% and striking out at only 17.6%. To add more value to Alexander despite the injury he is currently on the Diamondbacks 40-man roster. Now only four weeks from returning Alexander is a solid stash or throw-in to a deal who could make his major league debut this summer.

Top 40 Shortstop Prospects

1Jordan LawlarSSARI2120244
2Anthony VolpeSSNYY22Debuted5
3Elly De La CruzSS/3BCIN2120247
4Jackson HollidaySSBAL19202623
5Brooks LeeSSMIN22202429
6Ronny MauricioSS/2BNYM21202389
7Ezequiel TovarSSCOL21Debuted21
8Marcelo MayerSSBOS20202530
9Jordan WestburgSS/3BBAL24202390
10Jackson MerrillSSSDP20202541
11Oswald PerazaSS/2BNYY22Debuted42
12Zach NetoSSLAA22Debuted44
13Noelvi MarteSS/3BCIN21202436
14Brady House3B/SSWSH19202562
15Masyn WinnSSSTL21202443
16Marco LucianoSSSFG21202454
17Ceddanne RafaelaOF/SSBOS25202363
18Luisangel AcunaSS/2BTEX21202499
19Edwin ArroyoSSCIN19202560
20Brayan RocchioSSCLE22Debuted69
21Matt McLainSS/2BCIN232024174
22Cole YoungSSSEA192025187
23Royce LewisSSMIN24Debuted45
24Colson MontgomerySSCHW21202464
25Nick Gonzalez2B/SSPIT23202371
26Adael AmadorSSCOL19202587
27Addison BargerSSTOR232023106
28Jett WilliamsSSNYM192026116
29Yiddi CappeSS/3BMIA202025135
30Joey OrtizSS/2BBAL242023142
31Leonardo BalcazarSSCIN182026267
32Carson WilliamsSSTBR192025176
33Cristian HernandezSSCHC192026117
34Kahlil WatsonSS/2BMIA192025166
35Michael ArroyoINFSEA182026361
36Tyler FreemanSSCLE23Debuted177
37Trey SweeneySSNYY222024192
38Maximo AcostaSS/2BTEX202025266
39David HamiltonSS/2BBOS252023561
40Blaze AlexanderSS/2B/3BARI232023537
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