Could you name the top 5 shortstops by ESPN’s WAR (wins above replacement) during the 2010 season? Probably not. The obvious, ranking in at number 1, was then Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. After that? It is like pulling names out of a hat. Number 2 was Alexei Ramirez who has carved out a solid career. 3 was journeyman Alex Gonzalez who surprisingly hit 23 home runs after hitting only 8 in the season before. Number 4 and 5 were Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac who both played for the Tampa Bay Rays at the time.
It seems that the MLB has turned a new leaf on the black hole on the field that used to be shortstop. Now, shortstop hosts some of the most talented, young, and dynamic players in the game. Young being the most important. The MLB has gone under a youth revolution and shortstop is at the very center of it. So which stars under 30 shine brightest to the left of second base?
1.Corey Seager, Dodgers (22 years old) – Could’ve been MVP if not for Kris Bryant’s monster season. It has been assumed that because of his 6’4″ Seager will end up like Alex Rodriguez by eventually moving to the hot corner but as of now Seager is a shortstop. A .308 average, 6.1 War, and 26 homers make Seager one of the best young players in the game so get used to seeing his face at the MLB All-Star game for years to come.
2. Francisco Lindor, Indians (23 years old) – Putting Lindor up at the second spot here could be up for debate by I love the way this guy plays. Fast in the field and base paths while being patient at the plate. Out of all the shortstops Lindor has one of if not the best glove while posting a .301 average in his second season. By the way, he led his team to the World Series and was consistently the best player on the field for the tribe.
3. Trea Turner, Nationals (23 years old) – When A.J. Preller became the general manager for the San Diego Padres he shipped out some of his prized prospects including Turner and damn he messed up by trading him to Washington. Turner playing mostly second base and center field for the Nats this past season is presumably going to fill the shortstop hole this season with the acquisition of Adam Eaton and the departure of Danny Espinosa. In 73 games Turner stole 33 bags, hit .342 , and with 13 home runs he helped spark the Nationals lineup every time his name was written on the lineup card. We will have to see how Turner’s defense is at SS but assuming he does as good as he did at second, he will just be fine.
4. Carlos Correa, Astros (22 years old) – Playing only 99 games in 2015 Correa won the AL rookie of the year and even caught some MVP votes. So why is he down at number 4 below a guy who barely played shortstop last year? Well Correa really disappointed last year. A ton of experts pegged him to be the MVP of the 2016 season but he really did not come close. It may have been a sophomore slump but Correa struggled at points. On a positive note, Correa has the highest ceiling of any of these players. A five tool player with loads of power has been drawing comparisons to a young A-Rod ever since coming into the league. I bet Correa is going to have a bounce back campaign from a season ago and can maybe shoot himself up to number 1 on this list, making me look like an idiot. With his defense and consistent 30+ homer potential, he is destined for stardom.
5. Xander Boagerts, Red Sox (24 years old) – This guy can hit. After a bad rookie season mixing and matching between third and short, “Bogey” was placed at short for the full 2015 season and ended up hitting .320. Xander had another great season in 2016 even adding some pop to his bat (21 home runs) but he really slid in the second half only hitting .253 after the All-Star break. Xander will always be just an average defender but with the capability to hit over .300 every season with some 20+ dingers he will be put in the Red Sox lineup for a very long time.
Honorable mention: Addison Russell, Aledmys Diaz, Trevor Story
A few years ago Russell, Diaz, and Story would be at the top of this list but they aren’t the players the names mentioned above are. The shortstop position and Major League Baseball better be ready to see these names for a long time. The future is very bright for these young bucks.