Over the last 20 years, as teams have become more advanced and sophisticated with their drafting (and international signing) strategy and player development, a trend has emerged where there’s always a host of high-upside prospects at one premium position.
This has been especially true for shortstops, as there have been two distinct waves of prospects since the 1994 season to arrive in the major leagues and, more importantly, blossom into generational superstars.
The trend began with Alex Rodriguez’s rapid ascent to the major leagues in 1994, marking the arrival of the first of what would be five elite shortstop prospects.
In 1995, Derek Jeter made his debut with Yankees, which was followed by arrivals of Nomar Garciaparra (Red Sox) and Edgar Renteria (Marlins) in 1996. Miguel Tejada reached the major leagues in 1997, which marked the end of an influx of immensely talented prospects.
It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that a new wave of highly touted shortstop prospects ascended upon the major leagues, inevitably drawing comparisons to their trailblazing predecessors.
Hanley Ramirez was the first to debut, reaching the majors in 2005 with the Red Sox but appearing in only two games before headlining an offseason trade to the Marlins for Josh Beckett.
Troy Tulowitzki was the next to arrive in 2006, and Jose Reyes capped the movement with his debut in 2007.
And as tradition now suggests, there should be another wave of highly promising shortstop prospects arriving over the next three seasons.
Well, in case you may not have noticed, it’s already begun.