Ranking MLB's 10 Best Defensive Shortstops

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Ranking MLB's 10 Best Defensive Shortstops
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves is far and away the best defensive shortstop in the majors.

Shortstop is, perhaps, the most complex fielding position in baseball, both in terms of execution and defensive statistics. In the MLB, while no one is even close to being as skilled as Dutch phenom Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves, all-around powerhouse Troy Tulowitzki and defensive specialist Pedro Florimon make a valiant effort.

What follows is a list of the top 10 shortstops in the MLB. While a handful are big-name stars with well-rounded games, the majority are glove wizards who fly under the radar. To be an elite shortstop, you need sure hands, a rocket for an arm, consistency, double-play adroitness and athleticism, and the guys who made the cut all embody this cocktail of skills to a certain degree.

I used three general criteria to rank shortstops, each with its own subset(s):

1. Composite advanced metrics: Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), defensive Wins Above Replacement (dWAR) and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS)

2. Component advanced metrics: Range Factor (RF) and Double Play Runs above average (DPR)

3. Metrics from the days of yore: Fielding percentage

The composite metrics are the most comprehensive (and wildly complicated) statistics, so I weighed them more than the rest when making my choices. Component metrics are significantly more specific, and so are less telling of a shortstop's overall ability, but they did factor into my decisions somewhat.

And because I'm a traditionalist, good old fielding percentage has its time of day here and was considered as much as the component metrics.  

Here are the top shortstops right now in baseball, in ascending order.

Statistics are accurate as of July 4.

Statistics are from ESPN and FanGraphs.

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