Ranking the Top 25 Shortstops of the 2022 MLB Season

Joel ReuterNovember 19, 2022

Ranking the Top 25 Shortstops of the 2022 MLB Season

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    Dansby Swanson
    Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    It's time to put a bow on the 2022 MLB season with Bleacher Report's final positional rankings.

    Throughout the year, we released monthly updates to our position-by-position power rankings, selecting the top 10 players at each spot. Now it's time to finalize those rankings while expanding the list to the 25 best at each position.

    Just like the regular-season rankings, past production and future expectations played no part in deciding the order—this is simply a rundown of the best and brightest of 2022.

    To qualify for inclusion, a player simply had to have at least 200 plate appearances. Each player was only included at the position where he played the most innings.

    Let's dive into the top 25 shortstops of the 2022 season.

    Catch up on the Top 25 in 2022 series: Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen

Nos. 25-21

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    Oneil Cruz
    Michael Urakami/Getty Images

    25. Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins

    Rojas hit just .236 with a 72 OPS+ as Miami's starting shortstop, but he was one of the best in baseball defensively. The 33-year-old tied with rookie Jeremy Peña for the lead among all shortstops with 15 DRS, and he ranked sixth at the position in overall defensive value.

    24. Bryson Stott, Philadelphia Phillies

    The No. 67 prospect in baseball at the start of the 2022 season, Stott eventually usurped the starting shortstop job from veteran incumbent Didi Gregorius, who was released in early August. The 25-year-old tallied 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 49 RBI and 12 steals in a 1.3-WAR rookie season.

    23. José Iglesias, Colorado Rockies

    Iglesias provided his usual combination of steady defense and high-contact offense while playing on a one-year, $5 million deal in 2022. The 32-year-old hit .292/.328/.380 with 30 doubles, three home runs and 48 runs scored in 118 games, and his 1.2 WAR marked the seventh year in his career he's been at least a 1-WAR player.

    22. Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds

    Farmer led the Cincinnati offense in hits (134), doubles (25), total bases (203) and RBI (78), and he finished with a 90 OPS+ and 1.0 WAR in 145 games. The 32-year-old probably fits best as a super-utility player, but he's been a passable starting shortstop for the Reds the past two seasons.

    21. Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

    Not many players have the toolbox to rank near the top of the leaderboard in average exit velocity (91st percentile) and average sprint speed (98th percentile), while also showing off one of the strongest arms in baseball. Cruz still has a lot of refining to do, evidenced by his 34.9 percent strikeout rate, but he still finished with a 107 OPS+, 17 home runs, 10 steals and 2.3 WAR in 87 games.

Nos. 20-16

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    Isiah Kiner-Falefa
    Elsa/Getty Images

    20. Javier Báez, Detroit Tigers

    Playing in the first season of a six-year, $140 million deal, Báez was unquestionably a disappointment. The 29-year-old hit .238/.278/.393 for a 93 OPS+ with 27 doubles, 17 home runs, 67 RBI and 64 runs scored. While his 2.5 WAR was tops on a bad Tigers team, his middling .278 on-base percentage ranked 126th among 130 qualified hitters.

    19. Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox

    Anderson missed most of June with a groin strain, then his season ended early in August when he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his hand, so it's tough to slot him any higher in these rankings. The 29-year-old was his usual productive self when healthy, hitting .301 with a 108 OPS+ and earning his second successive All-Star selection, but he only played in 79 games.

    18. Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays

    Another player slowed by injury in 2022, Franco missed time with a quad strain and a fractured hamate bone, ultimately suiting up for just 83 games. He hit .277/.328/.417 for a 117 OPS+ with 29 extra-base hits in 344 plate appearances when healthy, and his 2.6 WAR was still good enough to tie for the sixth-highest total on the Tampa Bay roster.

    17. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, New York Yankees

    Despite his offensive shortcomings, Kiner-Falefa was still a 3.0-WAR player in his first season with the Yankees on the strength of his defense (10 DRS) and speed (22/26 SB). With rising prospects Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza ready to contribute and a robust shortstop market in free agency, it will be interesting to see how he fits into the team's 2023 plans.

    16. J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners

    Crawford hit .306/.390/.450 over his first 45 games and appeared to be headed for a breakout season offensively, but he batted just .215/.312/.285 in 415 plate appearances the rest of the way. The end result was a 100 OPS+ and 2.8 WAR in 145 games in the first season of a five-year, $51 million extension.

Nos. 15-11

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    Bobby Witt Jr.
    Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    15. Elvis Andrus, Oakland Athletics/Chicago White Sox

    Andrus was released by Oakland on Aug. 17 after voicing his displeasure with being benched to avoid a $15 million vesting option based on plate appearances. The White Sox scooped him up two days later as a replacement for the injured Tim Anderson, and he hit .271 with a 116 OPS+ in 43 games with the South Siders. All told, he had a 103 OPS+ and 3.1 WAR in 149 games, and he is now just three hits shy of 2,000 for his career.

    14. Jorge Mateo, Baltimore Orioles

    A top prospect in the Yankees' farm system once upon a time who was sent to Oakland in the Sonny Gray trade, Mateo bounced around a bit before finally getting a chance at an everyday job in Baltimore. His combination of speed (AL-leading 35 SB), power (45 XBH) and elite defense (14 DRS) helped offset his .221/.267/.379 batting line and made him a 3.4-WAR player in 2022.

    13. Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals

    A bit overshadowed by some of the other American League rookie standouts, Witt posted a 102 OPS+ with 31 doubles, 20 home runs, 80 RBI, 82 runs scored and 30 steals. His middling on-base percentage (.298 OBP) and brutal defensive metrics at shortstop (-19 DRS, -8.4 UZR/150) keep him from ranking any higher, but all signs still point to future stardom.

    12. Amed Rosario, Cleveland Guardians

    An underrated contributor on an upstart Cleveland team, Rosario hit .283/.312/.403 for a 106 OPS+ with 26 doubles, nine triples, 11 home runs, 71 RBI, 86 runs scored and 18 steals in a 4.2-WAR season. That said, his biggest improvements came on the defensive side as he went from a borderline liability in 2021 (-9 DRS, 1.6 UZR/150) to well-above average in 2022 (6 DRS, 7.0 UZR/150).

    11. Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs

    One of the few bright spots on a disappointing Cubs team, Hoerner hit .281/.327/.410 for a 107 OPS+ with 22 doubles, 10 home runs, 55 RBI, 60 runs scored and 20 steals. The 25-year-old was also a standout with the glove (11 DRS), though it's worth wondering if he'll be shifting to second base next year to pave the way for a high-profile free-agent signing.

10. Ha-Seong Kim, San Diego Padres

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 21: Ha-Seong Kim #7 of the San Diego Padres turns a double play during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in game three of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 21, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    During his final season with the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO in 2020, Ha-Seong Kim hit .306/.397/.524 with 24 doubles, 30 home runs, 109 RBI and 23 steals in 138 games. That earned him a four-year, $28 million contract from the San Diego Padres.

    The transition stateside was a bumpy one in 2021. He hit just .202 with a 73 OPS+ in 298 plate appearances, but he was still a 2.1-WAR player thanks to his standout defense on the left side of the infield.

    With Fernando Tatis Jr. watching for the sidelines in 2022, Kim took over as San Diego's everyday shortstop. The 27-year-old hit .251/.325/.383 for a 107 OPS+ with 43 extra-base hits and 12 steals, and he was also a finalist for NL Gold Glove honors en route to a 5.1-WAR season that ranked second to Manny Machado (6.8) on the San Diego roster.

9. Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays

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    TORONTO,  - OCTOBER 08:   Bo Bichette #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays doubles in the fifth inning during the Wild Card Series game between the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Saturday, October 8, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Thomas Skrlj/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    Thomas Skrlj/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    After a slow start to the season, Bo Bichette caught fire after the All-Star break, hitting .337/.378/.543 with 90 hits in 67 games during the second half.

    The 24-year-old wound up leading the American League in hits (189) for the second year in a row, and he ultimately filled up the stat sheet once again, batting .290/.333/.469 with 43 doubles, 24 home runs, 93 RBI and 91 runs scored.

    His 127 OPS+ trailed only Carlos Correa (140) and Xander Bogaerts (131) among qualified shortstops, but his defense (-16 DRS, -28.0 UZR/150) keeps him from ranking any higher. It may be time for Toronto to consider shifting him off shortstop.

8. Corey Seager, Texas Rangers

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    DETROIT, MI -  JUNE 16:  Corey Seager #5 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Detroit Tigers during the fourth inning at Comerica Park on June 16, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
    Duane Burleson/Getty Images

    The Texas Rangers gave Corey Seager a massive 10-year, $325 million deal last offseason as part of their new $500 million middle infield alongside fellow free-agent signing Marcus Semien.

    The longtime Los Angeles Dodgers standout got off to a slow start, but he eventually rounded into form and slugged a career-high 33 home runs while posting a 119 OPS+ with 24 doubles, 83 RBI, 91 runs scored and 4.0 WAR in 151 games.

    The 28-year-old hit .273/.351/.550 for a .901 OPS with 22 home runs at home, so playing out the next nine seasons in Arlington seems like it's going to work to his benefit.

7. Willy Adames, Milwaukee Brewers

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    MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 21: Willy Adames #27 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a solo home run against the New York Mets in the sixth inning during a game at American Family Field on September 21, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    The midseason addition of Willy Adames in 2021 helped transform the Milwaukee Brewers lineup, and he continued to be one of the most productive shortstops in baseball in his first full season with the team.

    The 27-year-old posted a 112 OPS+ with 31 doubles, 31 home runs, 98 RBI and 4.4 WAR in 139 games, and his month-by-month splits were among the most consistent of any player during the 2022 season.

    One of the pitchers sent to Tampa Bay in the deal to acquire Adames last year was Drew Rasmussen, and he went 11-7 with a 2.84 ERA in 146.0 innings in 2022. It's shaping up to be one of the rare win-win deals that truly benefits both sides.

6. Jeremy Peña, Houston Astros

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    HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27:  Jeremy Peña #3 of the Houston Astros poses for a photo during the 2022 World Series Workout Day at Minute Maid Park on Thursday, October 27, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    With rankings like this, it's important not to overvalue a few weeks in October relative to what a player did during the entire regular season, but it's also impossible to ignore the postseason run Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña put together.

    The 25-year-old rookie won NLCS and World Series MVP, hitting .345/.367/.638 with five doubles and four home runs in 13 playoff games, and he has a chance to be a star up the middle in Houston for the next decade.

    He also became the first rookie shortstop ever to win a Gold Glove, and while his regular-season offensive numbers didn't come close to his postseason output, he still posted a 101 OPS+ with 20 doubles, 22 home runs, 63 RBI and 4.8 WAR in 138 games.

    In order to take the next step, he'll need to drastically improve on his 3.9 percent walk rate and .289 on-base percentage, but even as it stands, the list of Gold Glove-caliber shortstops with 20-homer power is a short one.

5. Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 13: Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two-run home run as he rounds the bases against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning of the game at Target Field on September 13, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 6-3. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
    David Berding/Getty Images

    It was another year of elite-level production from Carlos Correa after he surprised the industry and signed a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Minnesota Twins in free agency last winter.

    The 28-year-old hit .291/.366/.467 with 24 doubles, 22 home runs and 64 RBI, and his 140 OPS+ led all qualified shortstops. The 2021 Gold Glove winner also played a terrific shortstop once again, and all of that made him a 5.4-WAR player.

    He opted out of the final two years of his contract to test the free-agency waters once again, and his age and two-way production make him a prime candidate for a massive long-term deal or another short-term, high AAV contract.

4. Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 28: Dansby Swanson (7) bats during the Saturday afternoon MLB game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins on May, 28, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Carlos Correa might be the better long-term investment in free agency, but Dansby Swanson was the superior all-around shortstop during the 2022 season.

    Swanson, 28, hit .277/.329/.447 for a career-high 115 OPS+, adding 32 doubles, 25 home runs, 96 RBI and 99 runs scored while leading the Atlanta roster with 177 hits and chipping in 18 steals.

    He also earned his first All-Star selection and won Gold Glove honors in a 5.7-WAR season that was more than double his previous high mark. That career-best performance could not have come at a better time, and a nine-figure deal is not out of the question in his first foray into free agency.

3. Francisco Lindor, New York Mets

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 29:  Francisco Lindor #12 of the New York Mets in action against the Houston Astros during their game at Citi Field on June 29, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    After a disappointing first season with the New York Mets relative to his own lofty standards, Francisco Lindor bounced back and again joined the top tier of shortstops with a terrific all-around season.

    He hit .270/.339/.449 for a 125 OPS+, up from a league-average 100 OPS+ a year ago, and tallied 25 doubles, 26 home runs, 107 RBI and 98 runs scored in a 5.4-WAR season that was his highest single-season mark in four years.

    The 29-year-old has nine years and $306.9 million remaining on the extension he signed after joining the Mets, so they'll be counting on more of the same going forward as the centerpiece of the roster.

2. Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 22:  Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during the game against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium on August 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The Mets defeated the Dodgers 7-2. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    Outside of Shohei Ohtani who can literally do it all, Trea Turner has a strong case for being the most well-rounded player in baseball.

    The 29-year-old hit .298/.343/.466 for a 121 OPS+ with 39 doubles, 21 home runs, 100 RBI, 101 runs scored, 27 steals in 30 attempts and 4.9 WAR. He provides batting average, power production, speed and quality defense at shortstop, and he also proved durable enough to play in 160 games.

    Even if he loses a step and has to shift to second base, his offensive profile should allow him to continue being an impact player well into whatever massive deal he winds up signing in free agency this winter.

1. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

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    BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox runs out a home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning at Fenway Park on September 26, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
    Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

    Even with less power production than we've seen in years past, Xander Bogaerts still took home his second successive Silver Slugger Award and the fifth of his career.

    He hit .307/.377/.456 for a 131 OPS+ with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBI and 84 runs scored, but it was his defensive work alongside his usual stellar offensive season that helped move him to the No. 1 spot in these rankings.

    For the first time in his career, he posted positive defensive metrics (4 DRS, 4.7 UZR/150) after it looked for years like an eventual move to third base was inevitable. That helped him rack up 5.8 WAR in 150 games, and it made opting out of the final three years and $60 million of his contract a no-brainer. Where will he land this winter?

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.