B/R's MLB 20 for '20: Projecting Top 20 Shortstops in 2020

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2015

B/R's MLB 20 for '20: Projecting Top 20 Shortstops in 2020

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    Baseball is a tough sport to predict on a day-in and day-out basis, and it becomes exponentially more difficult to predict looking years into the future. But that's exactly what we're going to be doing here.

    The following is the fourth installment in a series we've dubbed, "B/R's MLB 20 for '20." In this series, we'll attempt to project the top 20 players at each position five years down the road in 2020.

    We've completed catchersfirst basemen and second basemen so far, so let's move on to the shortstops. Players will be graded according to a 100-point scale:

    • Offense (55 points): Once again, offense will be worth 55 points, as a shortstop's offensive skill generally means the difference between being a utility infielder and an everyday player. Contact rate, batting average, approach, on-base skills and overall power were all taken into account.
    • Defense/Speed (40 points): Defense up the middle is of supreme importance, and the shortstop is the captain of the infield, so defense was certainly important here. Speed on the bases was also factored heavily into this section.
    • Upside Factor (5 points): On a scale from 1-5, players were given a bonus based on their upside moving forward. A three-point bonus indicated that a player is expected to be at essentially the same level five years from now, while more or less than that indicated expected progression or regression.
    • Tiebreakers: On more than one occasion, players graded out with the same overall point total. In that case, the first tiebreaker was who had the higher upside factor. If that still didn't solve things, the second tiebreaker was overall offensive score.

    This position in particular was a tough one to rank, for the simple reason that it's so weak at the big league level and so loaded in the minors at the moment. Shortstop is a young man's position, as players are rarely still producing at a high level beyond their age-32 season at the position.

    All basic statistics and WAR numbers come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, while advanced stats were pulled from FanGraphs. Stats are currently through July 15.

    Hopefully that paints a clear picture of how players were graded and where the information is coming from. So with that out of the way, let's get things started.

Honorable Mentions and Notable Veteran Omissions

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    Next Five (Plus Three)

    Javier Baez, CHC (top-10 potential, but too many questions at this point)
    Alex Bregman, HOU
    Didi Gregorius, NYY
    Ketel Marte, SEA
    Jorge Mateo, NYY
    Amed Rosario, NYM
    Jean Segura, MIL
    Trevor Story, COL

    Excluded Due to Age and Expected Regression

    Erick Aybar, LAA
    Brandon Crawford, SF
    Ian Desmond, WAS
    Alcides Escobar, KC
    J.J. Hardy, BAL
    Jhonny Peralta, STL
    Jose Reyes, TOR
    Troy Tulowitzki, COL

20. Ozhaino Albies, Atlanta Braves

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    2020 Age: 23

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    27/55

    The No. 5 prospect in the Atlanta Braves system entering the year and ranked outside the top 100 overall, Ozhaino Albies jumped up to No. 32 overall in the midseason rankings, according to Baseball America.

    The Futures Game participant hit .364/.446/.444 in his pro debut last year, and he's continued to impress while making the jump to full-season ball, hitting .331/.387/.426 for Single-A Rome.

    He makes a ton of contact (11.1 percent career strikeout rate) and has shown a willingness to take a walk (9.4 percent career walk rate), but he couldn't beat Juan Pierre in a Home Run Derby.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    31/40

    "Albies has a strong arm, and scouts believe he has the skills necessary to remain at shortstop," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch. He's undersized at 5'9" and 150 pounds, so arm strength would be the big question.

    After stealing 22 bases in 57 games last season, Albies has swiped 25 in 33 attempts so far this season as he continues to display some of the better wheels in the minors.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Albies has started off his pro career with a bang, and he's shot up prospect ranking lists as a result. He'll always be a line-drive hitter who relies heavily on his speed, but his plus plate discipline gives him a chance to be something special.

    2020 Overall Projection

    63/100

    With Andrelton Simmons signed through the 2020 season, there's a chance Albies could either shift positions or be used as a trade chip. He's still just 18 years old, though, so a lot could change in the years to come. For now, he's a prospect worth keeping an eye on with some eye-opening tools.

19. Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox

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    2020 Age: 27

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    32/55

    Tim Anderson was taken with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2013 draft, one slot after the Philadelphia Phillies selected a franchise shortstop of their own in J.P. Crawford.

    Anderson went straight to Single-A after signing, and he's already reached Double-A this season where he's currently hitting .300/.330/.399 with 15 doubles in 333 at-bats.

    His approach still needs some work (4.5 percent career walk rate22.6 percent career strikeout rate), but he has the potential to hit for a solid average with 12-15 home runs down the line.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    26/40

    Anderson is athletic enough to play shortstop, and he has a strong arm, but after a 34-error season last year, it's clear he still has work to do in the field. He's been marginally better this season, committing 16 errors for a .957 fielding percentage.

    His wheels do earn him some significant points here, as he's already stolen 30 bases in 37 attempts this season. Long term, his tools may necessitate a move to center field, but we'll call him a shortstop for now.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Anderson is still more of a project than some of the other top shortstop prospects in the league, but the 22-year-old is an impressive all-around athlete capable of making a big jump forward at some point.

    2020 Overall Projection

    63/100

    Alexei Ramirez has been awful this season (.541 OPS, -0.4 WAR), and he has a $10 million option for next year before he becomes a free agent. There is really no other competition for the shortstop job in the White Sox system, so it's just a matter of how Anderson develops in the next year or so.

18. Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs

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    2020 Age: 30

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    34/55

    Starlin Castro has struggled mightily this season, hitting .247/.283/.321 and showing even less plate discipline than normal with only 15 walks in 361 plate appearances.

    It's easy to be frustrated by his inconsistent production here in his sixth big league season, but this is also a guy who piled up 846 career hits before his 25th birthday.

    When he's at his best, Castro is an aggressive hitter who makes consistent contact and uses the whole field with 30-double and 15-home run potential. At his worst, he's an easy strikeout on pitches out of the zone and a non-factor for long stretches.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    27/40

    Castro has come a long way defensively since a disastrous 2011 season when he committed 29 errors and graded out terribly from a metric standpoint (-10 DRS, -7.5 UZR/150), but he'll never be more than an average shortstop with good range.

    After back-to-back 20 steal seasons in 2011 and 2012, he has just 17 steals the past two-and-a-half seasons, and he's below average from an athleticism standpoint for a shortstop.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    There's no reason Castro can't return to his 2014 level of production (.292/.339/.438, 33 2B, 14 HR), especially considering he's still just 25 years old. That's probably his ceiling, though, given his overly aggressive approach.

    2020 Overall Projection

    64/100

    At some point in the very near future, Addison Russell is going to take over at shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, regardless of whether Castro is still on the roster.

    Owed a reasonable $40.43 million over the next four seasons, Castro could be an attractive trade chip if he starts hitting again. If not, a move to second base could be in his future, but we'll lump him in with the shortstops until that happens.

17. Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers

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    2020 Age: 30

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    30/55

    Signed by the Boston Red Sox to a $6.25 million bonus after defecting from Cuba, Jose Iglesias was sent to the Detroit Tigers in a three-team deal that also involved Jake Peavy and Avisail Garcia.

    After hitting .303/.349/.386 with 21 extra-base hits as a rookie in 2013 to finish second in AL Rookie of the Year voting, he missed all of last season with stress fractures in both of his shins.

    Back healthy this season, he's an All-Star for the first time on the strength of a .314/.364/.373 line. He has virtually no powergap, home run or otherwisebut he should be able to maintain a plus average in the years to come.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    32/40

    While they struggled to find any sort of offensive production at the shortstop position in Iglesias' absence last year, what the Tigers really missed was his defense. He has plus range (11.4 UZR/150 career), a strong arm and is just a smooth all-around fielder.

    He's ran a bit more this season, stealing nine bases in 15 attempts, but his speed and base-running abilities are both about average.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    Iglesias, 25, has already been something of a surprise from an offensive standpoint, and it's hard to see him improving on the numbers he's put up so far this year. That being said, he should still be a plus defender and good contact hitter five years down the road.

    2020 Overall Projection

    65/100

    The Tigers have traded away both Willy Adames and Eugenio Suarez since the trade deadline last year, so there's not much in the way of short-term or long-term competition for Iglesias at the shortstop position as things currently stand.

16. Adeiny Hechavarria, Miami Marlins

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    2020 Age: 31

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    31/55

    The Miami Marlins have been incredibly patient with Adeiny Hechavarria, running him out on a regular basis in 2013 despite a .227 average and dismal 56 OPS+. And that patience is starting to pay off.

    He improved his production to an 85 OPS+ last season and is now hovering around league average with a .278/.315/.377 line that includes 13 doubles and a new career high of four home runs.

    His career 4.7 percent walk rate means he's probably never going to be a plus on-base guy, but if he can hit .270-280 with 25 doubles and 10 home runs, he'd be a solid contributor at the position.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    32/40

    Hechavarria reached the big leagues quickly because of his glove, and he's been one of the best defenders in the league so far this season. He is currently third among all qualified shortstops with a 15.7 UZR/150.

    He's a terrific athlete with good speed, but not much of a base stealer. He has just three stolen bases so far this season and a career high of 11. He did have 10 triples last season and 21 total over the past three seasons.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    At 26 years old, Hechavarria is just entering his prime, and he's managed to step his offense up to respectability in the process. It appears he may develop a bit more power than we've seen so far, but he's more or less a finished product at this point.

    2020 Overall Projection

    66/100

    Hechavarria was one of a number of players the Marlins opened talks with during the offseason on a potential long-term extension, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. As of now, he's under team control through the 2018 season.

15. Raul Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals

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    2020 Age: 24

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    28/55

    Raul Adalberto Mondesi is the son of 13-year big league veteran Raul Mondesi, but he has a significantly different skill set than his father, who slugged 271 home runs in his career.

    The younger Mondesi gets decent pop from his 6'1" and 185-pound frame, so he could turn into a 15-home run threat, but that will be a ways down the road. For now, the switch-hitter has a smooth line-drive swing and gap power.

    The Kansas City Royals have been incredibly aggressive with Mondesi, bumping him up to Double-A this season even after he hit just .211/.256/.354 in a full season at High-A last year. He has the tools, but his approach needs significant work, evidenced by his 5.6 percent walk rate and 23.3 percent strikeout rate for his career.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    33/40

    The 19-year-old Mondesi may still be finding his footing offensively, but his glove is well ahead of the curve, and he has the range, hands and arm to be a terrific defender.

    He also has plus speed, stealing 59 bases in 77 attempts over the course of his time in the minors. If he hits enough, he could develop into a 25-30 steal guy once he reaches the majors.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Mondesi has as wide a range between floor and ceiling as any shortstop prospect in the league, and it remains to be seen if the Royals' ultra-aggressive approach will help or hurt him long term. There is legitimate star potential here, though.

    2020 Overall Projection

    66/100

    Alcides Escobar will be 33 years old in 2020, and he's only signed through 2017 if his two team options are exercised, so Mondesi would ideally be ready to step into the everyday role by 2018.

14. Franklin Barreto, Oakland Athletics

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    2020 Age: 24

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    33/55

    One of the key pieces heading to Oakland in the deal that sent All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays, Franklin Barreto has more than held his own as a 19-year-old at the High-A level so far this season.

    After hitting .311/.384/.481 in Low-A last season, he's continued to impress at the plate this year with a .302/.334/.482 line that includes 21 doubles and nine home runs in 301 at-bats.

    Barreto has more power than his 5'9", 175-pound frame might suggest, and while he doesn't walk much, he does make consistent contact so his aggressive approach is not necessarily a bad thing.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    29/40

    After a 26-error season last year, Barreto already has 32 errors in 82 games so far this season, so his defense is clearly still developing.

    "He has good range and a strong arm, but lacks the natural actions of a shortstop. He's just a teenager, however, and will get every opportunity to prove he can stick at the position," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    He has good speed, stealing 29 bases in 34 attempts last season, and that should help him on both sides of the ball.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    While Kendall Graveman has been solid so far, Barreto is the piece that will ultimately determine how the Josh Donaldson trade plays out for the Oakland Athletics. Still just 19 years old, he has plenty of time to develop into a star and the tools to do it.

    2020 Overall Projection

    67/100

    Barreto has a significantly higher ceiling than current Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien, so he shouldn't have much trouble overtaking him once he's deemed big league ready.

13. Daniel Robertson, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    36/55

    Acquired in the deal that sent Ben Zobrist to the Oakland Athletics, Daniel Robertson saw his stock at an all-time high after a breakout offensive season in 2014.

    In a full season at the High-A level, he hit .310/.402/.471 with 37 doubles, 15 home runs and 60 RBI to establish himself as one of the top offensive shortstop prospects in the league.

    "Robertson employs a mature approach at the plate. He has a short swing, uses the whole field to hit and is adept at working walks. His bat speed and feel for hitting give him solid power potential that he's already started to tap into," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    26/40

    Robertson has below-average speed, which has led some to believe he'll eventually slide over to second or third base down the road. He makes up for his lack of speed with soft hands and a plus arm, though.

    He doesn't run much but has a high baseball IQ and gets the most out of his limited athleticism.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    As far as power potential is concerned, Robertson has more pop in his 6'1" and 205-pound frame than most prospects at the position. How that power further develops will likely be the determining factor in where the 21-year-old winds up ranking at the position.

    2020 Overall Projection

    67/100

    The Rays have a bevy of intriguing shortstop prospects, with Robertson topping a list that also includes Willy Adames, Adrian Rondon, Hak-Ju Lee and Andrew Velazquez. For the time being, Robertson profiles as the best of the bunch, but a lot can change in five years.

12. Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 30

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    28/55

    Andrelton Simmons is probably never going to be anything more than a league-average offensive player, and he actually ranks below average to this point in his career with an 84 OPS+.

    He showed some solid power in 2013 when he had 27 doubles and 17 home runs, but his OPS dropped from .692 to .617 last season, and he's been mediocre again so far this season with a .254/.311/.337 line.

    Simmons puts the ball in play a ton, with a 5.9 percent walk rate and 9.2 percent strikeout rate for his career, but he'll probably never hit much higher than the .250 neighborhood.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    38/40

    Simmons is the best defensive player in baseball right now, regardless of position, and he's been a human highlight reel for the Atlanta Braves throughout his career.

    The fact that speed is included in this section—something that is really not a big part of Simmons' game—is the only thing that keeps him from receiving a perfect grade here.

    2020 Upside Factor

    3/5

    A return to his 2013 level of production offensively is not out of the question, considering Simmons is just entering his prime at the age of 25. That's probably his peak offensively, though, and he really can't get any better defensively.

    2020 Overall Projection

    69/100

    Simmons signed a seven-year, $58 million extension last season that runs through 2020, so he looks to be the Braves' shortstop of the present and future.

11. Nick Gordon, Minnesota Twins

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    2020 Age: 24

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    31/55

    Nick Gordon has the bloodlines, as his dad was All-Star closer Tom Gordon and his brother is Miami Marlins speedster Dee Gordon.

    The No. 5 overall pick and first shortstop taken in the 2014 draft, Gordon skipped the Gulf Coast League in his debut and began this season at Single-A Cedar Rapids where he's hitting .264/.331/.318 with 12 doubles.

    He has room to add some strength to his wiry 6'0", 160-pound frame, and his gap power could turn into home run pop down the line. For now, he's more of a doubles hitter with plus speed.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    33/40

    Gordon spent some time on the mound in high school where he could dial his fastball up to the low 90s, so there's no question he has the arm strength needed to play shortstop. That, paired with solid instincts and great hands, should make him a good defender.

    He's not as fast as his brother, but he's a great baserunner, stealing 21 bags in 26 attempts already this season.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Still just 19 years old, Gordon is a work in progress, though he should prove to be worth the wait for the Twins. He'll join Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano to form an impressive core of young position-player talent in Minnesota.

    2020 Overall Projection

    69/100

    It will be at least a couple more seasons before Gordon reaches Minnesota, but with Danny Santana regressing significantly, the shortstop job appears to be his as soon as he's ready to take it.

10. Orlando Arcia, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Michael Spooneybarger/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 25

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    31/55

    The top prospect in a fairly weak Milwaukee Brewers system, Orlando Arcia has been one of the fastest-rising prospects in baseball this season. He checked in as the No. 94 prospect in the league preseason but has climbed to No. 8 overall in the midseason rankings, according to Baseball America.

    That jump comes thanks to a .313/.355/.458 line that includes 24 doubles for Double-A Biloxi, where he's one of the youngest players in the Southern League.

    Viewed as a glove-first guy when he began his pro career, Arcia now looks like he has the tools to make a legitimate impact offensively with consistent contact to all fields and emerging gap power.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    34/40

    Arcia runs well, stealing 31 bases last season and using his wheels both on the bases and in the field where he still profiles as a well-above-average defensive shortstop.

    "He has outstanding range and soft hands to go along with a very strong arm. There is no question he will stay at the premium position long-term," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    The 20-year-old Arcia has taken a huge step forward this season, and with his offensive emergence, his ceiling now looks to be significantly higher than it was in the early stages of his career.

    2020 Overall Projection

    70/100

    Arcia's glove will likely either push incumbent Jean Segura to second base or make him a trade chip in the near future, with 25-year-old Scooter Gennett also a part of the middle infield picture in Milwaukee.

9. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    30/55

    The climb through the minor leagues has been all about improving offensively for Francisco Lindor, as his glove was already big league ready when the Cleveland Indians made him the No. 8 pick in the 2011 draft out of Montverde High School in Florida.

    He made the jump to the high minors last season and held his own, hitting .276/.338/.389 with 16 doubles and 11 home runs. That paved the way for his call-up this season, and he's hit .223/.257/.311 so far in 26 games.

    Lindor makes a lot of contact, striking out just 14.1 percent of the time during his time in the minors, and that should help him develop at least an average offensive game. A .275 average and 10-12 home runs might be his peak, but that will be plenty with his defensive abilities and plus speed.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    36/40

    Most considered Lindor to be the best defensive shortstop in MiLB prior to his call-up this season, and his impressive range has already been on full display with a 14.0 UZR/150 to this point.

    He's had at least 25 stolen bases each of the past three seasons in the minors, and he should continue to make his presence felt on the bases as a big leaguer.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Lindor doesn't have the highest ceiling offensively, but in terms of the cumulative value of his tools on both sides of the ball, he has a chance to be as good as anyone on this list at his best.

    2020 Overall Projection

    71/100

    It didn't take Lindor long to overtake Jose Ramirez for the shortstop job this season, and after the Indians were able to lock up Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes on team-friendly deals, it wouldn't be surprising to see them attempt to do the same with their young shortstop.

8. Trea Turner, Washington Nationals

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    2020 Age: 27

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    34/55

    Shipped to the Washington Nationals as part of the three-team, Wil Myers-to-San Diego trade during the offseason, Trea Turner has quickly become the top position-player prospect in a system loaded with pitching talent.

    The North Carolina State product was the top college shortstop in the 2014 draft, and he's already reached Triple-A in his first full pro season, hitting a combined .318/.368/.472 with 30 extra-base hits.

    He has an aggressive approach at the plate and probably needs to gear his swing more toward contact as opposed to power, but his plus-plus speed and ability to draw a walk could make him a dynamic leadoff threat.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    32/40

    Some grade Turner's speed tool as a legitimate 80/80, and it was on full display during the Futures Game when he turned what looked like a routine double in the gap into an easy triple.

    He has the arm strength and quickness to develop into a solid everyday shortstop defensively, though he'll probably never be in the running for Gold Glove honors.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    The 22-year-old Turner has a bit different tool box than some of the other shortstop prospects on this list. He's not an elite defender and probably won't hit more than 10 home runs, but his top-flight speed and solid all-around game still give him a high ceiling.

    2020 Overall Projection

    71/100

    All signs point to incumbent Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond taking his talents elsewhere in free agency this coming offseason. With Turner already playing for Triple-A Syracuse, he'll have every chance to lock down the job out of camp next spring.

7. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

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    2020 Age: 27

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    40/55

    Xander Bogaerts shot up prospect rankings following a 2012 season that saw him hit .307/.373/.523 with 37 doubles and 20 home runs while reaching Double-A at the age of 19.

    He was somewhat disappointing as a rookie last season, hitting .240/.297/.362 with 28 doubles and 12 home runs, but he's improved dramatically this season with his triple-slash numbers up to .304/.338/.411 so far.

    Bogaerts has plenty of power packed into his 6'1", 210-pound frame, though 20 home runs may wind up being his ceiling. He displayed good on-base skills in the minors but has just a 6.1 percent walk rate so far in the majors. 

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    28/40

    Bogaerts struggled some defensively last season (-9 DRS, -3.7 UZR/150), and as a result, he wound up sliding over to third base after the team re-signed Stephen Drew.

    Now the shortstop position is all his, and he's shown enough improvement (3 DRS, 6.4 UZR/150) that there's no reason to believe he can't be at least average at the position long term.

    He's average in the speed department, since he's not much of a stolen base threat.

    2020 Upside Factor

    4/5

    Bogaerts is just 22 years old, but he already has a good deal of big league experience under his belt, and he's taken a significant step forward this season. He still has room to improve but doesn't quite check in as a 5/5 here.

    2020 Overall Projection

    72/100

    The Red Sox have some shortstop talent in the minors in guys like Deven Marrero, Michael Chavis and even Yoan Moncada, who has been playing second base to this point. But long term, the shortstop job appears to belong to Bogaerts.

    The 2019 season would represent his final year of team control as things currently stand.

6. J.P. Crawford, Philadelphia Phillies

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    2020 Age: 25

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    35/55

    The Philadelphia Phillies grabbed J.P. Crawford with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 draft and in the process appear to have snagged a potential future star at the shortstop position.

    After opening the season at High-A Clearwater, he was quickly bumped up to Double-A Reading. All told, he's hit .311/.415/.414 with 16 extra-base hits on the year.

    His on-base skills and speed are his two best assets offensively, and while he may never develop a ton of power, he could max out as a 12-home run guy who hits .280-300 and steals plenty of bases.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    32/40

    Crawford is not quite on the level of Francisco Lindor when it comes to his defensive profile, but he should still develop into a very good glove at the shortstop position.

    "There is no question about his ability to stay at shortstop, as he is a smooth fielder with sure hands, a plus arm and good range," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    Crawford has the speed to be a base-stealing threat, but he still needs work in that department, as he stole 24 bases but was caught 14 times last season.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    The Philadelphia Phillies don't have much in the way of star-caliber young players to build around as they start to tear down their roster, but the 20-year-old Crawford gives them at least one on the position-player side of things.

    2020 Overall Projection

    72/100

    The plan always appeared to be for Crawford to take over for Jimmy Rollins once the veteran's contract was up. While Rollins is now playing elsewhere in the final year of his deal, 2016 still looks like the expected ETA for Crawford, with Freddy Galvis keeping the position warm in the meantime.

5. Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    42/55

    The No. 1 prospect in Baseball America's Midseason Top 50, Corey Seager doesn't have much left to prove at the minor league level.

    The younger brother of Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, he's currently hitting .308/.356/.520 with 27 doubles and 13 home runs while splitting his time between Double-A and Triple-A.

    "Seager has a smooth, balanced lefty swing as well as bat speed, strength and a mature all-fields approach. He can get a bit aggressive at times but has what it takes to hit for both average and power," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    26/40

    Seager is probably best suited playing third base, where his 6'4" frame and strong arm would play well and he wouldn't be hindered by his limited speed and quickness.

    That said, he's still capable of being an average fielder at shortstop and his bat would certainly be a bigger weapon at the shortstop position. Expect him to be given every chance to remain at his natural position.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    The 21-year-old Seager was ranked right alongside Carlos Correa and Addison Russell in the conversation for best offensive shortstop prospect in baseball entering the season. And like those guys, he has the potential to be a perennial All-Star.

    2020 Overall Projection

    73/100

    Offseason acquisition Jimmy Rollins is currently hitting .213/.266/.338 with a minus-0.7 WAR on the season, so it's not out of line to say Seager is the best shortstop in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization right now. At any rate, Rollins is a free agent at the end of the season, so the job will be Seager's in 2016 if not sooner.

4. Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2020 Age: 23

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    38/55

    While Dansby Swanson went No. 1 overall in the 2015 draft, many considered high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers to be the best all-around talent on the board.

    "He doesn't have to muscle up to hit home runs, and his bat speed and all-fields approach bode well for his ability to hit for average as a pro," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    Offensively, he has the tools to make a Troy Tulowitzki-type impact, and that's the man he could wind up replacing after being taken No. 3 overall by the Colorado Rockies.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    31/40

    Not only did he have one of the biggest bats in the draft class among high school players, but Rodgers also has the defensive profile to be an above-average defensive shortstop.

    He runs well but likely won't be a huge base-stealing threat, as his speed will play more in taking extra bases and increasing his defensive range.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Swanson was the safer and more polished pick, but Rodgers has the ceiling to be the top talent from the 2015 draft class. The 18-year-old may just be establishing himself as a big league regular five years from now, but he could also move quicker than most high school prospects.

    2020 Overall Projection

    74/100

    Troy Tulowitzki has five years and $94 million remaining on his contract, plus a $14 million option for 2021, but he'll likely be pushed by Rodgers for the starting job before that contract is up if he's not traded in the meantime.

3. Dansby Swanson, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    39/55

    The No. 1 overall pick this past June, Dansby Swanson hit .335/.423/.623 with 24 doubles and 15 home runs during his junior season at Vanderbilt, and he should move quickly through the Arizona Diamondbacks system.

    He'll likely develop more gap power than legitimate home run pop, but he makes consistent hard contact and has the plus on-base skills to profile well at the top of the lineup.

    The popular comparison has been Derek Jeter, both for his offensive skill set and for his tremendous makeup and leadership skills. I'm sure the Diamondbacks would be just fine with that.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    32/40

    There's no reason Swanson won't be able to stick at shortstop long term, as he has enough first-step quickness and a plus arm to be rock solid with the glove.

    He should also steal some bases with his good speed, as he stole 16 bases in 18 attempts in college this past spring.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Swanson was as polished as any college bat in this year's draft, and his impressive makeup should allow him to have every chance of reaching his ceiling.

    2020 Overall Projection

    76/100

    The Diamondbacks have received a solid performance from Nick Ahmed at shortstop this season, as he's posted a 2.0 WAR thanks to solid glove work, but the shortstop job will be Swanson's as soon as he's ready.

2. Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    2020 Age: 26

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    40/55

    Acquired from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Jeff Samardzija at the deadline in 2014, Addison Russell has been on the fast track to the majors since being taken No. 11 overall in 2011.

    He signed early and hit .369/.432/.594 in 55 games while reaching Single-A in his pro debut, and he's shot through the minor leagues since to make an early debut here in 2015.

    Russell had 14 doubles and 13 home runs in 258 at-bats during an injury-shortened season in the minors last year, and he has the tools to be a perennial .300 hitter with legitimate 20-home run power and good speed.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    34/40

    Russell is playing second base right now, but all signs point to him being the shortstop of the future for the Chicago Cubs as the best defender the organization has at that position.

    He's been good for seven defensive runs saved and a 12.8 UZR/150, and that range should serve him well once he slides over to his natural position of shortstop.

    He swiped 21 bases during the 2013 season and should be a legitimate 20/20 threat once he settles into life in the majors.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    Russell has more big league experience under his belt than some of the other prospects on this list, but the 21-year-old still has plenty of room to grow offensively. He's just scratching the surface of his vast potential.

    2020 Overall Projection

    79/100

    At some point, the Cubs will need to decide what to do with their abundance of middle infielders (Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Gleyber Torres, Arismendy Alcantara), but it appears that everyone will be filling in around Russell at shortstop.

1. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

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    Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    2020 Age: 25

    2020 Offensive Outlook

    48/55

    The Houston Astros' decision to pick Carlos Correa No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft saved them some money and allowed them to sign Lance McCullers, but he's quickly proved to be more than deserving of the top pick.

    With a big 6'4", 210-pound frame, Correa has begun to grow into his power during his time in the minors. He earned a call-up this season after hitting .335/.407/.600 with 21 doubles and 10 home runs in 215 at-bats.

    He's been compared to Alex Rodriguez more than once, and while he may never develop quite that kind of power, he does have the potential to be a perennial force offensively.

    2020 Defensive/Speed Outlook

    32/40

    Correa is a terrific athlete at the shortstop position with a cannon for an arm, and he has the soft hands and good instincts to be a plus defender despite his size.

    His speed grades out as average, but he's a good baserunner and managed to swipe 20 bags in 24 attempts at the High-A level last season.

    2020 Upside Factor

    5/5

    The No. 4 prospect in the league entering the season, according to Baseball America, Correa has as high a ceiling as any young player in baseball right now. The 20-year-old needed just 53 games in the upper minors to reach Houston, and he's only getting better.

    2020 Overall Projection

    85/100

    An injury to veteran Jed Lowrie opened the door for Correa to step into the everyday lineup for the Astros, and the job is now his for the foreseeable future.

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