B/R MLB 300: Ranking the Top 25 Shortstops

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterSeptember 25, 2015

B/R MLB 300: Ranking the Top 25 Shortstops

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    After stopping off at second base, the B/R MLB 300 now moves to the left side of the infield with a look at shortstops.

    Like our first basemen and second basemen rankings, this list of shortstops consists of 25 of the overall 300 players. As for how it came to be, we subjected each player to a scoring system that adds up to a total of 100 possible points.

    First, there are 25 points for hitting. Our focus was on how well each player is equipped to hit for average and get on base. This meant looking not only at how he hits the ball, but also at how consistently he makes contact and whether or not he has the discipline to draw walks.

    Then, there are 25 points for power. We concentrated on each player's ability to collect extra-base hits, which meant looking at how often he puts the ball in the air—ground balls don't tend to go for extra baseshow hard he hits it and how much of the field he uses for power.

    Next, there are 20 points for baserunning. It's a bigger priority for shortstops than it is for other positions, so we looked at players' stolen bases and how aggressive they are in taking extra bases on balls in play.

    Lastly, there are 30 points for defense. It's a big category because shortstop is one of baseball's most important defensive positions. We used defensive metrics as a guiding star and judged the players on things like their range, arm strength and sure-handedness.

    As for how the scoring works, a score in the middle is meant to denote average, not failing. For example, a 15 out of 30 for defense means the player is merely an average defender, whereas 10 out of 30 is clearly below average, and 20 out of 30 is above average. It's also important to note that if two or more players ended up with the same final score, the edge went to the player we'd choose if we had to pick just one.

    Before we begin, here's an important reminder that while we used what's happened in 2015 as a foundation for the scores, this list projects performance for the 2016 season. Players were evaluated based on the staying power of each skill with progression, decline and past luck in mind—which created a different ranking system than we would've had if we'd judged where each player stands today.

    You may now start the show.

Notes on Sources, Stats and Links

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Putting together these rankings did require some good, old-fashioned video scouting. But for the most part, it involved digging deep into baseball's treasure chest of statistics.

    The primary sources for these statistics were Baseball-Reference.comFanGraphsBrooks BaseballBaseball Prospectus and Baseball Savant. The various links you'll find throughout will take you to relevant data on these sites. Clicking on them is not mandatory; they're there for your pleasure.

    As for the stats referenced within, there are some you may not be familiar with. They are:

    • Soft% and Hard%: These show the rate at which a hitter makes soft and hard contact, which conveys how well he barrels up the ball. The average shortstop has a 19.5 Soft% and 25.5 Hard%.
    • ISO: This is isolated power, which is a measure of raw power. It's what you get when you take slugging percentage and subtract average. The average shortstop's mark is around .120. 
    • XBT%: This is extra bases taken percentage, which quantifies how often runners advance more than one base on a single or more than two bases on a double. It's not perfect, but it works as a go-to measurement for baserunning aggressiveness. Among the players on this list, the average shortstop's XBT% is about 48 percent.
    • UZR and DRS: Ultimate zone rating and defensive runs saved are the two most prominent defensive metrics and provided the basis for our defensive scores. Regardless of position, zero represents league average.

    The shortstop averages noted above are reference points that will come in handy throughout the piece. Know that they're among many plucked from FanGraphs to help inform the rankings. 

    Lastly, bear in mind that the season is still ongoing. With final edits taking place the day before publication, the statistics within are accurate through play on Wednesday, September 23.

    Now then. Let's get started.

25. Jose Reyes, Colorado Rockies

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    10/25

    You'll find Jose Reyes hitting .273 with a .309 OBP. Those numbers are fine relative to the position's averages of .257 and .307, but it's concerning that Reyes' OBP is on a downward trend. And that's likely not letting up. His approach is deteriorating, with less discipline and more whiffs every year. And when he does hit the ball, he's a lot more pull-happy and is now among the softest hitters at the position. Knowing all this, even the thin air of Colorado will probably only be able to help him so much.

    Power

    8/25

    Relative to his hitting, Reyes' power could be worse. He's hit seven homers and posted a .107 ISO, which is pretty close to average (.120) by shortstop standards. But this is a mirage. Though it's fine that he hits about 55 percent of his batted balls in the air, his Hard% rate on fly balls is only 21.1, and his Hard% rate on line drives is only 34.2. The averages around these parts are about 33 and 40 percent. The left-handed hitter's loss of power is also painfully evident on his spray chart. His power has begun descending in the last couple years, and it's a fair bet that will continue into his age-33 campaign.

    Baserunning

    13/20

    This category has long been Reyes' calling card, and he's still going reasonably strong. He's stolen 23 bases in 29 tries and posted an XBT% that's notably gotten better with Colorado, going from a subpar 38 to a roughly par 47. Still, there's no ignoring this is a mediocre performance by Reyes' standards. And at his age and with his track record of injuries, it's another area in which further decline is expected.

    Defense

    9/30

    Reyes isn't helping his poor defensive reputation with minus-nine DRS and a minus-5.5 UZR, which make him one of baseball's worst shortstops. Reyes has never had particularly great instincts and has always been burdened by clunky hands. What has allowed him to get by is his explosive athleticism and arm strength, and one of those things is clearly fading. More bad defense awaits.

    Total

    40/100

    It's been a rough year for Reyes, and all signs point to it being the beginning of the end for him. But even though his bat and glove are compromised, he still has enough offensive talent to qualify as a playable shortstop. Once you get past the top guys at the position, that's about the best you can ask for.

24. Wilmer Flores, New York Mets

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    9/25

    Wilmer Flores has only put up a .264 average and .297 OBP. Even by shortstop's low standards, these obviously aren't very good numbers. He actually has a reasonably disciplined approach, though it's largely for naught. Pitchers aren't afraid of challenging him with heat, seemingly getting the gist that he's only a mistake fastball hitter. And while Flores is pretty good at making hard contact, he's also easy to jam. Lastly, this: As the Mets have figured out recently, he's best used in a platoon role.

    Power

    15/25

    Flores has shown off good power with 16 homers and a .147 ISO that easily tops the position's average of roughly .120. He's earned this by hitting about 60 percent of his batted balls in the air and by posting Hard% rates on fly balls (31.8) and line drives (43.8) that compare favorably to the average shortstop. The catch is that it's all pull power, but that's OK given that he has a slight pull tendency. Rather than ability, the big question going forward is how much playing time he's going to get.

    Baserunning

    8/20

    Relative to many of his peers at the position, Flores doesn't run so well. He failed in his one and only stolen base attempt this year, and his 41 XBT% is a few ticks below the norm of 48 percent. The only nice thing to say is that while this isn't good for a shortstop, we are going to come across worse later in our journey.

    Defense

    10/30

    Flores has minus-10 DRS and a minus-1.6 UZR. He doesn't cover much ground because of modest first-step quickness and slow acceleration, and he makes life more difficult for himself with iffy arm strength and accuracy. He's not terrible enough to be unplayable, but bad defense comes with the territory when he's in the lineup.

    Total

    42/100

    In addition to subpar defense, Flores' bat has plenty of holes and would be best served in a platoon role. But the 24-year-old does boast good power for the position, and that's a redeeming quality since there isn't much power to be found at short.

23. Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels

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    Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    11/25

    Erick Aybar is hitting .269 with a .302 OBP, numbers that indicate he's at best an OK offensive shortstop. But even that is a stretch. Aybar is still a good contact hitter, but a skill like that is only worth so much when you hack at pretty much everything you see. It's also only worth so much when you struggle to hit the ball squarely, at least in part because you hit a grounder half the time you put the ball in play. What he's doing this season is a pretty good reflection of his true hitting talent.

    Power

    3/25

    With two home runs and a .060 ISO, Aybar is in the running for MLB's least powerful shortstop. He is showing he can ambush the opposition with deep drives to center, but those are far from his M.O. His aforementioned ground-ball habit limits his power potential, and it's further limited by his propensity for weak contact. His Hard% rates on fly balls (28.4) and line drives (31.6) are well short of being up to par. This is admittedly the low point for his power, but the reality that things have been trending this way for a few years doesn't inspire confidence.

    Baserunning

    10/20

    It's been a few years since Aybar last showed he was capable of a 20- to 30-steal season, with this year's 13-for-18 showing the latest stop in a downward trend. And though his 49 XBT% looks good relative to the position's average of 48 percent, the catch is that he's run into a dozen outs on the basepaths. Aybar has reached that age where his legs can no longer cash the checks his mind is writing.

    Defense

    19/30

    Aybar has minus-two DRS and a minus-3.8 UZR. These numbers do undersell him to an extent, as he still has good hands and first-step quickness with a solid arm to boot. It's thanks to these things that he does more good than bad. But how he plays defense is sometimes easy to second-guess, and his fading athleticism is beginning to impact his range.

    Total

    43/100

    Aybar can still get it done on defense, and that's no small compliment given the demands of the position. But it sure looks like age has gotten hold of his hitting and baserunning, rendering him a lesser player than he once was.

22. Asdrubal Cabrera, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    10/25

    Asdrubal Cabrera has bounced back from a couple of rough years to hit .263 with a .312 OBP, outpacing the average shortstop in both categories. But in some ways, he's actually gone backward. He's gotten more aggressive and less disciplined in his approach and also whiffs more. That's mainly because he hasn't responded well to seeing more breaking balls. And though he still hits the ball as hard as the next shortstop, he hasn't hit the ball as hard as his old self. It'll be a surprise if he repeats this performance.

    Power

    16/25

    Cabrera's power, meanwhile, seems to be alive and well. He's hit 13 homers and posted an easily above-average .160 ISO. He's hit over 60 percent of his batted balls in the air, allowing him to make up for pedestrian Hard% rates on fly balls (31.4) and line drives (33.8). And though his power from the left side is exclusively pull power, the fact that he once again has a Pull% near 50 means he can make the most of that. Though his hitting has red flags, his power is in solid shape.

    Baserunning

    8/20

    It looks like Cabrera's best baserunning days are over. He's swiped only six bags in nine tries and posted a 40 XBT%, which is easily short of being up to par relative to his companions on this list. And his habit of running into outs on the basepaths still persists. It all adds up to mediocrity now, and his nearing 30th birthday doesn't inspire confidence.

    Defense

    10/30

    Cabrera has minus-seven DRS and a minus-4.5 UZR. His problem isn't so much his feel for the position but more so his tools. His lack of a good first step and the absence of general quickness result in limited range, and he has at best average arm strength for the position. He can keep from embarrassing himself on defense, but that's about it. 

    Total

    44/100

    Cabrera offers little to get excited about in the athleticism department, and the offensive turnaround he's enjoyed this season doesn't pass the smell test. But the power in his bat hasn't run dry yet, and that ensures him at least one solid source of value.

21. Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    9/25

    Freddy Galvis is hitting .263 with a .300 OBP, numbers that are significantly better than his career rates and also in line with the average shortstop. If nothing else, it's to his credit that he's becoming less of a pull hitter every year. But not much besides that has changed. He's still an overly aggressive hitter with poor discipline. And if a career-best line-drive rate won't allow him to make more solid contact than the next hitter, it's hard to imagine what will. So though he's gotten a little better, he's still very limited.

    Power

    9/25

    Galvis has ridden regular playing time to a career-high seven home runs, but his .086 ISO remains safely below the position's average. He's actually quite good at getting the ball in the air, as about 60 percent of his batted balls are fly balls or line drives. But squaring those up has proved difficult, as his Hard% rates on fly balls (31.8) and line drives (37.8) are both short of being up to par. The switch-hitting Galvis really only has power as a left-handed batter, and it's strictly to his pull side. In all, power's not exactly his game.

    Baserunning

    12/20

    This is where regular playing time has really helped Galvis, as his turn in the spotlight has resulted in nine steals in 10 tries. That's solid stuff for a shortstop, and he's tacked on a 52 XBT%, which easily outpaces the position's average of 48 percent. Assuming he keeps getting regular playing time, Galvis looks like the kind of guy who will at least be pesky on the basepaths.

    Defense

    15/30

    Galvis isn't living up to his reputation, with minus-six DRS and a minus-1.5 UZR. This is partially a reflection of his mistakes, as he could hit 20 errors by season's end. But that misrepresents his defensive prowess. His feel for shortstop and quick-twitch athleticism give him pretty good range, and he has just enough arm to ensure it doesn't go to waste. If he can cool it with the boots, a turnaround should result in him at least being an average defender.

    Total

    45/100

    Despite what are good numbers by his standards, Galvis is no threat with a bat in his hands. But he's shown he can do good work on the bases, and he's capable of being a better defender than the metrics show.

20. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Hitting

    15/25

    Zack Cozart's injury has led to regular action for Eugenio Suarez, and he's responded by hitting .283 with a .322 OBP. He's looked the part of a good hitter too, showing off a disciplined approach and making more than enough hard contact. But he is limited by a swing-and-miss problem that's particularly bad against sliders and high fastballs. And in general, his disciplined approach will only get him so far since he has such spotty zone coverage. What we're seeing now may be as good as it gets for Suarez.

    Power

    17/25

    Suarez has also shown pretty good power, hitting 12 homers with a .175 ISO. And this is no joke. He's hit 60 percent of his batted balls in the air and posted a solid 33.3 Hard% rate on fly balls and an even better 44.0 Hard% rate on line drives. And though he's done the bulk of his home run damage to straightaway left, he hasn't needed to rely on his pull side for power. The only question regarding his power numbers is how much playing time awaits in 2016.

    Baserunning

    7/20

    Suarez's offensive game is more about his thunderous stick than it is about fast legs, so it's no surprise he hasn't been especially active on the basepaths. He's stolen only four bases in five attempts and posted a 33 XBT% that's well short of the average shortstop. This admittedly isn't terrible baserunning, but it's not up to the standards of the position.

    Defense

    10/30

    Just like last year, the metrics rate Suarez's defense poorly, with minus-nine DRS and a minus-9.6 UZR. His problem isn't so much that he lacks the athleticism for the position, as he's able to make nifty plays thanks to a solid first step and good arm strength. But neither of those tools truly stands out, and he otherwise has iffy hands that contribute to a problem with errors.

    Total

    49/100

    Suarez is limited by the fact he neither runs the bases nor plays defense as well as his fellow shortstops, with the latter being the bigger issue of the two. So, it's a good thing he packs a solid bat with a decent amount of power.

19. Brad Miller, Seattle Mariners

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    Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    13/25

    Brad Miller has rebounded to hit .254 with a .326 OBP, good stuff for a shortstop. He has his weaknesses, chief among them a bad platoon split. And though he is getting less aggressive in his approach, that'll only help him so much if he can't cure his whiff tendency up in the zone. Still, improving discipline is better than bad discipline, and he's helped himself by using more of the field and making sharp contact. Miller should be platooned, but he can do enough to get by even if a platoon role isn't forthcoming.

    Power

    14/25

    Miller has continued to show off solid power, hitting 10 home runs with a .143 ISO. He doesn't put himself in the best position to maximize his power by hitting barely over 50 percent of his batted balls in the air, but he makes good use of what he does hit in the air. His Hard% rates on fly balls (39.4) and line drives (40.0) both top the averages for shortstops, and he has more all-fields power than you might expect. Provided he continues to get at least semi-regular playing time, the power will be there.

    Baserunning

    10/20

    Miller isn't exactly a burner, so it's a bit surprising to see him with 12 steals in 16 tries. Here's thinking that's likely the best he's capable of. But on a less pessimistic note, here's also thinking that his 37 XBT%—well below the shortstops' average of 48—is likely the worst he's capable of. His baserunning has been a mixed bag this year, but he's done enough to prove his ability falls somewhere in the middle.

    Defense

    13/30

    Of course, it's up in the air whether Miller has a future as a shortstop with the Mariners—or anywhere, for that matter. Though it's his natural position, the metrics aren't great: minus-four DRS and a 1.0 UZR. He's capable of solid range thanks to first-step quickness and good athleticism, but he doesn't have particularly good hands or an accurate arm. These shortcomings lower his ceiling, forcing one to wonder if he'd be best suited to a utility role.

    Total

    50/100

    It's hard to make heads or tails of where Miller fits defensively, as he's been pushed off shortstop and arguably should stay pushed off shortstop. But he does pack a solid bat with power, and those two things will ensure there's a role for him somewhere.

18. Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Hitting

    8/25

    A brutal second half has turned Alcides Escobar's clock back to 2013, as he finds himself hitting .256 with a .296 OBP. He still has some of his usual strengths, including the ability to make contact and use the whole field. But he's also still an aggressive hitter who loves to expand the strike zone, a bad idea given his limited reach. And though he's fine at making contact, making good contact is something that eludes him. In sum, last year's .285 average and .317 OBP look an awful lot like outliers.

    Power

    3/25

    With just three home runs and a .061 ISO, this is another area in which Escobar has regressed in 2015. He doesn't give himself too many chances to hit for power by knocking just over 50 percent of his batted balls in the air, but the real issue is the aforementioned inability to hit the ball squarely. His Hard% rates on fly balls and line drives are both shy of 25, which is, well, pretty bad. That speaks to how little raw power Escobar has, which makes him one of the league's least dangerous power threats.

    Baserunning

    15/20

    You can typically count on Escobar for 20-plus stolen bases, but this year he has just 15 in 20 tries. His early-season knee injury likely has something to do with this, but he's still young enough at 28 that he should be able to shake that off after a winter of rest. In the meantime, he has a 58 XBT% that's in line with his career norm and away above the average for shortstops. Even when he's slow, he's pretty fast.

    Defense

    25/30

    The metrics have measured Escobar's defense this year at a one DRS and a 7.2 UZR. The latter is more accurate. Escobar has at times looked less than his explosive self, but he's still gotten by on sharp instincts, smooth actions and a good, accurate arm. Assuming he can put his early-season knee injury behind him, odds are he'll look more like his usual self by this time next year.

    Total

    51/100

    Escobar's bat isn't much to look at, as he's neither an OBP nor a power merchant. But his baserunning and defense have remained assets, even as he's seemingly been slowed by the injury.

17. Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    22/25

    He hasn't had a chance to pad his numbers since early September thanks to a finger injury, but Jose Iglesias' .300 average and .347 OBP obviously don't need more padding in order to look good. He's the best contact hitter among shortstops, and his talents also include excellent coverage of the strike zone and quality bat control. But walks are out of the question, as pitchers are aggressive in the zone against him, and he gives them a bigger area to attack with his aggressiveness. And while his bat control is nice, he doesn't hit the ball hard. As such, he can only be so good.

    Power

    2/25

    Iglesias has hit just two homers and put up a .070 ISO. He doesn't give himself many chances to hit for power because he puts 55 percent of his batted balls on the ground, and he might be the softest fly-ball hitter in the majors with just a 15.8 Hard% rate. And because his Hard% rate on line drives is in the low 30s, he doesn't have much gap power either. The weird thing is Iglesias has so much bat speed that he looks like he should hit for power. But, he just doesn't.

    Baserunning

    8/20

    Iglesias' 11 steals aren't enough to justify being caught eight times, and his 35 XBT% is subpar for a shortstop. One wants to believe he can be better than this, but he's not so much fast as he is quick. And after he missed all of 2014 with shin injuries, he can certainly be forgiven if he doesn't want to push himself too hard on the bases.

    Defense

    20/30

    This is where things are trickiest with Iglesias. The metrics rate him at minus-two DRS and a 2.3 UZR. That sounds harsh for a guy who has the hands of a magician to go with good range and a solid arm. But those modest numbers show that Iglesias' defense is less than the sum of his talents. He can get himself in trouble trying to make plays look good, and we all remember that confrontation over his effort level. He could be a truly special defender in theory, but it's up to him to make it so in reality.

    Total

    52/100

    Iglesias was supposed to be a defensive wizard who wouldn't hit much. Instead, he's turned into a good hitter who can't quite put it all together on defense. Even still, he's earned a place as a decent everyday shortstop.

16. Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Hitting

    8/25

    Even after a hot second half, Ian Desmond is only hitting .232 with a .287 OBP, numbers that continue a downward trend. He still has good bat control and an ability to hit the ball hard, but the latter is being compromised by a growing ground-ball tendency that he can't seem to shake. He's also still a hyper-aggressive swinger who's liable to whiff on anything slow. And though the credit is his for toning down his aggressiveness following the break, what he's done over the full season is too much in line with his career norms for us to take that at face value. Put another way: It's hard to trust Desmond's bat.

    Power

    18/25

    Desmond's power hasn't been as compromised as his hitting. His 18 homers and .152 ISO look good on a shortstop. His growing ground-ball habit limits his power potential, but he makes up for it by crushing what he does put in the air. His Hard% rate on fly balls is a solid 36.7, and his Hard% rate on line drives is even better at 50.8. The power applies in just about any direction, too. As long as he can keep the power coming, his bat won't be a total lost cause.

    Baserunning

    13/20

    Desmond has typically been good for upward of 20 steals per season, but he won't make it this year. He's stolen only 12 in 17 tries, an ominous sign with him now 30 years of age. The bright side is he boasts an excellent 55 XBT% while duplicating last year's low total of outs on the basepaths. That's reflective of his athleticism and his instincts for running the bases.

    Defense

    13/30

    Desmond has an even zero DRS and a UZR of minus-5.2, either of which may sound generous for a guy who's once again made over 20 errors. His hands and throwing accuracy can betray him, but the case of the yips he developed has since passed him by, which has allowed him to show off what he can do. He moves well for a bigger shortstop, and he has plenty of arm strength. These things allow him to be better than his errors would indicate.

    Total

    52/100

    Desmond has developed some serious issues with his hitting, and you never know what he's going to do on defense despite his impressive tools. But he's still going strong with his blend of power and speed, and that means he can still be decent even if he doesn't regain his forgotten talents.

15. Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

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    David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    11/25

    A nasty right knee injury ended Zack Cozart's season in June, but not before he made progress with a .258 average and .310 OBP. He was slightly more selective than he had been in 2014, and he was also able to reverse a trend of weak contact. But apart from that, he didn't change much. Cozart still had limited plate coverage, in part because he couldn't quit being a pull hitter. And once again, he found himself struggling mightily to hit breaking balls. So, don't expect much change in 2016.

    Power

    14/25

    In just 53 games, Cozart hit nine homers and posted a .201 ISO. It helped that he hit over 60 percent of his batted balls in the air, including 42.2 percent of his fly balls. And on those, he had a solid 37.1 Hard% rate and clearly made the most of his pull habit. But while all this sounds great, it is a small sample. And looking forward, his surgically repaired right knee may limit his ability to generate power.

    Baserunning

    8/20

    Cozart tried being more aggressive on the basepaths earlier this year, and that resulted in a mixed bag. He was successful in only three of six steal attempts, but he posted a career-best 56 XBT%. Another performance like that would surely be welcome. However, his knee injury makes you think twice. Even if he's healthy, will he want to push himself?

    Defense

    20/30

    Cozart was playing his typical brand of solid defense before his injury, with seven DRS and a 2.2 UZR. He was showing off his usual array of good instincts, strong hands and a strong arm. But while all those things should still be there in 2016, his first step and quickness in general could be compromised. He should still be above average, but don't count on him being too good.

    Total

    53/100

    It's doubtful Cozart will be able to pick up where he left off following his injury, but this year's improvements shouldn't be for naught. At worst, he should return as a solid power hitter who can also get it done on defense.

14. Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    14/25

    In his first full season, Marcus Semien has hit .257 with a .309 OBP, which is slightly above average. He has the potential to be even better, as he's showcased good discipline and the ability to hit the ball harder than the typical shortstop. But for now, pitchers have too many options to go to for an easy whiff. And while his batting eye is easy to admire, he's a little too patient. He needs to swing more often to get pitchers to stop pounding the zone against him. He has potential, but he's a work in progress.

    Power

    17/25

    Semien has hit for some power with 13 homers and a .141 ISO, and there are good reasons for that. Over 60 percent of his batted balls are in the air, with an emphasis on fly balls. On those, he's posted a Hard% rate of 39.0, which is quite good for a shortstop. And though he's a pull hitter, he can drive the ball in any direction. It's therefore a solid bet that what he's shown this year is his power floor rather than his power ceiling. Going forward, he could have much more than merely above-average power.

    Baserunning

    12/20

    Semien was a solid source of stolen bases when he was in the minors, and he's showing that he can do some damage in the majors as well with 11 steals in 15 tries. Add in a 48 XBT% that's right in line with the position's average, and you have another feather in his cap. This is probably about as good as he can be given that he has less than blinding speed, but it's plenty good enough.

    Defense

    10/30

    The metrics tell two tales about Semien's defense: He has two DRS and a UZR of minus-9.8. The latter figure is heavily influenced by Semien's huge pile (34 of them!) of errors. But the good news, such as it is, is that the worst of Semien's defense appears to be behind him. He's calmed down a lot after making 28 errors by mid-July, and in the process he's shown that he does have range, hands and arm to play at least a passable shortstop. We can't forget how bad things got, but things can only be better.

    Total

    53/100

    Semien's error-happy defense held him back quite a bit earlier in 2015. But now that the worst of that is behind him, it's become easier to see his future as a good-hitting shortstop with a passable glove.

13. Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Hitting

    10/25

    In the wake of his second-half surge, Didi Gregorius is hitting .267 with a .315 OBP. But it's still hard to have faith in his bat. He's been an aggressive and undisciplined hitter all year, with a proneness for swings-and-misses that has lived on into the second half. And though he has a decent line-drive stroke, hard contact eludes him almost as much as it does any other shortstop. The signs point to a guy who's gotten luckier as the year has moved along, rather than a guy who's figured things out.

    Power

    8/25

    Gregorius has also turned on the power to a point where he's now hit nine homers and holds a .103 ISO. That's close to average for a shortstop, but it's once again hard to trust it. Gregorius does hit roughly 55 percent of his batted balls in the air, but his Hard% rates on fly balls (24.6) and line drives (28.1) are both less than inspiring. And knowing that he's relied on straightaway right field for power, it's no wonder he's gotten a big boost from Yankee Stadium's little-league-sized right field. Color me skeptical.

    Baserunning

    10/20

    Gregorius is a good athlete, but he's not a particularly fast runner by shortstop standards. That shows up in his four stolen bases in six tries and a 43 XBT%, which falls short of the position's average. He's also run into too many outs (eight) on the basepaths. The bright side is he's still only 25, and his prior track record with the Arizona Diamondbacks says he's capable of better than this. 

    Defense

    25/30

    Gregorius started slowly in the field, but the metrics now have him at three DRS and a 6.3 UZR. He seemed unsure of what he was doing early in the year but has seemingly relaxed and forgotten about Derek Jeter's shadow as the season progressed. This has allowed him to showcase his impressive tools, most notably his soft hands and rocket arm. As long as he can maintain focus, these things will help make him one of the American League's better defensive shortstops.

    Total

    53/100

    Gregorius is going to be a darn good player if he builds on his second-half offensive surge, but that could be a sticking point. He still has the look of a below-average hitter with little power. But his defense is the real deal, and good defense at such a prime position is invaluable.

12. Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    5/25

    The word on Nick Ahmed as a prospect was that he wouldn't be much of a hitter, and he's living up to that by batting just .226 with a .275 OBP. And it's frankly hard to latch on to anything positive. He's not particularly disciplined or a good contact hitter, and he makes an awful lot of soft contact and has a slight pull habit. And while he's a good low-ball hitter, his plate coverage is otherwise sorely lacking. All told, it does indeed look like he isn't much of a hitter.

    Power

    11/25

    Ahmed may look like a lousy hitter, but his nine homers and .133 ISO qualify him as a decent power hitter. To some extent, this isn't surprising. He gets 55 percent of his batted balls in the air, and he knows how to find the gaps. But with a 28.2 Hard% rate on fly balls and a 35.7 Hard% rate on line drives, his raw power doesn't live up to his power production. His 6'3" frame makes it tempting to wonder if there's more to come, but what he's doing is in line with his MiLB track record.

    Baserunning

    11/20

    Ahmed is an above-average runner who stole plenty of bases in the minors, but he's having issues translating that to the majors: He's been successful on only four of nine stolen-base attempts. And while his speed should allow him to improve on that somewhat, his inability to get on base will hold him back. On the bright side, his 57 XBT% goes to show he can at least supply some aggressiveness on the basepaths.

    Defense

    28/30

    This is why Ahmed is in the major leagues. He was billed as a defensive wizard when he was a prospect, and he now has 20 DRS and a 10.7 UZR. The former figure puts him up there with Andrelton Simmons and Brandon Crawford, and he belongs there. He shows off good instincts in the field, and his combination of good hands, quick feet and a strong arm allows him to make all the plays. It's not quite fair to put him (or anyone) on Simmons' level, but Ahmed belongs in the next tier.

    Total

    55/100

    Ahmed isn't much of an offensive threat now, nor is he expected to be in the future. But his defense is his calling card, and his first full season has proved it's legit. You're looking at one of the premiere defensive shortstops in the game.

11. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

16 of 26

    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    12/25

    Even despite a respectable second-half surge, Elvis Andrus is still hitting only .260 with a .310 OBP. That's average-ish stuff. His approach isn't the problem, as he's plenty disciplined and plenty capable of making contact consistently. He's also reversed his ground-ball tendency and has hit the ball better this year. So in some ways, he has been better. But his big weakness for a couple years now has been an inability to hit right-handed pitching, which is kind of a deal-breaker given that right-handers account for the bulk of his opposition. Knowing that, average-ish is probably the best he can be.

    Power

    9/25

    By his standards, Andrus has upped his power this year with seven homers and a .102 ISO. This didn't come out of nowhere, as he's hit plenty more balls in the air with more of a pull habit, which has allowed him to consistently exploit his only real power alley. But his Hard% rates on fly balls (27.2) and line drives (32.5) are poor, showing that Andrus hasn't gained any raw power. It's possible he'll continue to be more power-oriented, but don't expect any more than what he's done.

    Baserunning

    15/20

    Andrus' baserunning game surely peaked earlier in his career. He's gone from 42 steals in 2013 to 27 last year to just 21 in 29 attempts this year. But it's hard to imagine him dropping below the 20-steal threshold given that he's still only 27 and he still moves pretty well. Elsewhere, he boasts a 67 XBT%, which is impressive by any standard. His baserunning may have peaked, but it's still a formidable tool.

    Defense

    19/30

    Andrus hasn't recovered from last year's poor showing, with these metrics: minus-one DRS and a minus-4.6 UZR. This reflects the decline of the quick-twitch athleticism he once had, and it sometimes looks like he doesn't even have the same arm strength. But his advanced feel for how to play the position is still there, as he's one of those guys who takes the right approach to every ball and has an accurate internal clock.

    Total

    55/100

    Andrus' bat just isn't very good anymore. The foundation for good hitting is there, but he can't make it happen. Fortunately, he's at least still capable on the basepaths and on defense.

10. Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals

17 of 26

    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Hitting

    18/25

    With a .268 average and .327 OBP, Jhonny Peralta basically hasn't budged from where he was at the end of 2014. He's not quite as disciplined, so his OBP has paid the price, but the bright side is that he's still using his aggressiveness to feast on fastballs. To that end, there are few he can't hit. Elsewhere, he's doing fine with pretty much everything he puts in play. Relative to 2014, he's used more of the field and hit the ball about as hard. Peralta may be getting up there, but he can still hit.

    Power

    17/25

    Peralta's power has dropped off from 2014, but it's still above average. He's hit 16 home runs with a .137 ISO, and it's a wonder he hasn't done better. He's hit about 55 percent of his batted balls in the air and hit them very well: He has a 39.0 Hard% rate on fly balls and a 44.6 Hard% rate on line drives. And though he favors his pull side, he can drive the ball to all fields. It's doubtful he has another 21-homer season in him like he did in 2014, but what he's done this year undersells how much power he still has.

    Baserunning

    5/20

    Peralta is a 33-year-old bad-body shortstop, so his score here shouldn't surprise you. He's swiped only one base in five tries this season and posted a 25 XBT%, which is the lowest mark of anyone on this list. His recent track record says he can do better than this, but it's like we said. The guy is a 33-year-old bad-body shortstop. It shouldn't be taken for granted that he can do better.

    Defense

    16/30

    The metrics rated Peralta's defense highly last year, but this year he's at minus-five DRS and a minus-4.7 UZR. The catch here is that his defense is hard to evaluate. None of his physical tools jump out, and there are times when he looks out of place. But the eye test says he still has an excellent feel for the position, and it does allow him to sometimes make tough plays look too easy. Because of that, don't write off his defense just yet.

    Total

    56/100

    Peralta hasn't been the same as he was in 2014, when he was quietly one of the best two-way players in the National League. But his bat is still potent by the standards of the position, and his defensive instincts give him staying power with the glove.

9. Adeiny Hechavarria, Miami Marlins

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    12/25

    Adeiny Hechavarria is right about where he left off in 2014, hitting .281 with a .315 OBP. He's a fairly consistent contact hitter with more than enough bat control to hit it where they ain't. But same-side pitching remains his kryptonite, in part because right-handers can easily blow him away with heaters. And though he's OK at hitting the ball, he doesn't make nearly enough hard contact to justify what is a pretty aggressive approach. All in all, he's not a particularly good hitter.

    Power

    10/25

    Hechavarria has enjoyed something of a power surge this year but only to the extent that he has five homers and a .094 ISO. It doesn't help that he hits over half his batted balls on the ground, nor does it help that he spreads the ball around more than he does drive it. Still, some props are in order. His Hard% rates on fly balls and line drives are in the high 30s, a solid place for a shortstop to be. For a guy who doesn't really emphasize power, his power could be worse.

    Baserunning

    12/20

    Hechavarria will likely never be a terror on the basepaths, but he's again showing he can be pesky. He's stolen seven bases in nine tries and also upped his XBT% from 52 to 56. That easily tops the average shortstop, and he's done it while also dropping his outs on the basepaths from seven to four. He's been slowed—well, stopped—by a bad hamstring recently, but at 26, he's too young for that to linger.

    Defense

    25/30

    Hechavarria has 11 DRS and a 15.9 UZR. He's always had the defensive skills—chief among them being good first-step quickness to go with solid hands and arm strength—for this kind of season. But the difference this year looks like it's all upstairs. Hechavarria tended to get lackadaisical when he wasn't making fancy plays, but that's been less common this year. The results speak for themselves, and there's certainly optimism for his future.

    Total

    59/100

    Hechavarria still isn't much of a hitter, and his assorted weaknesses should ensure he stays that way. But there are worse hitters at the position, and few of them can play defense as well as Hechavarria can. He's become the defender he always could have been.

8. Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves

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    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    16/25

    This has been Andrelton Simmons' most consistent season, as he finds himself hitting .259 with a .317 OBP. His approach was never really wild, but now it's especially geared more toward making contact and spreading the ball around. This has equated to fewer wasted at-bats, hence the solid average and OBP. He still has his flaws, though. Among those are a reverse split that keeps getting worse and a declining ability to make hard contact. Simmons is better, but he still has things to work on.

    Power

    5/25

    A couple of years ago, Simmons' game was based too much on power. Now his three homers and .069 ISO show that it's barely based on power. This is no accident, as he's now hitting over 55 percent of his batted balls on the ground. His old pull power is also largely absent. And while his Hard% rates on fly balls (32.4) and line drives (38.1) could be worse, they're not nearly good enough to make a difference in the face of his newfound approach. Little power looks like the new normal for Simmons.

    Baserunning

    10/20

    Simmons still isn't a base stealer, as he's swiped only four bags in six tries this season. But he's once again showing he can be aggressive, posting a rock-solid 54 XBT%. That's a career-best mark that makes it easier to swallow the career-high seven outs he's run into on the basepaths. Overall, he's an average baserunner.

    Defense

    30/30

    Simmons owns 22 DRS and a 15.7 UZR, which once again makes him one of MLB's highest-rated defenders. We all know this is no fluke, as the highlights show he is basically the perfect shortstop. He's equipped with excellent instincts, quickness, hands, arm strength and throwing accuracy, which allow him to make every play in the book. End of discussion.

    Total

    61/100

    Simmons' main talent is his defense, which is as brilliant as it's ever been. But don't overlook the changes he's made on the offensive side of things. Albeit at the expense of his power, he's turned himself into a much more consistent hitter.

7. Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates

20 of 26

    Fred Vuich/Associated Press

    Hitting

    21/25

    A left leg injury ended his season early, but Jung Ho Kang showed he can handle the majors with a .287 average and .355 OBP. Everything started with a disciplined approach and tended to end with plenty of hard contact. And though he began the year with a swing-and-miss problem, it got better over time. Kang looked less than perfect in heavily favoring his pull side, with a very much related story being a drop-off in effectiveness against those tough-to-pull low-and-away pitches. Even still, he looks like he's going to be a very good hitter in the majors.

    Power

    17/25

    Kang also showed off legit power potential, hitting 15 homers and racking up a .173 ISO. He may have only put about 50 percent of his batted balls in the air, but he did so with excellent efficiency. His Hard% rate on fly balls was 43.8, and his Hard% rate on line drives was 52.1. And his pull habit allowed him to bombard pretty much everywhere left of center. The downside is that his injury could bar him from doing this again, though things would definitely be more concerning if it were his back leg.

    Baserunning

    9/20

    Kang wasn't billed as much of a speedster, so it's not surprising that he swiped only five bags in nine tries. He handled baserunning much better, posting a 53 XBT%. But after he returns from his leg injury, it won't be surprising if he's forced to take it much easier on the basepaths. Odds are he'll go from being a slightly above-average runner to something worse.

    Defense

    15/30

    Kang split his time between third and short, and the metrics show he was better at third base. As a shortstop, he only posted zero DRS and a minus-1.7 UZR. This makes sense, as neither Kang's range nor arm strength stood out at shortstop. But at third base, he could at least translate his quick reactions into solid defense. Knowing his range at short likely won't get any better, it wouldn't be surprising if the Pirates make the hot corner his long-term home.

    Total

    62/100

    Kang's rookie season was a tremendous success for the most part, as he showed he could be an impact offensive player with a decent glove. But after the injury, don't be shocked if he's not quite the same player when he returns in 2016.

6. Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays

21 of 26

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Hitting

    18/25

    Even before a shoulder injury put his season on hold, it had been a weird one for Troy Tulowitzki. After lighting the league afire in 2014, he's hit only .278 with a .337 OBP. That's still pretty good, of course, and more than anything Tulo could thank his continued habit of making thunderous contact. And relative to the average shortstop, he's also reasonably disciplined. But Tulo was wild by his own standards, and it hurt him in the form of extra whiffs and more of a tendency to pull the ball. It's hard to know what to make of this, but there's no denying he doesn't want to do it again.

    Power

    18/25

    With 17 home runs and a .159 ISO, Tulowitzki has kept the power coming at a solid rate this year. He's continued to hit nearly 60 percent of his batted balls in the air and crushing them when he did with a 39.7 Hard% rate on fly balls and a 56.8 Hard% rate on line drives. And though he's favored his pull side, he once again showed he doesn't need to rely on left field for power. The downside is that Tulo once again proved he's incapable of making it through a full season unharmed. And at some point, all his accumulated injuries may start sapping his power.

    Baserunning

    7/20

    Tulo was a dangerous baserunner once but not anymore. He stole just one base in one attempt this year and improved on last year's 25 XBT% with just a 33 XBT%. Things aren't likely to get better moving forward. At this point, Tulo is playing on a set of legs that has been beaten up by injuries and will soon be 31 years old. 

    Defense

    20/30

    Tulo's move to Toronto may have rescued his defense, as he's posted five DRS and an 8.6 UZR upon his arrival. That's more indicative of his talent level than the mediocre numbers he put up in Colorado (zero DRS and a minus-5.1 UZR). Tulo may not have the range he once did, but his quick reactions and long strides allow him to be as mobile as the next shortstop. And thanks to his rocket arm, he can finish plays other shortstops can't. 

    Total

    63/100

    This hasn't been Tulowitzki's best year, and it's coming at a time when we can't help but wonder if his prime is behind him. But don't write him off yet. His bat is still potent by shortstop standards, and he can still make it at the position defensively.

5. Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs

22 of 26

    Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    13/25

    It's been a bumpy road for Addison Russell in his rookie year, as he finds himself hitting just .236 with a .299 OBP. He's been slowed in part by one of the worst whiff habits in the shortstop ranks as well as a horrendous reverse split. But his discipline could actually be worse, and his coverage of the strike zone suggests he'll be dangerous if he can improve it further. And in the meantime, he helps make up for his pull tendency with plenty of hard contact. It all adds up to solid potential.

    Power

    17/25

    Russell has had little trouble with his power game, hitting 13 bombs and racking up a .151 ISO. He's helped himself by hitting 60 percent of his batted balls in the air, with solid Hard% rates on both fly balls (33.3) and line drives (40.4). And despite that pull habit, he's capable of giving the ball a ride to either side of center field. There's 15- to 20-homer potential here—good stuff for a shortstop.

    Baserunning

    10/20

    Baseball America pegged Russell as "an above-average runner but not a burner." He's proved it right. He's swiped only two bags in five tries and posted a 41 XBT% that's easily below the average for shortstops. But given that he's not slow, this likely represents the worst he can do. Moving forward, his baserunning should be in the realm of average for the position.

    Defense

    24/30

    Russell hasn't played a ton of shortstop since making the move from second base, but he's done enough to impress with eight DRS and a 4.7 UZR. If you've seen his highlights, you're not surprised. Russell doesn't have the best arm or the most range, but he makes plays with a blend of instincts, nifty footwork and pure energy. One doesn't want to get too excited about his potential given the small sample, but he's made it clear the Cubs have him in the right spot.

    Total

    64/100

    Russell has gone through some growing pains in his rookie season, but don't underestimate the foundation he's laid for the future. He's done enough to show he's on his way to becoming one of the game's best two-way shortstops.

4. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

23 of 26

    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Hitting

    22/25

    After falling flat in 2014, Xander Bogaerts has lived up to the hype by hitting .324 with a .356 OBP. The big change for him has been embracing the bat-control lifestyle after heavily favoring his pull side in 2014. And though it's cost him some hard contact, he's still getting by fine in that department. Rather, the issue is that he's actually gotten more aggressive and less disciplined, and it's still too easy to get him to whiff on anything that requires him to reach. He's better, but he still has things to improve on.

    Power

    12/25

    Predictably, Bogaerts' overhaul has hurt him in the power department: He's hit just seven homers with a .103 ISO. At the heart of this issue is that he's now hitting over 50 percent of his batted balls on the ground, compounding matters with just a 26.4 Hard% rate on fly balls. Fortunately, his 49.5 Hard% rate on line drives shows that his raw power hasn't disappeared completely, and his spray chart confirms he's still capable of driving the ball all over. This season should be the low point of Bogaerts' power.

    Baserunning

    15/20

    Bogaerts isn't the fastest runner, but that hasn't stopped him from being a hugely productive baserunner. He's swiped 10 bags in 11 tries and also posted a staggering 69 XBT%. As much as any other baserunner, he uses his brain and instincts to get the most out of his legs, which allows him to play much faster than his raw speed would suggest he's capable of playing.

    Defense

    18/30

    Bogaerts has played shortstop on a full-time basis, and that's been a good thing, as he's posted two DRS and a 2.7 UZR. He doesn't have a particularly impressive set of physical skills: His range is at best average, and his arm strength might only be a tick above average. But his instincts are solid, and playing defense (and really doing everything) with more confidence in 2015 has allowed him to show them off more often. He's not likely to be a great defender, but he's turned himself into a good one.

    Total

    67/100

    After enduring a brutal 2014 season, Bogaerts has arrived in 2015. He's turned himself into one of the better offensive shortstops in baseball and at least a solid defender. All told, that makes him a legit two-way threat.

3. Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants

24 of 26

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Hitting

    12/25

    Brandon Crawford was well on his way to a career year, but a second-half slump has lowered his average to .256 and his OBP to .314. This was bound to happen. Crawford has been far more aggressive than usual this season. This has contributed to a heaping helping of hard contact. But it's also made him even more prone to whiffing than he already was, and all that hard contact can't quite hide his increasing pull tendency. He's therefore still a flawed hitter, but he shouldn't be expected to change because of how well his approach has served him in the next category.

    Power

    22/25

    This is where Crawford has really awoken in 2015, slugging 19 homers and posting a .201 ISO. He's only hit a little over 50 percent of his batted balls in the air, but he's been efficient with a 52.5 Hard% rate on fly balls and a 36.8 Hard% rate on line drives. He also hasn't needed to pull the ball in order to drive it, which has helped him keep his power production afloat even at AT&T Park. This is more than likely the best Crawford can do, but it does show what can be gained from an aggressive approach.

    Baserunning

    9/20

    Crawford isn't a burner relative to his fellow shortstops, and it shows. He's swiped only five bags in nine tries and has posted a 49 XBT%, which is basically average. That XBT% also likely represents his ceiling, so it's fair to expect Crawford's baserunning to go from being barely OK to slightly worse than that.

    Defense

    27/30

    Crawford is living up to his reputation as a defensive wizard, with 22 DRS and a 11.4 UZR. He can be a sight to behold, as he achieves range through a quick first step and finishes plays with good hands and above-average arm strength. The one gripe you can have is that he occasionally tries to do too much and commits errors as a result. Apart from that, though, there's little question he's one of MLB's most talented defenders. 

    Total

    70/100

    Crawford's second-half slump has revealed that his hitting hasn't advanced as much as he made it seem in the first half. But his power explosion looks legit, and his defense is once again a huge plus. You are looking at one of the league's top two-way shortstops.

2. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

25 of 26

    Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    19/25

    Francisco Lindor has gotten everyone's attention by hitting .317 with a .354 OBP, but we should pump the brakes a little. He hasn't showed off an especially advanced approach, so it makes sense that he's gotten by mainly by crushing fastballs. Pitchers could see that and take a hint. But lest we downplay Lindor's success too much, he is a good contact hitter with an all-fields approach, and he's gotten really good at making hard contact the last two months. Maybe he's overachieved, but his future is still bright.

    Power

    11/25

    Lindor has also teased legit power potential with 10 homers and a .161 ISO, which is much better than his minor league track record. But therein lies another red flag. He's hitting 50 percent of his batted balls on the ground, which is not indicative of a power hitter, and it should be noted that a chunk of his homers have barely cleared the fence down the right field line. He does, however, have a 47.5 Hard% rate on line drives. That should ultimately be a precursor to consistent gap power.

    Baserunning

    14/20

    Lindor was a 20- to 30-steal guy in the minors, and he's done enough to show that such production could follow him to the majors. He's swiped eight bags in 10 tries and also posted a 47 XBT%, which is right in line with the average for shortstops. We don't want to get too excited about what this could mean, but it's another aspect of his game that looks like a precursor to solid production.

    Defense

    29/30

    Defense was Lindor's main calling card as a prospect, and he's living up to that with seven DRS and a 7.2 UZR. This is no accident. His instincts and first step are so good that he often seems to know where batters are going to hit the ball, and his smooth hands and strong arm allow him to easily finish plays. And while he's had issues with throwing errors, those make his accuracy look worse than it actually is. All told, he has the goods to be the American League's best defensive shortstop.

    Total

    73/100

    It's possible to downplay how good Lindor has been in his rookie season—but only to an extent. He's shown the potential to be an elite defensive shortstop who will also hit and speed around the bases, a recipe that could soon put him among baseball's elite players.

1. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

26 of 26

    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Hitting

    20/25

    Carlos Correa has showed off his exciting potential with a .278 average and .346 OBP, and for the most part, it's legit. He has an advanced approach that features reasonably consistent contact. And when he does make contact, he has little trouble using the whole field and hitting the ball hard. One red flag is that Correa hasn't proved to be much of a low-ball hitter. That's a problem in this day and age, and his height (6'4") won't make it an easy fix. But even with that, he looks like a really good hitter.

    Power

    25/25

    This is where Correa has excelled, hitting 19 homers with a .226 ISO. He hasn't made hitting for power easy by knocking nearly 50 percent of his batted balls on the ground. But with a 40.7 Hard% rate on fly balls and a 56.5 Hard% rate on line drives, he's certainly made the most of what he's put in the air. He's also shown he can drive the ball to all fields. It all adds up to 25- to 30-homer potential, which is elite by shortstop standards.

    Baserunning

    15/20

    Correa also offers speed to go with his power. He stole his share of bases in the minors and has kept on going with 12 steals in 16 tries in the majors. That signals the potential for 20-25 steals in a full season, and Correa has also impressed with his aggressive baserunning, including a 50 XBT%. This gives him the makings of the top power/speed threat shortstop has to offer.

    Defense

    20/30

    Correa's defense has not been great with minus-two DRS and a minus-3.9 UZR, but these numbers undersell what he's working with. He may not cover as much ground as the top shortstops in the league, but he has solid range thanks to his sheer size and a quick first step. Add pretty good hands and elite arm strength, and you have a guy who should be able to play good defense at short for a few years before he inevitably moves to the hot corner.

    Total

    80/100

    It looks like the Astros chose wisely when they picked Correa No. 1 overall in 2012. He's already shown potential as the most dangerous all-around offensive threat at the position, and he has the goods to be a quality defender as well. 

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