MLB Position Power Rankings for Every Team's Projected Shortstops
Shortstops are the linchpin of the infield, and there are a bunch of MLB infields with strong linchpins in 2020.
Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story and Xander Bogaerts are at the head of the class, but they have a ton of competition. Ranking shortstops was far more arduous than third basemen, second basemen and catchers due to the sheer volume of good ones.
This isn't a ranking of the best shortstops for fantasy baseball, where home runs and stolen bases reign supreme. We also considered batting average, on-base percentage and fielding.
These rankings primarily rely on perceived value of each team's projected starter, but depth at shortstop (or lack thereof) was also a small factor that bumped some teams up or down a few spots.
30. J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners
In 165 career games over the past three seasons, Crawford has hit .222/.320/.367 with 10 home runs while providing below-average fielding. He isn't as dreadful with his glove/arm as some of the guys featured here, but he's far from the top 15. If that's what he does during a "full" season this year, Seattle will be at or near the bottom of MLB at this position.
The Mariners do still have Dee Gordon, but he has been worth only 0.5 FanGraphs WAR over the past two seasons and has played only 10 games at shortstop during that time. They don't have any middle infield prospects waiting in the wings, either. It's likely Crawford's job come hell or high water.
29. Orlando Arcia, Milwaukee Brewers
Despite hitting 15 home runs last season, Arcia posted a negative FanGraphs WAR (minus-0.4) for the third time in four seasons. He has a career WAR of only 0.2 in 479 games.
Plan B isn't any better, as Luis Urias also has a career FanGraphs WAR of 0.2, though he has gotten to that point in only 83 games. The Brewers are in great shape at the other seven positions, though, so perhaps they can at least tread water at shorstop until trading for an upgrade.
28. Freddy Galvis, Cincinnati Reds
Galvis is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. He batted .260 and hit a career-high 23 home runs. However, he did most of that damage with Toronto. After arriving in Cincinnati, he batted .100 in his final 19 games and missed the final two-plus weeks with a knee injury. He also battled shoulder and quad injuries in spring training. Recent reports are that he's back to full health, but even three minor injuries in the span of six months is cause for concern.
Worse yet, the Reds have almost no infield depth. They would have to turn to Alex Blandino or Josh VanMeter if any of their starters misses time, neither of whom has shown much of anything in the big leagues thus far.
27. Niko Goodrum, Detroit Tigers
Goodrum has been Mr. Utility for the Tigers. He started at least one game at every position except for pitcher and catcher last year, but he should be the everyday shortstop in 2020.
He's a decent fantasy option with at least 12 home runs and 12 stolen bases in each of the past two seasons. However, he's not a great fielder and he hit below .250 both years. He's marginally better than a replacement-level player, but he's nowhere near league average at the most loaded position.
26. Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves
Swanson is a slightly better version of Goodrum, aside from the utility part, as Swanson has yet to play any position aside from short. He has 31 home runs and 20 stolen bases since the beginning of 2018, but he's a .245 hitter and just an OK fielder.
Similar story for backup Adeiny Hechavarria, though he did bat .328/.400/.639 during his 24-game stint with the Braves last year. If they get that dude for a full season, look out. Don't bet on it, though.
25. Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants
Crawford is a two-time All Star and a three-time Gold Glove recipient, but he has considerably regressed both in the field and at the dish over the past season-and-a-half.
After peaking at .315 on July 1, 2018, he hit .184 with four home runs over the final 71 games of that campaign. He proceeded to post five-year lows in both batting average (.228) and home runs (11) last year. And after posting defense ratings of at least 15.0 each year from 2015-17, he was in the 5.5-6.0 range in 2018 and 2019.
However, he still made 137 starts at shortstop last year, in large part because the Giants don't have much of a backup plan. All of their top-rated middle-infield prospects are probably two years away, so the cavalry isn't coming any time soon.
24. Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins
Rojas is a solid fielder. In more than 650 innings at shortstop in 2018, he made only two errors. Had he spent more time there, he might have been in the running for the Gold Glove. He committed 11 errors in 122 starts at shortstop last year, but his overall defense rating was still well above average in both years.
He's not much of a threat at the plate, though, and he has a modest career FanGraphs WAR of 5.3 in six seasons. Don't be surprised if this ends up being somewhat of a timeshare situation with Jon Berti, even though the projected backup would only provide a modest improvement at the plate in exchange for a marked decline in the field.
23. Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
It's tempting to put Bichette several spots higher than this. In only 46 games last year, he slashed .311/.358/.571 with 11 home runs. The Blue Jays were fine with waiving Freddy Galvis largely because he Bichette played so well.
The previous year in Double-A ball, Bichette hit .286 with 11 home runs and 32 stolen bases.
However, he has only 46 games of MLB experience, and he has struggled in the field, committing 18 errors in 96 games at shortstop between his various levels of the Toronto organization last year. If he has any sort of sophomore slump at the plate—combined with those defensive shortcomings—this shortstop situation won't be anything special in 2020.
22. Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates
After batting .209 with no home runs or stolen bases in 31 games in 2018, Newman hit .308 with 12 homers and 16 stolen bases in 130 games last year. He also hit .302 and swiped 28 bags in Triple-A in 2018, so a repeat performance isn't out of the question.
Like Bichette, though, Newman's glove is a liability. Per FanGraphs, he had a minus-1.0 defense rating at shortstop last year, which ranked 22nd out of the 25 guys who played at least 800 innings at that position.
If he bats over .300 again, no big deal. Good offense plus replacement-level defense roughly equals league-average production. But if he slips down into the .270 range, that's no good. Nor is Pittsburgh's backup, Erik Gonzalez, who has a career FanGraphs WAR of 0.3.
21. Jose Iglesias, Baltimore Orioles
If nothing else, Iglesias adds a lot of value on defense. He has yet to win a Gold Glove in his career, but only Andrelton Simmons and Francisco Lindor have a better FanGraphs defense rating at the position since the start of 2016. If Iglesias is close to that conversation this year, he should get some extra consideration as something of a lifetime achievement award.
On the flip side of that coin, he has been a big negative on offense. During that same four-year period, Iglesias ranks 38th out of 42 qualified shortstops in FanGraphs offense rating. He has batted .267 in those four seasons, so he isn't a total black hole in the lineup. Still, he isn't creating runs at anywhere near the same level as his peers.
Combine those two components and you have a marginally below-average shortstop. The Orioles signed him this offseason because former starter/current backup Richie Martin had the worst 2019 FanGraphs WAR among all shortstops who accumulated at least 300 plate appearances.
20. Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
Even after 11 seasons in the majors, Andrus is still one of MLB's valuable baserunners. He stole 31 more bases in 2019, bringing his career total to 302. He also batted a respectable .275 with 12 home runs.
However, he sputtered to the finish line, hitting only .238/.278/.321 over his final 66 games last year, and he has gotten noticeably worse on defense over the past two seasons.
Perhaps he'll bounce back in 2020, but he's also turning 32 in August. Aside from Derek Jeter and that time Jhonny Peralta had a breakout year at 32, how many shortstops either improved or maintained a high-level of production in an age-31 (or later) season? Continued regression is more likely.
19. Didi Gregorius, Philadelphia Phillies
At his peak from 2017-18, Gregorius was a top-10 shortstop. He hit .277/.326/.486 with 52 home runs while providing solid defense. He was never an All-Star nor a Gold Glove recipient, but he finished 20th in the AL MVP vote in each of those seasons.
However, he had Tommy John surgery shortly after the 2018 season and was not the same last year. He batted only .238 in 82 games, and he didn't get better as he got back into the swing of things. He hit a horrific .163/.230/.326 over his final 25 games.
As with Andrus, age is at least of minor concern here, too. Gregorius turned 30 in February and has missed at least 26 games in each of the last three seasons. Unless/until they call up third baseman Alec Bohm, the Phillies have no infield flexibility whatsoever.
18. Amed Rosario, New York Mets
Following a pedestrian first two seasons in the majors, Rosario had a minor breakout in 2019. He batted .287 with 15 home runs and 19 stolen bases. He also made some positive strides on defense, although he's still a far cry from elite in that department.
There are causes for concern, though. He has stolen 50 bases over the past three seasons, but he has also been caught stealing 24 times. That isn't a great rate of success. His career on-base percentage of .305 leaves something to be desired, too.
But Rosario is only 24, and he has improved in each season thus far. He could take another big step forward in 2020.
17. Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays
Adames had a respectable rookie season in 2018, and he followed up with an even better performance last year. His batting average dropped from .278 to .254, but he made up for it by clubbing 20 home runs and improving drastically on defense. Per Baseball Reference, he had the ninth-highest WAR among players who spent at least 50 percent of their time at shortstop.
So, why is he barely in the top 20? Because this is the point where the ranking became painful due to the sheer volume of quality shortstops.
Adames has a 4.2 FanGraphs WAR over the past two seasons, but everyone left in our top 17 is at 3.6 or better in that category. And among the 50 players who made at least 300 plate appearances at shortstop in the past two seasons, he ranks 23rd in offense rating and 26th in defense. Adames is much better than replacement level, yet he's still slightly below average.
16. Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals
Similar to both Elvis Andrus and Amed Rosario, raw speed is Mondesi's best attribute. He has 75 stolen bases in only 177 games over the past two seasons. While Andrus has averaged about one steal for every five games in his career, Mondesi is well below three games per stolen base. And while Rosario gets thrown out on nearly one-third of his attempts, Mondesi has an 84.3 percent success rate over the past two seasons.
But if we called out Rosario's career OBP of .305, we must also point out Mondesi's mark of .282. He has been better in the past two seasons than he was in 2016-17, but he is still well below average in the art of getting on base—which, in turn, lessens his ability to make an impact as a baserunner.
Because of that, he's basically a better-slugging, shortstop-playing version of Billy Hamilton, though a career rate of one home run per 36.3 plate appearances hardly makes him a slugger.
That still might have been enough for Mondesi to rank in the top 15 if not for the glaring lack of a contingency plan. According to ESPN's depth chart for the Royals, Mondesi's primary backup is starting second baseman Nicky Lopez, and his secondary backup is starting center fielder Whit Merrifield. But Lopez's primary backup at second base is Merrifield and Mondesi is his secondary replacement, so how does that work when either middle infielder needs a day off?
15. Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks
We venture into the top half of the rankings with the National League's two-time reigning Gold Glove recipient. FanGraphs rates Ahmed as the seventh-best defensive shortstop over the past two seasons, while Baseball Reference has him at No. 2 in career fielding runs above average among active shortstops. Either way, he's a huge plus in the field.
Offense is another story, though.
Despite a recent uptick in home runs—16 in 2018, 19 in 2019—Ahmed has slashed .236/.289/.387 in his six seasons. He batted a career-best .254 last season, but that's a low high-water mark as far as career bests go. He isn't a serious threat on the basepaths, either, averaging 24.5 games per stolen base.
Ahmed turned 30 in mid-March, too, so a sudden increase in batting or baserunning seems unlikely.
14. Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins
From 2010-15 (spent mostly in the minor leagues), Polanco's single-season high in home runs was six. He got up to 13 in both 2016 and 2017, but he still wasn't anything close to a power hitter. He then swatted 22 home runs in 2019 while batting .295.
Out of nowhere, Polanco became one of the most valuable bats among shortstops. He is not a good fielder, though, and this might wind up being a one-year power spike in a season that produced a lot of career highs in home runs.
But Minnesota received a slight boost because of Royce Lewis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft and one of the top shortstop prospects in all of baseball. That's a nice ace to have up your sleeve just in case Polanco regresses back to below league-average production.
13. Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
Placing Anderson was quite the conundrum.
He has at least 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases in each of the last three seasons, and he led the majors with a .335 batting average in 2019. However, his FanGraphs defense rating since 2017 (minus-3.4) ranks last among the 51 players who logged at least 600 innings at shortstop during that span.
And while he won the batting title last year, Anderson hit .257 in 2017 and .240 in 2018. He's also one of the worst in the majors at drawing walks (3.3 percent in his career), so his career on-base percentage is barely .300.
Even with the .335 average, 18 home runs and 17 stolen bases, his 2019 FanGraphs WAR (3.5) was less than what Fernando Tatis Jr. accumulated in 84 games (3.6) and barely more than what Carlos Correa got in 75 games (3.2). Unless Anderson suddenly stops committing a ton of errors, the best-case scenario is that he's a borderline top-10 shortstop in 2020. However, it's impossible to ignore that batting title.
12. Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
When Torres hit 24 home runs in 2018—after hitting 24 in more than 1,600 plate appearances in the minors in the previous four-plus years—it was fair to be skeptical about whether he could keep it up. But after another 38 jacks in 2019, it seems fair to lock him in as one of the best power-hitting middle infielders in the game today.
Can he play the field, though?
Torres spent more time at second base than shortstop over the past two seasons, but he was bad at both. He had a .969 fielding percentage with 21 errors in 1,463 innings at second base. It was the second-worst fielding percentage among the 27 players who logged at least 1,000 innings at second during those two years.
And that was the better of his two positions.
At shortstop, Torres had a .954 fielding percentage with 16 errors in 811.2 innings. Out of 38 players who spent at least 800 innings at short, he tied with Chris Taylor for last in fielding percentage. Combine that with a good-not-great career batting average (.275) and mediocre-at-best marks in baserunning, and those home runs only carry him so far at a loaded position.
11. Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels
Simmons and Torres are in opposite boats. L.A.'s shortstop is one of the most valuable defenders in the game today. He has earned four Gold Gloves—two with the Braves, two with the Angels—and he could have won at least two more. He has been consistently far above average in defensive runs saved. As far as fielding percentage goes, 2019 was the worst of his career, and he still ended up at a respectable .974.
But Torres hit more home runs last year than Simmons has hit in the past four years combined (36). He batted .264/.309/.364 in 2019 with only seven home runs and 40 RBI. And nearly one-third of his at-bats came from the cleanup spot even though he was the least valuable on offense among the Angels regulars.
It also bears mentioning that Simmons turned 30 in September. Last year might have been the start of the type of career swoon that hits so many shortstops around this age. And if it starts to impact his range on defense, he doesn't do anywhere near enough at the plate to be a top-half-of-the-league type of guy.
10. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
By 2017, Correa seemed like he was going to be one of the best in the business on an annual basis. Two years after winning AL Rookie of the Year, he hit .315/.391/.550 while racking up at least 20 home runs for the third consecutive season. He was an All-Star and finished 17th in the AL MVP vote despite playing in only 109 games.
However, truncated seasons have become his calling card of sorts. He missed about a month-and-a-half in 2017 with a torn thumb ligament, missed a similar length of time with a back injury in 2018 and had two stints on the IL last year, missing 50 games with a rib fracture and 25 games with another back ailment. He has averaged only 98 games over the past three seasons.
Correa has been less effective in recent years, too. He batted a career-worst .239/.323/.405 in 2018, and his .279 average last year was still a far cry from his 2017 production (which is when Houston's sign stealing was supposedly at its apex).
But with 21 home runs and 59 RBI in only 75 games last year, Correa was on pace for 46 home runs and 128 RBI across a full 162-game season. That would get him right back into the MVP conversation, though anything close to 162 games seems like a pipe dream at this point.
If the Astros do what they did last year and put Alex Bregman at shortstop for the majority of Correa's absence, they would probably still be a top-five team at this position. But if we instead assume that Aledmys Diaz and Myles Straw are the primary backup options for Correa, No. 10 seems fair.
9. Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
Will Seager regain his pre-Tommy John form?
In 2016 and 2017, FanGraphs rated Seager as MLB's fifth-most valuable position player. His 12.9 WAR trailed only Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Jose Altuve and Mookie Betts. He won NL Rookie of the Year in 2016 and placed third in the MVP vote that season.
However, he missed all but the first 26 games of 2018 before having the surgery, and he was only about half as valuable in 2019 as he was in 2017.
There's no question he improved throughout the course of the season, though. After 40 games, he was hitting .225/.325/.341 with only two home runs. In his final 94 games, he hit .291/.339/.538 with 17 homers. He also had 34 doubles during that portion of the season and ended up leading the National League with 44 of them.
And for whatever spring training stats are worth, he was hitting .385/.448/.577 before MLB shut everything down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
If he's fully back to his pre-Tommy John form, he should be a top-five shortstop. But on behalf of scorned fantasy baseball owners from the past two seasons, we'll exercise a bit of caution in placing him here.
8. Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals
After three seasons in the big leagues, DeJong seems like he's destined for a career of getting the "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" treatment.
He has a 10.5 FanGraphs WAR in those three years thanks to 74 home runs and well-above-average defense. He hit a career-high 30 of those last year, and he committed only seven errors while making 156 starts at shortstop. He didn't win the Gold Glove, but FanGraphs says he was the best defensive shortstop in the majors last year.
He didn't receive a single first-place vote for NL Rookie of the Year in 2017, either, despite batting .285 with 25 home runs. That was more of a pro-Cody Bellinger situation than an anti-DeJong one, but it's more evidence for the bridesmaid/bride idea.
Though he has plenty of room to improve his batting average— he hit .233 last year and .241 the year before—he's clearly among the best at his position. However, he has yet to get recognized for it. Perhaps that'll change this year, but DeJong will likely slip through the cracks again as a top-10 shortstop that only the fans in St. Louis appropriately appreciate.
7. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
As with Carlos Correa, there are injury concerns here. Tatis suffered a broken finger in the minors on a head-first slide in July 2018, strained a hamstring stretching for an errant throw last April and missed the final 43 games of last season because of a lower back injury.
When he has been available, though, he has been sensational—at the plate, at least.
In only 84 games as a rookie last year, he hit .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs and 16 stolen bases, finishing third in the NL Rookie of the Year vote. Extrapolate that to 162 games and you're looking at more than 40 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Even if you account for some injuries and say he plays 115 games, he'd still be on pace for 30 dingers and 22 swipes. Those numbers are on par with peak-health Troy Tulowitzki in a 150-game campaign.
Tatis is currently tied for the fifth-best odds for NL MVP, per Caesars.
Unfortunately, early returns suggest he is a huge liability in the field. He committed 18 errors in 731.1 innings last season, most of which were of the throwing variety. Combine that with his relative lack of experience in the majors and we have to undersell him a bit at No. 7.
6. Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
Over the past four seasons, Turner has hit .293/.349/.470 with 62 home runs and 157 stolen bases. If not for some unfortunate injury luck, he likely would have been an All-Star at least once by now.
Turner missed roughly two weeks with a hamstring injury in April 2017, and he suffered a broken wrist on a hit-by-pitch in late June. Last year, he suffered a broken finger on a bunt attempt in the fourth game of the season and ended up missing more than six weeks. Those are prime All-Star-vote-influencing games out the window.
But he played all 162 games in 2018 and wasn't chosen for the All-Star Game, so who knows what the excuse was that year. Now that he's a World Series champion, though, more people should be aware of the positive impact he has on the Nationals.
Turner isn't an elite fielder, but he's at least adequate in that department. Though he'll make the occasional error, he's likely going to steal three or four bases for every error he commits over the course of the season, so it doesn't hurt as much as it would with some guys.
Turner's combination of speed, on-base percentage and power—19 home runs in each of the last two seasons—puts him just outside the top five at shortstop.
5. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
The top five at shortstop is ridiculously stacked.
So here we are with a two-time reigning All-Star and the top runner-up for the 2018 NL MVP at No. 5.
Baez hit .290/.326/.554 with 34 home runs and 111 RBI during his almost-MVP campaign, and he didn't take much of a step backward in 2019. He missed 24 games, but his 162-game rate was 35 home runs and 100 RBI with a .281/.316/.531 slash line. And in his first year as an everyday shortstop—as opposed to a guy who bounced around between short, second and third—he put up impressive defensive numbers.
Had he been that valuable on defense in previous years—or if his career on-base percentage was better than .310—he would've been a much stronger candidate for the top three.
4. Marcus Semien, Oakland A's
Semien has been on a meteoric rise over the past two seasons.
In 2017, he was a nobody. He hit .249, slugged .398 and provided little-to-no value on defense. To that point in his five-year career, he had not posted a FanGraphs WAR greater than 2.1.
But in 2018, he suddenly became a major asset on defense. And while maintaining that value added with his glove, he hit .285, slugged .522 and clubbed a career-high 33 home runs in 2019 en route to a 7.6 WAR and a third-place finish in the AL MVP vote.
Excluding Alex Bregman (since he's primarily a third baseman now), Francisco Lindor (12.0) and Xander Bogaerts (11.7) are the only shortstops with a higher FanGraphs WAR in the past two seasons than Semien (11.4). He has yet to appear in an All-Star Game, but that drought should be coming to an end soon.
3. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
Since the start of the 2015 season, Bogaerts is batting .298/.360/.468, has a FanGraphs WAR of 24.4, was a two-time All Star and a three-time Silver Slugger recipient and finished in the top 13 in his league's MVP vote twice. He also set career highs in home runs in each of the past two years, hitting 23 in 2018 and 33 in 2019. And while he hasn't won any Gold Gloves, he's above average in the field.
In other words, he has been excellent. Trevor Story and Francisco Lindor have just been slightly more excellent.
The Red Sox signed Bogaerts to a six-year, $120 million extension one year ago, and it looks like an absolute steal at this point. Per Spotrac, he's tied for 42nd in 2020 salary, even though he was a top-10 overall position player in 2019.
2. Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
Story has had back-to-back seasons at or above each of the following:
- 35 home runs
- 23 stolen bases
- .290 batting average
- .550 slugging percentage
- 5.0 FanGraphs WAR
Here's the full list of players in MLB history who have had multiple seasons at those HR, SB, BA and SLG thresholds:
- Barry Bonds
- Willie Mays
- Alex Rodriguez
- Trevor Story
Even Mike Trout hasn't done it twice, even though his averages over the past eight seasons are 35 HR, 24 SB, .308 BA and .587 SLG.
Story was an All-Star and a Silver Slugger and finished in the top 12 of the NL MVP vote in both 2018 and 2019. He deserved better, though, especially when the Rockies won 91 games in 2018. People seem to think Story is the Robin to Nolan Arenado's Batman, but it's more like a Batman and Superman situation.
1. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
If we had exclusively looked at last season, Lindor would've been No. 4 at best, ranked behind Story, Bogaerts and Semien.
He hit .284/.335/.518 with 32 home runs and 22 stolen bases, won a Gold Glove and finished 15th in the AL MVP race. But he wasn't quite as good as he was from 2016-18, when he finished within the top 10 of the AL MVP vote all three years.
He narrowly lost the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year battle to Carlos Correa and has only gotten better since then. Lindor has at least 32 home runs and 15 stolen bases in each of the last three seasons. He is a four-time reigning All-Star who either won a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger in each of those four years (two of each overall).
Among all position players, Lindor has the fifth-highest FanGraphs WAR (23.2) since the start of 2016. Only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon have been better. No other shortstop ranks in the top 12.
And he's still only 26, so he might get even better.