There are 19 shortstops in this year’s BP 101. I know that not just because I contributed to the making of said list, but because I hit CTRL+F and searched for “, SS” and it came up 19 times. Obviously the position is a premium one, but nearly 20 percent of the list coming from one position seemed a notable number.
AL East Scout
What shortstop is too high?: “Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals. I’ve been low on Mondesi for a couple of years now, so maybe I’m not the guy to ask, but I just don’t see this as one of the 20 best prospects in baseball. The hit [tool] is below average, you’re not gonna get more than 10-12 homers, and the defensive value can only carry him so far. I’m not saying he’s not a regular, but a top-20 prospect to me is a guy who makes all-star teams, and I don’t see Raul Mondesi making all-star teams."
What shortstop is too low?: “Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves. I’ve only seen videotape so picking him is a little dangerous, but everyone I talk to about the kid just raves about how quick he picks things up. I really like the swing, and I think there’s more power here than he’s being given credit. If you asked me if I could trade Dansby Swanson For Raul Mondesi, you better believe that I’d rather have the Swanson package."
Is this a golden age? ”Maybe if you count guys like Addison Russell and Carlos Correa, yeah, you could say that. The position is in as good of shape as I can ever remember it, and most of those guys are gonna stick at least up the middle. It’s a fun time.”
NL Central Scout
Too high?: Daniel Robertson, SS, Tampa Bay Rays. “Well first of all, I don’t think he’s going to play shortstop, so that obviously hurts my opinion. There’s some offensive upside here but it’s not elite. I wouldn’t give anything a six, and I think he’s going to really struggle against better right-handed pitching. If he sticks at shortstop I’ll look dumb, but nothing I’ve seen and nothing I’ve heard from others tells me he’s going to be anything but a so-so third baseman."
Too low?: J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies. "I think this is the best prospect in baseball, so anything but spot one would be too low for me. Corey Seager’s great, but he’s gonna move to third someday. Crawford isn’t. Lots to like about [Lucas]Giolito and [Byron] Buxton, but they don’t have the combination of floor and ceiling. I just don’t think we see a seven defender with a 6 hit tool very often, and you could see that from Crawford. That’s special, my friend."
Golden age?:”Maybe I'm just old and can't remember the position being this good but yeah I'd say so, and that’s not including the guys like Correa and Lindor and those guys. I think you’re seeing teams really value the position, and they should, if your best player is a shortstop and it’s a guy who actually deserves to be a best player, you’re doing something right.”
AL West Scout
Too high: Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox. "I like Anderson a lot, but I don’t see how you can rank him above guys like Swanson, Brendan Rodgers, Barreto, etc.. His approach needs a ton of work, and when you’re striking out this much without walking, I’d like at least some power, and Anderson doesn’t have it. I’m also not completely sold that his best position wouldn’t be second base, but I certainly can’t blame Chicago for playing him there til he just can’t. [He’s] a good player, but there are several better listed below."
Too low: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies. "It’s close for me, but when I got a chance to watch draft video, I became infatuated with Rodgers.. Plus hit, plus power, plus arm, good feel for the game, all the stuff you’re looking for from an offense-first middle infielder. It’s not like he’s atrocious on defense, he’s got a great chance of staying at shortstop. I just think there’s too much offensive upside for him not to be considered one of the 15-20 best prospects right now."
Golden age?: "I think that’s a dangerous term, because so many of these guys are so young and have so much that will have to go right if they are even going to reach a touch of their overall potential. All that being said, yeah, the position is really good right now, and in my 20-plus years of doing this I can’t remember this much talent there, both offensively and defensively."
Six different options, six different names. Really what this does is help illustrate how much this is a “in the eye of the beholder” situation, where different skill sets are going to play up for different talent evaluators. While the scouts were hesitant to call it a golden age, you can see from the comments that they all agreed that the position is in tremendous shape. You already knew that from reading the list, but affirmation isn’t such a bad thing.
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