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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.

And so, this got me to thinking. With so much of the list coming from one place, how does the industry view the position? A few months ago we ran our “Ask The Industry" series, but this is a much larger spectrum to work with, and I was curious to see whether the industry agreed or disagreed on how we viewed the shortstop prospects of today.

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.

Thank you for reading

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greenday8885
2/03
Really enjoyed this concept! It would also be cool to see something like this done as a comparison with other popular top 10/top 101 lists, particularly the guys the BP and others ranked very differently.
jonvanderlugt
2/03
A couple of typos: the wrong "your" in the Golden Age header from the NL Central scout, and in the final paragraph, while you are talking about tools here, it's probably not in reference to kitchen tools (skillet vs. skill set). Really interesting material though! Enjoyed the piece.
TheArtfulDodger
2/03
Thanks Jon. Corrections made.
jfranco77
2/03
Is this *a* golden age? Sure. Is this *the* golden age? Not sure I'm taking Correa/Bogaerts/Lindor/Seager/Russell over ARod/Nomar/Jeter/Tejada/Vizquel.
jonvanderlugt
2/03
You know, I almost lol'd at including Vizquel in that group, but from 1995-2004 (admittedly arbitrary, sure), he was as valuable as Tejada was. Granted, Tejada came into the league in 1998, but Vizquel wasn't someone that I thought of as being within spitting distance of those guys (though compared to A-Rod it's not close).
boatman44
2/03
Omar was like a butterfly, skittering around the infield, his defence was a thing of beauty, and during his Cleveland days he made a meaningful contribution with his bat and legs, deserves to be mentioned with the above, in my humble opinion :)
oldbopper
2/04
I totally agree. One of my pet peeves is that the Hall of Fame is really the Hall of Offense. For that reason I have no trouble with Bill Mazeroski, the best second baseman I ever saw, being in the Hall. Ozzie Smith is the best, but Omar the Outmaker deserves consideration. He passed the eye test, even BP wrote in the 2001 Edition that Vizquel warranted it if he could match The Wiz's longevity. I think 24 years answers that.
huztlers
2/03
Two of those guys in the golden age group have played one full season - the rest have played zero - hype much?
Theman3983
2/03
Well, I get paid to write about prospects for a living so, yes. Hype much.
chapmantime
2/05
You responding to an article on prospects on a site mostly dedicated to prospects. Troll much?
bhalpern
2/03
To be fair all those guys would never have been on a prospect list together. For 1994 BA had these 10 on the Top 100: 2. Chipper Jones 4. Alex Gonzalez 6. Alex Rodriguez 16. Derek Jeter 23. Benji Gil 41. Pokey Reese 46. Orlando Miller 64. Glenn Williams 65. Manny Alexander 74. Edgardo Alfonzo Not too shabby.
geodoig
2/04
1995 Baseball America Top 100 prospects included the following players as shortstops: Alex Rodriguez Chipper Jones Derek Jeter Alex Gonzalez Rey Ordonez Nomar Garciaparra All are a Hall of Famer, MVP, All-Star or Gold Glove winner. Chipper moved off SS quickly, but he was a listed as a SS in the prospect lists.
jsdspud
2/03
Love these types of articles, keep them coming.
Myrick
2/03
Nice article. Really like to see what the MLB team employed scouts are saying! More of these please.
OuagadougouGM
2/03
Tim Anderson did improve his plate discipline as the season went on and still more than held his own at AA, so I'd view that as a good sign. For example, in the first 50 games of the season, his walk rate was an atrocious 2.3% of plate appearances. In the last 75 games, it was still bad, but edging into acceptable territory at 5.8%. He also cut his K rate by about 8% in the later set of games.
Theman3983
2/03
Right, did absolutely see significant improvement. I still understand why many, many scouts have some concerns about the overall approach, but anytime you get improvement it's a good thing. How's that for an obvious statement?
bchenier
2/03
wow looks like you way overrated the american league prospects and underrated the national league. six is a large enough sample size to say so, right? in srsness - love the "ask the industry" columns. keep on chuggin.
Theman3983
2/04
Glad you folks liked this one.
rookie319s
2/04
Great article Chris... keep up the good work.
NJTomatoes
2/04
Very nice. Please sir, may I have some more?