MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2018 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.Our last stop on the dirt as we unveil our Top 10 by
MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2018 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.
Our last stop on the dirt as we unveil our Top 10 by position lists is at the premium position of shortstop, and, as always, there are some good ones to talk about.
All that's left are the best outfield prospects in the game, coming Thursday, before we reveal our overall Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 27. We'll unveil the Top 100 on an MLB Network special (simulcast on MLB.com) at 8 p.m. ET.
:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::
Last year's shortstop list started the same way this one does, with the Yankees' Gleyber Torres atop it. The Braves' Dansby Swanson and Amed Rosario of the Mets graduated off, but Torres joins six other holdovers from 2017.
The Top 10
- Gleyber Torres, Yankees More »
- Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres More »
- Bo Bichette, Blue Jays More »
- Brendan Rodgers, Rockies More »
- Royce Lewis, Twins More »
- Willy Adames, Rays More »
- J.P. Crawford, Phillies More »
- Franklin Barreto, A's More »
- Jorge Mateo, A's More »
- Nick Gordon, Twins More »
Hit: 70 -- Torres, Bichette
There are some terrific pure hitters on this list, with all but one getting at least an above-average grade. Bichette is coming off leading the Minors in hitting with his .362 average. Torres might have some rust to shake off, but his advanced approach is just about ready for the Bronx.
Power: 60 -- Tatis Jr.
Tatis finished his first taste of full-season ball with 22 homers and 56 extra-base hits while handling a double-jump from the Midwest League to Double-A at age 18. His patience at the plate (77 walks) will allow him to tap into that plus raw power consistently.
Run: 80 -- Mateo
Mateo might be one of the fastest guys in the Minors, not just this list. He racked up 82 steals in 2015 and swiped 52 in 2017, giving him 234 steals in 452 games and six years as a pro.
Arm: 60 -- Rodgers, Torres, Tatis Jr., Adames, Crawford, Barreto, Mateo
All seven of these infielders have strong arms and there isn't much separating them. Rodgers gets a slight edge, with his plus arm the main reason why he has the chance to stay at shortstop.
Field: 60 -- Adames, Crawford
Those who think plus speed is needed to be an outstanding defender at shortstop need only to look at this pair. Both Adames and Crawford have average speed, but their actions, hands, footwork and instincts all give them the chance to be plus defenders at the premium position.
Highest ceiling: Tatis Jr.
The power-speed combination is hard to look past, and it was impressive to see how quickly Tatis adjusted to full-season ball in 2017. With loud tools and a father who played in the big leagues for 11 years, he has the chance to fulfill his enormous potential
Highest floor: Torres
The approach at the plate, combined with the bat speed and off-the-charts makeup all make Torres as sure a bet as there is to perform at the highest level. Yankees fans could find out just how sure in the very near future.
Rookie of the Year candidate: Crawford
It might be a toss-up between Crawford, Torres and maybe Adames, but the Phillies prospect has the most obvious opportunity. With the Phils sending Freddy Galvis to San Diego, it's clear Crawford will get every opportunity to be the Opening Day shortstop.
Highest riser: Tatis Jr.
Tatis wasn't even on the Top 100 at the start of the 2017 season, and certainly wasn't on the Top 10 shortstops list. Now he's all the way up at No. 2 on this positional list, with an argument to be made that he should top it.
Humblest beginnings: Mateo
Four on this list were first-round picks in the Draft, while Bichette got seven figures afer he was selected in the second round. Torres, Tatis Jr. and Barreto got substantial bonuses as international signees, but Mateo received just $225,000 to sign with the Yankees. His career has been a bit uneven,
Most to prove: Gordon
Gordon did play well in Double-A at age 21 and went to the Futures Game, but he slumped badly in the second half (.609 OPS) and struggled against lefies (.513 OPS). He'll need to show he can produce at the higher levels for an entire season while continuing to prove he can stick at shortstop.
Keep an eye on: Wander Javier, Twins
By the end of the year, it's possible that Javier will be getting more of the attention among Twins shortstops. Signed for $4 million in 2015, he had a strong United States debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2017 and could really break out with a move to the Midwest League this season.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.