Here are the Top 10 shortstop prospects for 2022

March 16th, 2022

MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2022 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, with a one-hour show on MLB Network and on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET. Leading up to the release of the Top 100, we'll examine baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Shortstop is the glamour prospect position of the moment. Our new Top 100 will feature 24 different shortstops, including six of our 14 highest-rated prospects.

The cream of the current crop comes primarily from three sources. The three best shortstops -- Bobby Witt Jr. (Royals), Anthony Volpe (Yankees), CJ Abrams (Padres) -- all were high schoolers selected in the first round of the 2019 Draft. Three more prep shortstops were first-rounders last July: Marcelo Mayer (Red Sox), Jordan Lawlar (D-backs) and Kahlil Watson (Marlins). Noelvi Marte (Mariners), Marco Luciano (Giants) and Orelvis Martinez (Blue Jays) all were high-profile signings from the 2018 international class.

Interestingly, none of our top 10 shortstop prospects is a college product. Bryson Stott, a 2019 first-rounder from Nevada-Las Vegas who's now a leading Rookie of the Year candidate, just missed the list.

The Top 10 (ETA)

1. Bobby Witt Jr., Royals (2022)
2. Anthony Volpe, Yankees (2023)
3. CJ Abrams, Padres (2023)
4. Noelvi Marte, Mariners (2023)
5. Marco Luciano, Giants (2023)
6. Marcelo Mayer, Red Sox (2024)
7. Jordan Lawlar, D-backs (2024)
8. Kahlil Watson, Marlins (2024)
9. Oneil Cruz, Pirates (2022)
10. Orelvis Martinez, Blue Jays (2024)
Complete list »

Top tools

Best Hitter: Witt, Volpe, Abrams, Mayer (60)
The shortstop list is packed with talented hitters. Volpe (.294/.423/.604, 27 homers, 33 steals in Low-A and High-A at age 20) and Witt (.290/.361/.576, 33 homers, 29 steals in Double-A and Triple-A at 21) were the most impressive statistical performers in the Minors in 2021, their first full pro seasons. Abrams owns a career .343 average in pro ball, though the pandemic and injuries have limited him to 76 games. Scouts rated Mayer as the best pure hitter in the 2021 Draft.

Best Power: Witt (70)
Witt is a legitimate five-tool prospect but his power potential is what stands out most at his position. He won the High School Home Run Derby at the 2018 All-Star Game and consistently went deep against top amateur competition, and his pop has played as expected in pro ball. He has exceptional bat speed, packs plenty of strength in his 6-foot-1 frame and launches balls to all fields.

Fastest Runner: Abrams (80)
Abrams can get from the left side of the plate to first base in less than four seconds and knows how to use his speed. His quickness helps him get on base, where he has racked up 28 steals in 76 pro games, and helps him cover ground at shortstop. It also will come in handy if the presence of Fernando Tatis Jr. in San Diego means Abrams winds up moving to center field.

Best Arm: Cruz (70)
Cruz became the tallest (6-foot-7) player ever to start a big league game at shortstop last October, and his arm is one of the reasons he has lasted at the position longer than expected. He's capable of throwing out runners from areas of the diamond that many shortstops can't, though he can get overly aggressive trying to make plays he shouldn't.

Best Defensive Player: Witt, Mayer (60)
Witt not only has plus speed and arm strength but he also has outstanding instincts at shortstop. Considered the best defensive player in last year's Draft class, Mayer compensates for fringy speed with a quick first step, has a strong arm and anticipates plays well.


Highest Ceiling: Witt
Witt could be a 30-30 player who wins Gold Gloves at shortstop. The only players ever to accomplish that double are Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez (not in the same season) and Jimmy Rollins.

Highest Floor: Witt
Witt and Mayer are the safest bets to hit while providing quality defense. Witt has proven a lot more to this point than Mayer, whose pro career consists of 26 games in Rookie ball.

Rookie of the Year Candidate: Witt
Though Nicky Lopez had a breakout 2021 season, the Royals will find room for Witt in their lineup. He has nothing left to prove in the Minors and should become the face of their franchise very quickly.

Highest Riser: Volpe
After mononucleosis slowed him during his 2019 pro debut, Volpe lost the entire 2020 Minor League season to the pandemic and entered last year without much hype. He added strength and reworked his swing during the layoff, then exploded to become MLB Pipeline's Hitting Prospect of the Year and lead the Minors in runs (113) while ranking second in OPS (1.027) and third in extra-base hits (68).

Humblest Beginning: Cruz
Cruz was the only top 10 shortstop not to receive a seven-figure bonus when he turned pro -- though he just missed by receiving $950,000 from the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. He wasn't considered a premium prospect by many clubs and few thought he'd stay at shortstop because he was already 6-foot-4 and still growing when he signed. Los Angeles has proven correct on both counts but won't benefit because it traded him for Tony Watson in 2017.

Most To Prove: Abrams
There hasn't been anything wrong with Abrams' on-field performance but we need to see more of it. He played just 42 games in Double-A last year after breaking his left tibia and spraining his left knee in a June collision, then a left shoulder injury in instructional league prevented him from making up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League.

Keep An Eye On: Oswald Peraza, Yankees
Though he gets overshadowed by Volpe in the Yankees system, Peraza has played two levels higher and features superior speed, arm strength and defensive prowess. He's also more than capable at the plate, hitting .297/.356/.477 with 18 homers and a system-best 38 steals in 115 games while reaching Triple-A last year at age 21.