Welcome to the Fantasy Roundtable, where the Rotoworld Baseball staff will have a free-flowing discussion about a topic de jour. The back-and-forth between the five of us occurred via email, but we’ve repurposed it in an article for your enjoyment. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it, anyway.
Ryan Boyer: The shortstop position is as deep as I think we've ever seen it, and a lot of the marquee guys are pretty young. Additionally, some of the top prospects in baseball play shortstop. That should make for plenty of varied opinions on who projects as the best fantasy shortstop in 2025. I think, anyway. Don't let me down, guys.
As for my pick for the top fantasy shortstop five years from now, I'm going to stick with the guy I have ranked at the top of my redraft rankings in 2020, Francisco Lindor. I guess the danger is that we don't know where he's going to be playing and, at 31, he also might not be running as much at that point. Still, it's difficult for me to envision him not maintaining his elite status at 31, and I believe he has fewer question marks and unknowns than others that I considered.
Anyone else on board with Lindor or are you going in another direction?
Drew Silva: I do share your concern that Lindor won't be running as much at age 31, and that's enough for me to knock him down a peg or two from the top spot. My pick would be Fernando Tatis Jr., who exploded onto the scene in 2019 and slashed .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs, 53 RBI, 16 stolen bases, and 61 runs scored over his first 84 major league games -- all at age 20. Extrapolated out to 162 games, that's 42 homers and 31 steals, to go along with 102 RBI and 118 runs scored. He did miss a ton of time as a rookie due to injuries, but they were freak things and I'm not worried yet about his durability becoming a long-term issue. He's got all the goods to be a five-category fantasy monster for many years to come. And there should be green pastures ahead for the Padres in general.
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Christopher Crawford: My pick is Tatis Jr. as well, for all the reasons that Drew extrapolated on. He has a chance to be a superstar; maybe the highest ceiling of any player currently in the majors not named Ronald Acuna.
That being said, there's another guy that could claim this spot in 2025 in my eyes: Wander Franco. Calling him the best prospect in the game is an understatement. On the 20-80 scouting scale, he has an 80-grade hit tool, 60-grade power and 60-grade speed. He's also a terrific defender at shortstop, so the only reason he wouldn't be playing there is if the Rays just see a more obvious path to playing time at second base or possibly third. I have to go with Tatis Jr. because we've seen him do it at the MLB level, but Franco has the potential to be even better. Yep. Crazy.
Matthew Pouliot: Tatis gets the edge from me, too, though I do worry about the durability. It’s almost enough to make me want to say Franco.
The other guy I’d put in the mix here is Adalberto Mondesi. I can see him still contending for the major league lead in steals at age 29 – he’s 89-for-106 through his first 943 major league plate appearances – and he’ll probably be a little more consistent offensively. I don’t think he’ll ever hit with the top shortstops, but 50 steals per year would mean that he doesn’t have to.
Silva: Speaking of durability issues, are we kind of overlooking Carlos Correa? He's somehow only 25 years old, which would make him 30 years old in 2025. If he can mostly manage to avoid the IL between now and then, he could jump back into the conversation as one of the top all-around shortstops in the sport.
Short: I'll give the nod to Tatis as well. He's just the right age with just the right skills to suggest that he'll still be an immense contributor across the board five years from now. Assuming his health cooperates, I fully expect him to be a first-round pick on the regular. I can't say that for Lindor, necessarily.
I'll admit, when I first started thinking about this position, I was tempted to put Wander Franco at the top as well. I think we're mainly looking for players who fall in a particular age range with a particular skillset who figure to find themselves near the top. It's tough to beat what Franco can potentially bring to the table. 22-year-old Bo Bichette is another who could qualify here. He popped 11 homers in just 46 games with the Jays last year and he has enough speed to suggest that more help is on the way in that area.
Pouliot: Most everyone is too low on Correa for 2020 – people don’t seem to realize just how good he was last year -- but it’s really difficult to be the No. 1 shortstop when you’re a zero in steals. I don’t imagine it will be any easier five years from now.
Gleyber Torres has the same issue there, but I’m still surprised no one has mentioned him yet.
Short: Good point about Gleyber. I guess the challenge there is that he's never going to be a standout on the speed front. So he's going to have to do so much in the other categories to stand out from the rest. I'm very confident in him being a top option for the next several years, though.
We briefly discussed Trea Turner at the end of our second base rankings, mentioning a possible move to second base in the future. That factor aside, how much value is tied up in his speed? How far does he fall if he is stealing, say, 20 bases in a season instead of 35-plus?
Boyer: I suspect Turner could still crack the top five at the position if he steals 20 bases. He'd probably need a power spike season in order to end up at No. 1, though.
Another guy we mentioned when discussing second base was Gavin Lux. The 22-year-old is a natural shortstop, of course, and that could very well be his long-term home. Lux posted a 1.028 OPS between Double- and Triple-A last season and hit 28 homers while stealing 12 bases between the majors and minors. He certainly has the capability of being the class of the position in five years.
Is Alex Bregman going to be shortstop-eligible in 2025? I think the answer is probably "no," but if he is then he'll surely be in the conversation to lead the position.
Short: Chris, let's say you are in a dynasty league right now. What sort of dice rolls are you taking with lower-level prospects who could turn out to be studs a few years from now?
Crawford: The first name that pops to mind is Bobby Witt, Jr., the second-overall pick in last year's draft who is a legitimate five-tool talent and could be a fantasy superstar someday. That draft also produced CJ Abrams; a shortstop with 80-grade speed who can make hard contact to all parts of the field and hit .393 in his first taste of professional baseball after being selected with the sixth pick. The Giants gave Marco Luciano $2.6 million to sign in 2018, and the 18-year-old shortstop has a chance to hit 30-plus homers with a relatively high average, as well. Ronny Mauricio is another name to keep an eye on as a switch-hitting shortstop who has plus raw power -- although it hasn't shown up in games just yet -- and doesn't appear to be changing positions anytime soon. The shortstop position is loaded at talent again at all levels.