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Prospect Positional: SS

by Matthew Foreman
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

This week’s Prospect Positional will cover shortstops, a position that has had one high profile promotion, injuries to two top prospects and one more potential promotion.  Additionally, I have selected the top three shortstop prospects from the 2014 draft to discuss.

 

Note: All statistics are current through Sunday, August 10.

 

Updated top-12

 

Updated June 24 Pre-Season Name MLB Team MiLB Team
1 1 2 Francisco Lindor Indians Columbus (AAA)
2 2 3 Carlos Correa Astros Lancaster (High-A)
3 3 4 Addison Russell Cubs Tennessee (AA)
4 7 12 J.P. Crawford Phillies Clearwater (High-A)
5 4 5 Raul Mondesi Royals Wilmington (High-A)
6 6 7 Corey Seager Dodgers Chattanooga (AA)
7 9 9 Amed Rosario Mets Brooklyn (Short Season-A)
8 12 N/R Franklin Barreto Blue Jays Vancouver (Short Season-A)
9 8 N/R Trevor Story Rockies Modesto (High-A)
10 N/R N/R Tim Anderson White Sox Winston-Salem (High-A)
11 Bubble N/R Dawel Lugo Blue Jays Lansing (Low-A)
12 11 N/R Deven Marrero Red Sox Pawtucket (AAA)

 

Superb performance

 

Updated June 24 Pre-Season Name MLB Team MiLB Team
2 2 3 Carlos Correa Astros Lancaster (High-A)
3 3 4 Addison Russell Cubs Tennessee (AA)
6 6 7 Corey Seager Dodgers Chattanooga (AA)
8 12 N/R Franklin Barreto Blue Jays Vancouver (Short Season-A)

 

Carlos Correa was hitting .325/.416/.510 as a 19-year old in High-A when he broke his ankle, which will cause him to miss the rest of the season.  Correa has a legitimate claim that he may be the top shortstop prospect in baseball, but he still has to make his first appearance in the high minor leagues before he will be able to take the top spot.

 

Addison Russell has done well since coming over to the Cubs, hitting .308/.357/.556 with five doubles and eight home runs through 31 games.  Javier Baez’s shift to second base and statements from the Cubs front office strongly indicate that Russell is the Cubs shortstop of the future.  Look for Russell to make his Wrigley Field debut in mid-2015, especially if the Cubs trade Starlin Castro in the off-season.

 

Corey Seager hit .352/.411/.633 with 34 doubles, two triples, and 18 home runs in 80 games with High-A Rancho Cucamonga before being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga.  He has continued to hit in the Southern League, putting up a .343/.345/.543 line with seven doubles, two triples and one home run over his first 18 games.  Doubts linger as to whether Seager will remain at shortstop long term, or if he will need to be shifted to third base. He has the potential to hit .280 with 20 home runs at his peak in the majors.  He should make his major league debut by the end of 2015.

 

Despite being the same age as someone who would have just graduated high school, Franklin Barreto has excelled in the short season-A Northwest League, putting up a .319/.395/.888 line with 16 doubles, four triples and four home runs over 53 games.  He’s a very raw defender (21 errors in 50 games at shortstop), and may profile best as a speedy center fielder.  Barreto has the potential to hit .280 with 10 home runs and 20-25 stolen bases while being an elite defensive center fielder, though the Blue Jays will keep him at shortstop as long as it is reasonably practicable.

 

Holding serve

 

Updated June 24 Pre-Season Name MLB Team MiLB Team
1 1 2 Francisco Lindor Indians Columbus (AAA)
4 7 12 J.P. Crawford Phillies Clearwater (High-A)
7 9 9 Amed Rosario Mets Brooklyn (Short Season-A)
9 8 N/R Trevor Story Rockies Modesto (High-A)
10 N/R N/R Tim Anderson White Sox Winston-Salem (High-A)
11 Bubble N/R Dawel Lugo Blue Jays Lansing (Low-A)
12 11 N/R Deven Marrero Red Sox Pawtucket (AAA)

 

Francisco Lindor was hitting .278/.352/.389 with Double-A Akron when he was promoted to Triple-A Columbus, leading to rumors that he was going to replace Asdrubal Cabrera.  When Cabrera was traded to the Nationals, the rumors hit a fever pitch.  However, the Indians have been using Jose Ramirez as their shortstop, and appear willing to do so long term, despite his poor offensive showing so far.  Lindor has not been hitting particularly well in Triple-A, putting up a .208/.256/.312 line over his first 18 games.  It is easy to forget that Lindor is only 20 years old, as his defensive abilities have propelled him up the Indians organizational ladder.  He has the tools to hit .300 with 30-plus stolen bases and 5-10 home runs, while bringing a gold glove-caliber defensive profile.

 

After hitting .295/.398/.405 over 60 games with Low-A Lakewood, J.P. Crawford was promoted to High-A Clearwater where he has played well, putting up a .274/.348/.400 line despite being the youngest hitter in the league.  His performance has opened some eyes, as his hitting has improved his prospect stock.  Prior to the season, Crawford was firmly behind many more seasoned (though not necessarily older) shortstops, such as Raul Mondesi and Jose Rondon, but he has passed them as he has shown that he will likely stick at shortstop and could provide solid offensive value to boot.  He projects as a .280 hitter with 10-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases.

 

Amed Rosario struggled during his week with Low-A Savannah before making a pre-scheduled roster move to short season-A Brooklyn, where he has hit a solid .288/.330/.380 over 53 games despite being the age of many recent high school graduates in a league where the average age is 21.  He is a great athlete, and could develop into a solid defensive shortstop that hits .300, though he is unlikely to develop much power.

 

Trevor Story missed roughly one month due to a hand injury, but returned to hit .400/.600/.900 over seven games with High-A Modesto before being promoted to Double-A Tulsa, where he has struggled, hitting just .207/.327/.378 with six doubles, one triple and five home runs over 37 games.  Questions remain as to whether Story will remain at shortstop, but he could have value as a solid in-house backup for whenever Troy Tulowitzki goes on his seemingly annual three week stint on the disabled list.

 

Tim Anderson was hitting .297/.323/.472 when he went on the disabled list with a broken wrist on July 1, and has missed the past six weeks while healing.  He projects as a solid defensive shortstop that has the potential to hit .290 with 5-10 home runs and 20-plus doubles.  Anderson’s most notable talent is his speed, and he has the raw talent to steal 30-plus bases..

 

After hitting .298/.324/.423 in July Dawel Lugo has cooled off in August, hitting just .135/.132/.135 through the first nine games of the month.  The 19-year old is hitting a respectable .271/.294/.341     for the season, and has the talent to hit .300 with 20-plus home runs.  However, his raw power has yet to come through and the Blue Jays are hoping they start to see it either this year or next year in High-A Dunedin.

 

Deven Marrero was hitting .291/.371/.433 through 68 games with Double-A Portland when he was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.  He has struggled in the International League, hitting .261/.299/.361 through 32 games.  He has been particularly cold in August, going 6-for-31 with one walk, though he does have three doubles and a home run.  Marrero will likely be a better real-life shortstop than fantasy baseball shortstop, as he projects as a .270 hitter with a handful of home runs who plays gold glove-caliber defense.  His current line with Pawtucket is a realistic line for him.

 

Struggling

 

Updated June 24 Pre-Season Name MLB Team MiLB Team
5 4 5 Raul Mondesi Royals Wilmington (High-A)

 

Raul Mondesi’s OPS by month paints a picture of how his season has gone.  After an 812 OPS in April, his OPS have been 439 in May, 444 in June, 607 in July and 804 so far in August.  His high OPS in August has been due to a power outburst, as he is hitting .212/.229/.576 with one double, one triple and three home runs through eight games.  He also has seven strikeouts in August, and has 95 in 389 plate appearances for the season (24.4 percent), an increase from his strikeout rate in 2013, which was 22.0 percent.  His walk rate has decreased (from 6.3 percent to 4.9 percent).  Mondesi is incredibly young for his level, as he did not turn 19 until late July and the average age of a hitter in the Carolina League is nearly 23.  While his offensive potential is not elite, he projects as a .280 hitter with 30-plus stolen bases who plays great defense, which makes him a very good player in baseball.

 

New Draftees (listed alphabetically)

 

Updated Name MLB Team MiLB Team
Draftees Jacob Gatewood Brewers AZL (Rookie)
Draftees Nick Gordon Twins Elizabethton (Rookie)
Draftees Trea Turner Padres Fort Wayne (Low-A)

 

For anyone at Citi Field for the 2013 Home Run Derby, Jacob Gatewood may be a familiar name.  The 6’5” 180-pound California-native hit a home run into the third deck in left field, a feat unattainable for most major leaguers, let alone 17-year high school juniors.  He is unlikely to hit for high average and may need to move to third base, but he has the athleticism to play shortstop and his bat should play at any position.  He has struggled out of the gate in the rookie-level Arizona League, and will likely go through the Brewers system at a one level per year pace.

 

Nick Gordon is the son of former major league pitcher Tom and brother of second baseman Dee, and has the potential to be the best player in his family.  He has the defensive potential to be an above-average defensive shortstop with a near-elite arm.  He also has the potential to hit .290 with 15 home runs, which would make him a top five shortstop.  Gordon has started his professional career with aplomb, hitting .298/.341/.385 over his first 40 games with rookie-level Elizabethton.

 

Trea Turner is best known for his blazing speed, as he may have been the fastest player in the 2014 draft.  He uses that speed to have above-average range for a shortstop, though is arm is merely adequate for the position.  He is likely to stay at shortstop long term, and could hit .280 with 30-plus stolen bases, though he is unlikely to hit more than 5-10 home runs on an annual basis.  He is destroying professional pitching so far, hitting .338/.417/.478 over 49 games with short season-A Eugene and Low-A Fort Wayne.

Matthew Foreman
Matthew Foreman is a baseball prospect writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.