Top 10 Shortstop Prospects (Mid-Season 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The All-Star game is upon us…  It feels like the season just got underway, but we are already more than 50% through the 2018 season.  obviously a lot has changed from when we originally did our prospect rankings and now is the perfect time to update things.  Who is on the rise?  Who has fallen off?  Let’s take a look (the number in parenthesis is our preseason ranking):

 

1) Fernando Tatis Jr. – San Diego Padres (1)
Grade – A
ETA – 2019

While he has struggled a bit with strikeouts (107 K over 342 AB), he’s a 19-year old who has spent the entire season at Double-A so that has to be taken into account.  Of course he’s also hit 15 HR with 15 SB, while adding 22 doubles and 4 triples, and has proven capable of hitting the ball extremely hard (25.3% line drive rate).  He’s among the elite and will be a difference maker as soon as 2019.

 

2) Bo Bichette – Toronto Blue Jays (3)
Grade – A-
ETA – 2019

The “other” second generation star tearing it up at Double-A, Bichette has been nearly as impressive showing a willingness to consistently go the other way (43.7%) and steal a lot of bases (26-for 33).  When the power fully develops (23 doubles, 5 triples and 8 HR), he’ll be an impressive across the board contributor.

 

3) Royce Lewis – Minnesota Twins (5)
Grade – B+
ETA – 2020

He may fall just short of the top tier of shortstop prospects, but he’s not far off.  He was recently promoted from Single-A to High-A, after showing potential in his power (23 doubles and 9 HR) and speed (22-for-26 in SB) and an ability to make consistent contact (10.0% SwStr%).  Nick Gordon may be closer to the Majors, but Lewis is the shortstop of the future.

 

4) Carter Kieboom – Washington Nationals (NR)
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

After dominating at High-A (.298 with 11 HR, 46 RBI and 48 R over 285 PA), Kieboom has been finding his footing at Double-A.  While it’s too small of a sample size as of now, his 17.5% strikeout rate and 12.6% walk rate prior to the promotion are impressive and he’s going to continue to mature into his power (20 doubles and 13 HR overall on the season).

 

5) Brendan Rodgers – Colorado Rockies (4)
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

The questions facing Rodgers were his command of the strike zone and where he fits in the Rockies’ long-term plans.  The former has shown improvement (7.0% walk rate), but the latter remains a mystery as Trevor Story thrives in the Majors and Garrett Hampson appears to be the future at 2B.   Rodgers also needs to make more consistent contact (12.3% SwStr%), which drags down his ranking slightly, but there’s power and speed that can’t be ignored (17 HR/11 SB).

 

6) Wander Franco – Tampa Bay Rays (NR)
Grade – B+
ETA – 2021

It’s not often that a 17-year old finds his way this high onto the rankings, but Franco is an exception to any rule.  He has absolutely dominated Rookie Ball, including a 20-game hitting streak since July 15 (and hits in 23 of his 24 games played).  Included in that was hitting for the cycle on July 14, going 5-6 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R in the process.  The sky is the limit, but he is a long ways away.

 

7) Wily Adams – Tampa Bay Rays (9)
Grade – B
ETA – Already Arrived

 

8) Kevin Smith – Toronto Blue Jay (NR)
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

He’s been among the biggest prospect breakouts of the season, hitting .329 with 16 HR and 17 SB split between Single-A and High-A.  He recently turned 22-years old, so you can argue that he’s old for the level, and the strikeout rate has jumped since being promoted (27.4% strikeout rate, courtesy of a 15.7% SwStr%).  Those are red flags that need to temper our expectations, though 30 doubles and 5 triples are going to grab our attention.

 

9) Gavin Lux – Los Angeles Dodgers (NR)
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

The 2016 first round pick can stand to improve his efficiency on the base paths (8-for15 on SB attempts), but he’s showed approach (17.3% strikeouts and 10.8% walk rate) while piling up the extra base hits (19 doubles, 5 triples and 10 HR) at High-A.  He has the potential to really climb up the rankings by the end of the year.

 

10) Andres Gimenez – New York Mets (NR)
Grade – B-
ETA – 2020

He’s more speed than power, and therefore needs to improve upon his walk rate (6.5% at High-A) if he wants to really develop.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Midseason Rankings:

Catcher
First Baseman
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Base
Outfield
Pitcher

2 comments

  1. c says:

    Sickles just had Gimenez top-50 OVERALL. I’m not that bullish on the guy, as he does have more speed that power now. He reminds me a fair bit of A. Rosario (and he looks a bit meh to me).

    Overall, i really like this list. I have to ask if you see Bichette as a SS long-term. I’ve heard rumblings of him moving to 2B.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Yea, maybe Gimenez ultimately proves me wrong, but for now I don’t see it.

      As for Bichette, I’d say they will try to keep him as SS as long as possible. If they find he can’t handle it, then they’ll move him

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