We continued our prospect rankings last week with a look at the third base position, and we finish up the infield looking at shortstops today. If you hadn’t noticed, we’ve changed things up this year by giving you more of the players that matter (30 shortstops, outfielders, and starting pitchers) and less of those that don’t (20 catchers).
Joining me again for this year’s rankings is our very own Andy Germani. Our rankings will be consolidated to give you our final site rankings, but you can see where Andy and I ranked them in the table as well.
These are fantasy rankings, and I remind you that Andy and I are not scouts, just simply heavy followers of baseball prospects. We hope you enjoy the rankings!
|13||Bo Bichette||Blue Jays||18||2021||15||13|
|22||Richard Urena||Blue Jays||20||2018||26||18|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2017?
Andy: I like Andres Gimenez to make a big leap in 2017. In 2016 he was a 17-year-old that hit .350 with a 2.1 BB/K ratio. The fact that he is so far away is going to have a lot of people who don’t closely follow the J2 signings missing a season like that. Those numbers from any player at any level would be interesting. The hope for this year is that he can turn that average and approach into double-digit homers and 20 plus steals.
Paul: It feels like we’ve been waiting years for the breakout to come, but I suspect Nick Gordon takes a nice step forward in 2017. There is no power to his game, but he makes very good contact to go along with plus speed. His defense should give him a long rope as he continues to hone his offensive game. I’d like to see him improve his walk rate, because if he can profile as a lead-off hitter instead of a 8th or 9th batter, there will be fantasy value here.
What prospect could make a surprising contribution
to fantasy teams in 2017?
Andy: I will say the word surprising always seems to stump me a bit here. Swanson and Crawford would be far from a surprise to provide value, but very little else is all that interesting from a 2017 perspective. To go with a surprise, I think if everything works out that Richard Urena could help out those in deep or AL-only leagues. He will most likely start the year in AA, but if he builds on his impressive 2016 and something happens to Tulowitzki he might be their in-house option. Why I say deep or AL-only? Mainly because I don’t think he is a special offensive player that will do much other than be a solid shortstop. That doesn’t do much in 12-15 team leagues, but in an Al-only it is very valuable. If he finds his way to 200 at bats I think he could end up with a nice slash line with maybe five homers and steals.
Paul: I think there’s a fair bit of prospect fatigue when it comes to Franklin Barreto of the Athletics. I’m not sure he plays shortstop, but he can definitely impact your fantasy races if he gets significant time this year. Barreto has an excellent hit tool, plus speed, and some pop as well. Last year he hit 10 home runs while stealing 30 bases in AA and could bring those kinds of numbers to the show. The Plouffe and Rosales signings make me less optimistic Barreto will see significant time this year, especially if Jed Lowrie can stay healthy. Oh, who am I kidding? Lowrie won’t stay healthy.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners
put on their radars now?
Andy: Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm is one of the many teenage prospects to appear on this list. One thing that is really nice about Chisholm is that the Diamondbacks had enough confidence in the 18-year-old J2 signing from 2015 that they bypassed the DSL. He managed a .281/.333/.446 slash with nine homers and 13 steals in just 270 PAs. He is small at just 5’11” 165, but at 18 there is always the opportunity to add weight as he climbs the ladder. Just like it feels like with every prospect, his glaring hole is his strikeout rate. He struck out 73 times in just the 270 Pas with just 19 walks. I hope that he can figure out the strikeouts because I see a possible 15 homer 20-25 steal big league future.
Paul: I ranked Luis Garcia of the Nationals 24th overall here, but in past years I am not sure he would have sniffed the top 30. This is a depleted list after so many graduations in 2016. The bottom half is almost exclusively 2016 draftees, be it amateur or international. Garcia is one of my favorites, though, and not just because his father played for the Detroit Tigers. Heck, I don’t even remember his 9 at bats over 8 games. Just 16 years old, the younger Garcia is a long way from the show, but with plus tools across the board, you may need to monitor soon in larger leagues.
What prospect would it not surprise you
if he fell significantly in the next year?
Andy: I have him a lot higher so it is a risky investment, but it would be Gilbert Lara. There are some serious questions about his strikeouts after last season, but the counting stats upside is so tantalizing. It would be hard for me to completely ignore Lara next season regardless of what he does this year, but if he does repeat 2016 he will drop 10 or more spots on this list.
Paul: It’s hard for me to think negatively about any of these young athletic shortstops. It’s also hard for me to name any other than the top-tier, that I’m positive will take a step forward in 2017. Most are projection types as this list has the most dramatic changeover of any position from 2016. It’s very likely most will fail, or at least fail to meet our expectations in 2017. I wouldn’t get too attached to any of the bottom 20+ here, but I’d want to pounce on them ahead of your league mates too. Am I fence-sitting? Maybe, but Andy stole my choice so this is all I’ve got.
Come back next Friday when we will publish our Top 30 outfielders Prospects.