by River Mitchell
MLB rankings can be one of the most controversial things around sports. Every ranking for every position is always going to be different, which is what makes these conversations so fun and entertaining. But today, I am going to give you my opinion on who I think are the top 10 shortstops in the MLB. So for this ranking I am going to go from 10-1, starting at 10 and working my way down to 1. Let’s get into it.
Also before getting into this, I am going to be using some more advanced statistics in this article to evaluate the rankings and the value of the players, so here are what those mean.
wRC+ → weighted Runs Created plus
DRS → Defensive Runs Saved
OPS → On base % + Slugging %
HM: Trevor Story
Story came up in 2016 just a year after the Rockies had traded franchise player Troy Tulowitzki. Considering that Tulowitzki was the face of the Rockies for so long and was their franchise player, Story filled the gap very well. Story has been one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball for the last several seasons, but last year was a down year for the Rockies slugger. He had a literal bang on average season, posting a 100 wRC+ in 2021. His defense also did decline a bit, but I don’t think that he is this kind of player. He had almost no protection in that lineup besides maybe CJ Cron, and the Rockies were not competitive at any point in the season. I do expect him to leave the Rockies, and that could potentially hurt his offensive numbers playing outside of Coors. That’s why I’m leaving out of the top 10, but I still think he is going to be a very solid player wherever he goes this offseason.
HM: Javier Baez
Javier Baez was one of the most beloved players on the Cubs when he was there, helping his team win a WS and being a very solid player for years to come. However, he has always had a massive flaw in his game which is his plate discipline. However, when he got traded to the Mets his plate discipline improved drastically in the 47 games with the club. He has always been a wizard with the glove and has a lot of power in that bat, so he does provide value. He recently just inked a massive deal with the Detroit Tigers, signing for 6 years, $140,000,000. If he can perform how he did on the Mets this past year for a full season, this could be the steal of the offseason.
- Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson has been in the league since 2016, but to start his career was not that good especially with the bat. But since 2019, Tim Anderson has been a really good player for the White Sox. He has had a wRC+ above 120 the last 3 seasons, with him posting a 141 wRC+ in the shortened 2020 season. He also is a guy that consistently has a batting average over .300, and even won the batting title in 2019. He even has improved his defense a little bit, with a 2 DRS in 2020 and a 3 DRS in 2021. Overall Tim Anderson is a very solid player with no really big holes in his game, which puts him at number 10.
- Bo Bichette
Bo Bichette got called up in 2019 later on in the year, to at the time a struggling Toronto Blue Jays squad. As soon as Bichette came up to the MLB level, he started absolutely raking at the plate. He has had very similar offensive numbers to Tim Anderson, posting no lower than a 120 wRC+ in any of his 3 seasons. I’d maybe just give a slight edge to him defensively, but both very close. I don’t think you’re necessarily wrong if you put Bichette over Anderson, but I think that Bichette has a higher ceiling than Andeson, so I’ll put him at 9.
- Wander Franco
Wander Franco might be one of the greatest prospects that the game has ever seen. Before this year, Wander Franco was ranked as the #1 overall prospect in 2021, and got called up only a few months after the season started. He started off pretty slow, but as the season went on he started to show everyone why he’s the best prospect in baseball. He posted a 127 wRC+, had a .810 OPS, and is very good defensively. He can’t go up any further for me because he’s only played 70 career games, but the sky’s the limit for this guy and will be a stud for a long time to come.
- Brandon Crawford
Brandon Crawford has been a stalwart at shortstop for the Giants, coming up with them in 2011. He has been there for 2 World Series, and has always been a really good defensive shortstop. Towards the front part of his career was very good offensively, but the past few years his offense has declined quite a bit. But last year he had a renaissance to his career, posting a .895 OPS and a 139 wRC+. He also had a 6 DRS in 2021, being one of the best shortstops in baseball this season. He is going to be 35 next season so I’m not too sure if he will put up the same numbers, but he definitely deserves to be in the top 10 here at #7.
- Francisco Lindor
Francisco Lindor has had a very interesting season. He started off the season not good, having an abysmal first 2 or so months. But since then, his offense has vastly improved, being a really good player for the Mets. The thing with Lindor is that he is nasty defensively and when he was with the Indians was arguably the best offensive shortstop as well. In 2020 in the shortened season he had a 104 wRC+ and in 2021 had a 103 wRC+. Mix that with the fact that he has a career 42 DRS, this makes him the 6th best shortstop in baseball.
- Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts got called up with the Red Sox in 2013, winning the World Series with the team and is currently the longest tenured member of the Red Sox. When he was first called up he struggled a little bit with the bat, but he really turned that around in 2016 and moved forward. Bogaerts might be one of the most well rounded hitters in all of baseball, as he has the unique ability to hit for power and contact at the same time. This is a guy that has 30 homerun power, can hit over .300, drive in 100 RBIs, and consistently hits for an wRC+ in the 130’s. His defense is far from perfect, as it is not very good. But when you hit like Bogaerts does, you are ok with the below average defense because his bat is just that good.
- Corey Seager
Corey Seager came up with the Dodgers in 2015, and immediately put the league on notice with a really good run in 27 games that season. Ever since then he has continued to put up really good offensive numbers year in and year out. His average career wRC+ is 132, which is very high. He is a left handed bat that has pop, can hit for a decent average, and has had a lot of postseason success in his career. He is also ok defensively, as he is not elite but won’t cost you really any runs either. He has all the talent in the world, which is why the Rangers gave him a 10 year, $325,000,000 contract.
- Trea Turner
Trea Turner might be the most underrated player in baseball. Since coming up with the Nationals he has been a really good hitter, minus his 1st season in 2015. Trea Turner is not only phenomenal defensively, but he might be one of the best offensive shortstops as well. In the shortened season in 2020, he had a 158 wRC+ and a .982 OPS and a 142 wRC+ with a .911 OPS in 2021 split between the Nationals and Dodgers. He has always been good offensively but it wasn’t until just recently that he really took his game to the next level. He can also fly around the bases with 203 career stolen bases. He deserves a lot more credit than he gets, and is the 3rd best shortstop in baseball.
- Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa was drafted with the 1st overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft, drafting him with the expectations of being a super star. Well looking back at it now we can certainly confirm that the Astros made a phenomenal pick. Correa has been one of the most polarizing and controversial players for several years now, with the news breaking in 2019 about the Astros cheating scandal, which helped them win the 2017 World Series. However, any controversy around Correa has not been with his play. Whether you like him or don’t like him, he is one of the most talented players in baseball currently. His elite hitting abilities with his really good defense makes him one of the most intimidating players in baseball to pitch to. He’s so incredibly good, but there is 1 player better than him.
- Fernando Tatis Jr
If you are a die hard baseball fan like myself, it should be extremely obvious why Fernando Tatis Jr is the best shortstop in baseball. Since he made his MLB debut in 2019, he has been one of the most electrifying and outstanding players in all of the MLB. Tatis is a guy that can hit 40 home runs a year, have an OPS over 1.000, and has had a above 150 wRC+ in all of the seasons he has played. Those numbers are absolutely phenomenal. The only thing to improve for Tatis is that he did make a lot of throwing errors last season, but he was dealing with a not so great shoulder for the entire season. He is without a doubt the best shortstop in baseball, and he is one of the bright young stars of the game. Not to mention his glove is also phenomenal as well.