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Ranking the Top 10 Shortstops Before the 2024 MLB Season

MLB Shortstops, Trea Turner
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This represents the continuation of a series ranking the Top 10 players at each position for the 2024 season. Next up, we take a look at MLB shortstops.

Given that this is a forward-thinking projection, please remember: if a younger player is on the rise, I will project them to be better. If an older player is on the decline, I will project them to be worse. If a player had a freak awful 2023 season after being on the rise, I will project them to be better as long as there are no off-the-field issues.

Let’s dive in and explore Chris’ top 10 shortstops for the 2024 MLB season. Click here for an archive of other positions.

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Honorable Mentions

10. Ha-Seong Kim

The former second Baseman comes in at No. 10. The Padres decided to swap Kim and Xander Bogaerts’ positions this offseason. Bogaerts has never been the strongest fielding shortstop, so it will be interesting to see how much of an upgrade Kim represents. Last year, through 153 innings played at shortstop, he had 3 DRS and 0 OAA. After having a full offseason and Spring Training at the position, all eyes will be on his ability to adjust and settle in come Opening Day.

9. Carlos Correa

Correa is easily one of the hardest players to rank. On one hand, when at his best, he is debatably a top-three shortstop in the league. In 2022, he had a 140 wRC+. In 2021, he had 20 DRS and 11 OAA. After accepting two massive deals with the Giants and the Mets before the 2023 season, he re-signed with the Twins and was a massive disappointment. He hit 18 home runs, slashed .230/.312/.399, and contributed a 96 wRC+. In addition, he had -2 DRS and -1 OAA. Correa will likely settle in better this year and play more like himself rather than trying to live up to his contract. It will be interesting to see what adjustments he makes.

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8. Bo Bichette

Bichette is one of the best-hitting shortstops in the league. Last year, he slugged 20 home runs, slashed .306/.339/.475, and had a 125 wRC+. What holds him back is his fielding; he had -2 OAA in 2023. Keep in mind that OAA is more important for shortstops than DRS. Bichette has been very consistent for a few years now, so I’d be shocked if we saw anything different this year.

7. J.P. Crawford

Crawford was a good but not great player for the first six years of his career before exploding in 2023. Last year, he hit 19 home runs, slashed .266/.380/.438, and had a 134 wRC+. Just like Bichette, his fielding holds him back as he had -6 OAA in 2023. Crawford just turned 29, so he remains in the middle of his prime. Let’s see if he changes his approach while playing on the field.

6. Bobby Witt Jr.

Witt is one of the most underrated players in the league. Last year, in just his second MLB season, he hit 30 home runs, slashed .276/.319/.495, and had a 115 wRC+. His results varied in the field where he amassed -6 DRS and 14 OAA. Witt is only 23 years old, so between his talent and age, the sky is the limit.

5. Trea Turner

Trea was a relatively difficult player to rank. In 2022, he hit 21 home runs, slashed .298/.343/.466, and had a 128 wRC+. Meanwhile, in 2023, he hit 26 home runs, slashed .266/.320/.459, and had a 108 wRC+. He was also a massive liability in the field with -12 DRS and -4 OAA in 2023, both frustrating marks. However, last year was his first in Philadelphia. It is not uncommon for players to struggle in a new environment before bouncing back the next year. I think that will happen to Turner.

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4. Dansby Swanson

Though Swanson took a small step back from 2022, he was still very solid in 2023. He hit 22 home runs, slashed .244/.328/.416, and had a 104 wRC+. Though these numbers aren’t extraordinary, what puts him in the top five is his glove. Swanson is arguably the best defensive shortstop in the league. Last year, he had 18 DRS and 20 OAA. I think he will improve his hitting this year, and there’s no indication that he will take a step back defensively.

3. Gunnar Henderson

The AL Rookie of the Year comes in at No. 3. Henderson certainly deserved his Rookie of the Year honors after contributing 28 home runs, a .255/.325/.489 slash line, and 123 wRC+. He split his time at shortstop and third base last year, but at the former, he had 10 DRS. He will turn 23 in June. As was the case with Witt, the sky’s the limit for Henderson.

2. Corey Seager

The two-time World Series MVP comes in at No. 2. He was undoubtedly the best shortstop in the league last year, hitting 33 home runs, slashing .327/.390/.623, and tallying 169 wRC+. He was even better in the postseason with a 201 WRC+ but merely average in the field (5 DRS and -2 OAA). Seager flashed stardom, but the player at No. 1 is more well-rounded and has the potential to pop at the plate this year.

1. Francisco Lindor

When people think of a “five-tool player,” they do not often think about Lindor, but they really should. Last year, he hit 31 home runs, slashed .254/.336/.470, and had a 121 wRC+. In the field, he had 7 DRS and 6 OAA. Lindor also was second amongst shortstops in Baserunning Runs Above Average. (Seager was among the worst qualified shortstops in this metric.) Finally, Lindor played 161 games in 2022 and 160 in 2023. He has superb hitting, elite defense, and impressive baserunning skills, and he also plays every day while remaining a true leader. That is how you define the best shortstop in the league.


Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images

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