Home > Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Prospects > The latest shortstop “renaissance” is just beginning

The latest shortstop “renaissance” is just beginning

640x450_jeter_si_p1kyp2kaLast night, ESPN Red Sox writer Scott Lauber posted a stellar article on shortstops Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa. It sort of reads like two short features in one as you get background about each player. But before that, Lauber points out how Bogaerts and Correa are part of a group including Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell and Trevor Story that hearkens back to a time when the likes of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada were all young and ruling during the late-90s and early 2000s.

Lauber does say that this current class of burgeoning shortstop stars is “absurdly deep.” However, it may be deeper than he and many casual baseball fans realize.

MLB.com and Baseball America each included 13 shortstops among their preseason top 50 prospects lists. Baseball Prospectus had 12. MLB.com placed 11 shortstops inside its top 30 alone. One of those players, Seager, the No. 1 player on all of those lists, is already a major force in the Dodgers’ lineup and showing why so many picked him to take home Rookie of the Year. I made that same call and still feel very comfortable about it, no matter how much Story doth protest early on.

However, for 2016 purposes and beyond, we’re waiting on Trea Turner, J.P. Crawford, Dansby Swanson, Orlando Arcia, Brendan Rodgers, Raul Mondesi, Franklin Barreto, Alex Bregman, Tim Anderson, Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo and Ozhaino Albies. And those are the most common names in only the top 50. That’s the tip of the iceberg of minor league talent. For instance, Story was nowhere to be found on either Baseball America’s or Baseball Prospectus’ preseason top 100. He was ranked 8th and 10th by each organization, respectively, just among Rockies prospects. And look what he’s done so far.

Obviously, not all of those players will pan out as expected. The picture at the top is a good example. In 1997, those five shirtless guys — from left: Alex Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Renteria, Rey Ordonez and Derek Jeter — were seen, according to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, as members of “The best crop of young shortstops to come along in 56 years.” They were “the most multi-talented group ever … redefining the position and putting a fresh face on the game.”

Two were clearly great. Renteria had an accomplished, long career. And the remaining 40 percent of that quintet played baseball too.

Secondly, not all of these current prospects will remain at shortstop if they reach the majors. Bregman is a shortstop on the Astros. I mean, he is for now. If he remains in Houston, he sure as hell won’t be remaining at short.

But while Bogaerts, Correa and others are on the scene and making their presence known at the 6, they are the first wave in a sense. The pipeline of difference-making shortstops didn’t empty with the promotions of Seager and Story. The pipeline appears to be absolutely stocked and this “renaissance,” as the editor of Lauber’s story put in the title, will probably last a long time.

  1. April 25, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Don’t forget Marcus Semien on the A’s, he’s going to be a good one.

    • April 25, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      No doubt. And there are others. It was not an oversight; I meant to mention only the same MLB shortstops that the writer mentioned in his article. Semien has definitely improved in the field this year.

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