Prime Shortstop Prospects 2023
MLB Pipeline will launch its 2023 Prime 100 Prospects checklist at 7 pm ET on Thursday, January 26, with a one-hour present on MLB Community and MLB.com. Main as much as the Prime 100 launch, we’ll look at baseball’s prime 10 prospects at every place.
Yearly, the shortstop place is closely loaded into our Prime 10 Positional Checklist. The 2023 version is not any completely different.
Slight spoiler: 10 shortstops featured right here will rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s prime 40 general prospects. The place precisely? Properly, you may have to come back again Thursday to seek out out.
It is also a younger and numerous group of shortstops. Solely three of the ten (Anthony Volpe, Eli De La Cruz, Ezequiel Tovar) are anticipated to make the majors this season, and the oldest (Brooks Lee) was a first-round decide final yr. Six hail from the US, whereas three from the Dominican Republic and one from Venezuela. Of these six Individuals, 5 have been drafted as highschool gamers, partly explaining why the crew is so younger.
The Reds are the one group with a number of prime 10 shortstops in De La Cruz and Noelvie Marte, and fellow Cincinnati infielder Edwin Arroyo hasn’t missed a lot. Likewise, prime 100 stalwarts Colson Montgomery (White Sox), Royce Lewis (Twins) and Macyn Wynn (Cardinals) aren’t far behind and solely undergo from prime 10 depth.
The Prime 10 (ETA)
1. Anthony Volpe, Yankees (2023)
2. Marcelo Mayer, Pink Sox (2024)
3. Eli De La Cruz, Reds (2023)
4. Jordan Lawler, D-Backs (2024)
5. Jackson Vacation, Orioles (2025)
6. Jackson Merrill, Padres (2024)
7. Marco Luciano, Giants (2024)
8. Ezequiel Tovar, Rockies (2023)
9. Noelvi Marte, Reds (2024)
10. Brooks Lee, Twins (2024)
Full List »
Hit: Lee (65)
The switch-hitter compiled a .351 common in 115 profession video games at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and struck out simply 28 instances in 286 plate appearances final spring. Lee’s bat-to-ball abilities prompted the Twins to take him eighth general, and his new membership could not problem the bat rapidly sufficient, giving him time in Double-A Wichita earlier than his first minor league season ended.
Power: Luciano (65)
The Giants prospect has elite bat pace to generate plus-plus uncooked energy, and he elevates the ball persistently sufficient (59 % of his balls in Excessive-A in 2022 have been off the bottom) to benefit from it. He is nonetheless coming into his age-21 season, which is when the facility can actually pop when he breaks into the excessive minors for the primary time.
Run: De La Cruz (70)
Arguably essentially the most electrical participant in the complete minors, De La Cruz has established himself as an absolute burner within the subject, and his 6-foot-5 body may be stunning to anybody who first sees it. The Reds farmhand took benefit of these wheels final season with 47 steals in Excessive-A and Double-A.
Arm: Mayer, De La Cruz, Merrill, Luciano, Tovar (60)
You will not discover many moist noodles at six due to the problem of constructing throws from there, so it tracks that half of our prime 10 earned plus grades for his or her weapons. Mayer, Merrill and Tovar appear more likely to stick at quick, however Luciano and De La Cruz ought to transfer their weapons to 3rd or outfield to make use of them.
Discipline: Tovar (70)
The Dominican Republic native has been main league prepared with the glove for a while, due to his nice footwork, spectacular instincts and skill to chase the ball to each left and proper. He was our shortstop decide on the 2023 All-Protection Staff.
Highest ceiling: De La Cruz
In 2022, the Cincinnati star is 2 homers away from changing into the primary 30-40 hitter within the minors since George Springer in 2013, and he has robust instruments to again up these numbers. He is arguably the very best power-speed prospect within the minors, and the one factor that offers us pause is his 30.8 % Okay fee from final yr. If he will get it down a contact — and even manages to make exhausting sufficient contact to maintain his batting common respectable — he is a possible celebrity.
Highest ground: Volpe
Preliminary issues about Volpe’s skill to hit upper-level pitching have been eased when he took off at Double-A final June, and though there are some arm issues, he is been a gentle defensive presence at quick. He is not removed from taking on a middle-infield spot within the Bronx, and barring any vital modifications to his profile, he seems to be like a secure wager to carry down that spot for years to come back.
Candidate of the 12 months: Volpe
There are solely three 2023 ETAs on this checklist in Volpe, De La Cruz and Tovar. Oswald Peraza — one other star prospect to land on our prime 100 general checklist — might complicate issues with the Yankees for Volpe, however the latter nonetheless has a excessive ceiling because of his superior talent with the bat. If he joins the Bombers in late Might, Volpe ought to have a ROY shot.
Highest Riser: Merrill
The Maryland native was thought of a stable prospect in 2021 when he went twenty seventh general to San Diego. Now inside and exterior experiences about him are completely incredible, beginning with reward for his all-round hitting type. Wrist and hamstring accidents sidelined the 19-year-old for the complete common season, however he was nonetheless one of the vital talked-about prospects within the Arizona Fall League after an offensive project within the desert. It has a variety of helium connected to its sixth place.
Humble Beginnings: De La Cruz
Cincinnati wasn’t anticipated to make a splash within the 2018-19 worldwide market as a result of it could not signal any gamers for greater than $300,000 as a part of a earlier overage penalty. A lot for that. The membership introduced in De La Cruz for $65,000, and to his credit score, the switch-hitter has grow to be a possible franchise cornerstone.
To show essentially the most: Marte
Marte is comparatively new to the Reds system, Luis Castillo joined Blockbuster final summer time and he brings promising pool-side power and quite a lot of questions. For starters, he won’t be a shortstop for much longer, and the Reds had him solely at third base within the Arizona Fall League. Even when he sees shortstop this spring, he’ll compete with De La Cruz, Edwin Arroyo and Matt McLane on the depth chart for the place. It is as much as the 21-year-old to show he is greater than only a robust nook infield sort.
Watch: Joey Ortiz, Orioles
As if the Orioles wanted one other promising younger infielder. Ortiz, a fourth-round decide in 2019, is a slick fielding shortstop with loads of arm for the place. He confronted questions coming into the bat final season however made the bounce to Triple-A properly with a .346/.400/.567 line and a serviceable 14.8 % Okay fee in 26 video games. His nearer preparation might make it simpler for Baltimore to maintain Gunnar Henderson at third base and provides the O’s a long-term left facet of the infield.
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