In the mid-1990s, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Alex Rodriguez were three superstar shortstops who took the league by storm. They were young, tall, talented competitors who were constantly outperforming each other. They won Gold Gloves, MVPs, batting titles, and were often battling each other for all-star game starts.
When looking at the prospect watch on MLB.com, it is easy to see that shortstops are about to take over the game again. Jean Segura had an outstanding first full season in Milwaukee and even made the all-star team. Already Xander Bogaerts has made his debut with Boston. The team showed faith in him by trading rookie shortstop, Jose Iglesias who had a stellar season of his own. Bogaerts was not intimidated by the bright lights of Boston, hitting a respectable .250 in just 18 games and playing even better in the post season.
The 2011 and 2012 draft class produced five other shortstops who should be ready to join Bogaerts and Segura very soon. In 2011, the Indians selected Francisco Lindor with the seventh pick. The Cubs followed by plucking Javier Baez with the next selection. Both players have dominated in the minor leagues. While playing in two levels last year, Baez batted .282 and crushed 37 homeruns. He also led all of minor league baseball with 111 RBIs. Putting up offensive numbers like this at the shortstop position make Baez an elite talent. Lindor not only has a strong switch hitting bat, but has fantastic range and according to MILB.com his arm separates him from other shortstops in the game.
The 2012 draft appeared to be even stronger. Carlos Correa, Addison Russell, and Corey Seager were all drafted in the first 18 picks.
Carlos Correa was taken first in the draft. Last season, he dominated the Midwest League at just 18 years old by finishing in the top-ten in batting average, doubles, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging percentage. As he matures, his numbers will skyrocket as well as his power. Currently, he is rated as the number one prospect in the Astros’ system and MLB.com ranks Correa as the eighth best prospect in the game.
According to MLB.com, Addison Russell was the youngest player playing on opening day in the California League at the age of 19. Russell’s first full-season showed that he has all of the tools to be every bit as good as former A’s shortstop, Miguel Tejada. Former scout Bernie Pleskoff, raves about his “raw power bat that can reach the seats and his excellent defensive reflexes.”
And then there is Corey Seager. At just 19 years old Seager hit .309 with 12 homeruns in the Midwest League. He was even promoted late in the season to the High A California League. Pleskoff says that Seager has, “excellent pitch selection and is able to consistently drive the ball up the middle of the field.” If his progress continues it won’t be long until he joins his brother Kyle, in the big leagues.
Jeter, Garciaparra, and Rodriguez have changed the face of the shortstop position. With this exciting new crop of shortstops getting close to a call up, the MLB appears to have another wave of superstars on the way.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference
Sources: MLB 2014 Prospect Watch MILB.com and Baseball Reference Draft Results