The shortstop position is one of the most important spots on an MLB roster. In fact, if you’re one of the best shortstops in the game, you can quickly become a household name. You’re often involved in spectacular double plays, and if you can produce offensively, you will surely be recognized by fans throughout the league.
Players like Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., and Ozzie Smith are not only recognized as some of the best ever at their position, they are also widely known and beloved around the league for their dynamic defensive prowess, and the ability to collect clutch hits throughout their careers.
The talent at the shortstop position is arguably at an all-time high and with social media now available to practically anyone with a smart phone, these players are now widely recognized as the faces of their franchises. With that being said, we’re going to rank the top 5 shortstops in the game right now.
5) Xander Bogaerts
The Boston Red Sox have a stable of young and gifted athletes that are proving to be key components in their recent success. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi made play after play on both sides of the field during their World Series run.
Not only do the Red Sox have great outfield talent, their 26-year-old shortstop is proving to be one of the best in the league. Bogaerts finished his 2018 season with career highs in batting average, home runs, and RBI. He is also an incredibly gifted fielder showing flashes of Gold Glove talent, holding a .980 fielding percentage. If the Red Sox can keep this young talented core together, Boston will continue to hold championship parades.
4) Andrelton Simmons
Simmons is one of the best defensive shortstops we’ve seen in quite a while. Simmons has won four Gold Gloves, including the last two years. The Angels’ shortstop also posted a career high .290 batting average last season, including a career high in RBI and OBP.
While Simmons may never be a Silver Slugger winner, his defensive prowess is where he excels the most. In 2018, Simmons posted a .984 fielding percentage along with a 3.1 Defensive WAR. This means that Simmons’ glove provides over three wins above his replacement. That’s the best at his position throughout the league.
If Simmons can up his offensive production slightly, he will undoubtedly prove to be one of the best overall shortstops in the MLB.
3) Trevor Story
The 26-year-old Texas native posted multiple career highs offensively as well as being an All-Star for the first time in his young career. Story had an incredible and well-rounded season, hitting at a .291 average and mashing 37 home runs in 2018. He also drove in over 100 RBI on his way to his first Silver Slugger Award.
Story continues to have a meteoric rise. If he can continue to improve defensively—he finished 2018 with a .979 fielding percentage, he will finish with a storybook career.
2) Manny Machado
While he spent the first few years of his career at the hot corner, proving to be one of the most elite third basemen in the game, Machado has recently made the shift to shortstop. In fact, the 26-year-old Floridian spent most of 2018 at the shortstop position. Machado proved to be just as gifted at shortstop with highlight plays defensively, including during the postseason. Enough about Machado’s glove, let’s take a look at his offensive numbers.
It’s astonishing that Machado, along with Bryce Harper, have yet to be signed with pitchers and catchers already reporting for duty. He posted career highs in 2018 with a .297 batting average, 37 homers, and 107 RBI.
While Machado had a terrible World Series for the Dodgers, he was a key player in getting the Dodgers to that series. He will probably be signed in the coming days. Despite the hate Machado continues to receive from other fans, it will be exciting to see where he lands as there is no doubt he is one of the best talents in all of baseball.
1) Francisco Lindor
Despite suffering from a calf strain which will make him miss the first few weeks of the season, Lindor is arguably the best shortstop in all of baseball. The Indians shortstop continues to improve every season, posting 38 hom eruns and collecting 92 RBI last year, both career highs.
Lindor also managed to swipe 25 stolen bases, which continues to be a dying art in baseball. Not to mention his defensive abilities, which have proven to some of the best in the league. The All-Star finished with a .976 fielding percentage and even boasts a 2.5 Defensive WAR, one of the tops in baseball. There is no doubt that Lindor is the catalyst to Cleveland’s success and the Indians must do everything they can to hold on to baseball’s best shortstop.