MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2023 Top 100 Prospects record at 7 pm ET on Thursday, Jan. 26, with a one-hour present on MLB Network and MLB.com. Leading as much as the discharge of the Top 100, we’ll look at baseball’s high 10 prospects at every place.
Every 12 months, the shortstop place is arguably essentially the most loaded amongst our Top 10 positional lists. The 2023 version isn’t any completely different.
Slight spoiler: All 10 of the featured shortstops right here will place amongst MLB Pipeline’s Top 40 total prospects. Where precisely? Well, you will want to return again Thursday to search out out.
It’s a younger and numerous group of shortstops too. Only three of the ten (Anthony Volpe, Elly De La Cruz, Ezequiel Tovar) are anticipated to reach within the Majors this season, and the oldest (Brooks Lee) was a first-round choose simply final 12 months. Six hail from the United States, whereas three are from the Dominican Republic and one comes from Venezuela. Of these six Americans, 5 have been drafted as highschool gamers, partly explaining why the group is so younger.
The Reds are the one group with a number of Top 10 shortstops in De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte, and fellow Cincinnati infielder Edwin Arroyo did not miss by a lot. Similarly, Top 100 stalwarts Colson Montgomery (White Sox), Royce Lewis (Twins) and Masyn Winn (Cardinals) aren’t far off and solely fell sufferer to the depth of the Top 10.
The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Anthony Volpe, Yankees (2023)
2. Marcelo Mayer, Red Sox (2024)
3. Elly De La Cruz, Reds (2023)
4. Jordan Lawlar, D-backs (2024)
5. Jackson Holliday, 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)
Complete record »
Top 10 prospects by place:
RHP | LHP | C| 1B | 2B | 3B | SS
1/26: Top 100
Hit: Lee (65)
The switch-hitter produced a .351 common over 115 profession video games at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and struck out solely 28 occasions in 286 plate appearances final spring. Lee’s bat-to-ball expertise prompted the Twins to take him eighth total, and his new membership could not problem the bat quick sufficient, giving him time at Double-A Wichita earlier than his first Minor League season was up.
Power: Luciano (65)
The Giants prospect has the elite bat pace to generate near plus-plus uncooked energy, and he elevates the ball constantly sufficient (59 % of his balls have been off the bottom at High-A in 2022) to take advantage of it. He’s nonetheless solely coming into his age-21 season, proper across the time the ability might actually pop as he enters the higher 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 discipline, and that may come as a shock to anybody who first sees his 6-foot-5 body. The Reds farmhand took benefit of these wheels with 47 steals at High-A and Double-A final season.
Arm: Mayer, De La Cruz, Merrill, Luciano, Tovar (60)
You will not discover many moist noodles on the six due to the issue of creating throws from there, so it tracks that half of our Top 10 earned plus grades for his or her arms. Mayer, Merrill and Tovar appear most probably to stay at brief, however Luciano and De La Cruz might put their cannons to make use of from third or the outfield ought to they should transfer.
Field: Tovar (70)
The Dominican Republic native has been Major League-ready with the glove for a while, because of his nice footwork, spectacular instincts and skill to chase down balls to each the left and proper. He was our shortstop choose on the 2023 All-Defense Team.
Highest ceiling: De La Cruz
In 2022, the Cincinnati star was two homers away from being the Minors’ first 30-40 participant since George Springer in 2013, and he has the loud instruments to again up the numbers. He’s arguably the most effective power-speed prospect within the Minors, and the one factor that provides us pause is his 30.8 % Okay charge from final 12 months. If he brings that down a contact — and even manages to maintain making sufficient exhausting contact to maintain his batting common respectable — he is a possible famous person.
Highest flooring: Volpe
Early issues about Volpe’s potential to hit upper-level pitching have been eased when he took off in June at Double-A final 12 months, and whereas there are some arm issues, he is a gentle defensive presence at brief too. He is not removed from taking a middle-infield spot within the Bronx, and barring any important adjustments to his profile, he appears a protected guess to carry down that place for years to return.
Rookie of the Year candidate: Volpe
There are solely three 2023 ETAs on this record in Volpe, De La Cruz and Tovar. Oswald Peraza — one other stellar prospect who will function in our Top 100 total record — might complicate issues with the Yankees for Volpe, however the latter nonetheless has a better ceiling due to his superior expertise with the bat. If he joins the Bombers by the top of May, Volpe ought to have a ROY shot.
Highest riser: Merrill
The Maryland native was thought-about a stable prospect when he went twenty seventh total to San Diego in 2021. The inner and exterior studies on him now, nevertheless, are downright stellar, beginning with the reward for his all-fields hitting method. Wrist and hamstring accidents held the 19-year-old again from a full common season, however he was nonetheless some of the talked-about prospects within the Arizona Fall League after an aggressive project within the desert. There’s a number of helium hooked up to his spot at No. 6.
Humblest starting: De La Cruz
Cincinnati wasn’t anticipated to make a splash within the 2018-19 worldwide market contemplating it could not signal any gamers for greater than $300,000 as a part of earlier overage penalties. So a lot for that. The membership introduced in De La Cruz for $65,000, and to his credit score, the switch-hitter has developed into a possible franchise cornerstone.
Most to show: Mars
Marte is comparatively new to the Reds’ system, having joined final summer time within the Luis Castillo blockbuster, and he got here with promising pull-side energy and quite a lot of questions. For starters, he will not be a shortstop for much longer, and the Reds had him at third base solely within the Arizona Fall League. Even if he will get shortstop appears this spring, he’ll be competing with De La Cruz, Edwin Arroyo and Matt McLain on the depth chart for the place. It’ll be on the 21-year-old to show he is greater than only a highly effective nook infield kind.
Keep a watch on: Joey Ortiz, Orioles
As if the Orioles wanted one other promising younger infielder. Ortiz, a fourth-round choose in 2019, is a slick-fielding shortstop with loads of arm for the place. He confronted questions with the bat coming into final season however dealt with a leap to Triple-A fairly effectively with a .346/.400/.567 line and a serviceable 14.8 % Okay charge in 26 video games. His near-readiness might make it simpler for Baltimore to maintain Gunnar Henderson at third base and provides the O’s their long-term left aspect of the infield.