Top 10 Shortstops for the 2022 season


By Cooper Woodward, Reporter

The Shortstop position has to be one of the most attention-attracted positions in baseball, given that the shortstop has to have the strongest arm in the infield. There have been plenty of superstars who have played the position well, including Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, and so many others. Let’s rank the 10 best shortstops for the next 2022 season.

10. Brandon Crawford, SFG (24 HRS, .298 BA, .373 OBP, .522 SLG)

Crawford has been in the League for what seems like forever and was with the Giants for almost all of his career. Despite underperforming the last few seasons, Crawford stepped it up in 2021, being a huge contributor to the Giants’ miracle season, in which they won 100+ games for the second time in the 21st century. The biggest jump he made in his last few seasons was his power/max exit velocity and his plate discipline. From 2015 to 2020, his lowest K% was 25. In 2021, he lowered it to 19%. His isolated power improved as well. The hardest hit ball hit by Crawford reached 112 MPH. Crawford is in his age 35 season as a shortstop, so age now becomes a factor when talking about his skill and performance, but I do firmly believe that Crawford will match, if not surpass, his 2021 performance.

9. Tim Anderson, CWS (17 HRs, .309 BA, .338 OBP, .469 SLG) 

Anderson by no means is a slugger but is a great overall shortstop. He hits a lot of ground balls (around 54% of his ABs result in ground balls), which in turn (with where he is in the batting order) results in more runs off ground outs and base hits. He’s also a good defender, sporting three outs above average, placing him in the 89th percentile of OAA for all shortstops. He also ranks highly in sprint speed, ranking with an HP-1st time of 4.2 seconds. Anderson is a solid shortstop overall doing what most shortstops can’t — have a good arm on the field and perform well defensively.

8. Wander Franco, TBR (7 HRs, .288 BA, .347 OBP, .463 SLG) 

Franco showed signs of being a top-five shortstop in following seasons, but he is ranked this low because of his sample size. Being called up in only late June, he played only 70 games as a Ray in 2021. According to Baseball Reference (a stat/projection website), he is projected to hit for contact instead of power, as they have him hitting for almost 100 hits and driving in almost 50 runs. Along with his hitting ability, he has 4/5 of the five tools that make him a top 10 shortstop currently in baseball. He can hit, run, field, and make throws that are incredibly hard look incredibly easy. Franco just signed a contract extension worth 182 million over the course of 11 years — one of the most expensive contracts for someone who played less than 100 games,

7. Francisco Lindor, NYM (20 HRs, .230 BA, .322 OBP, .412 SLG) 

2021 was a down year by his own standards but still had an incredibly good year. When your down years are some of the numbers he put up last season in his first as a Met, I think you’re well within the range of a top 10 shortstop in baseball. Despite subpar offense from Lindor last season, he continued to perform defensively at a high level, reaching the 100th percentile in OAA (outs above average). 2021 was a weird year for Lindor, going into a new team, a new city, and a whole different atmosphere from Cleveland to New York.

6. Bo Bichette, TOR (29 HRs, .298 BA, .343 OBP, .484 SLG)

Bichette made his debut in 2019 as a part of the trio of him, Vladimir Gurerro Jr, and Cavan Biggio (all three of whom were ranked in the top 30 prospects in 2019). He dominated in all levels of the minors, earning himself a July 2019 callup and making his debut against the Royals on July 29th. Since his debut, he has been one of the premier players in baseball, absolutely mashing baseballs (126 wRC+ in his career), and has been one of the slickest defenders in baseball too, sporting a .959 fielding percentage. It will be amazing to watch how Bichette improves from his first full season (and a breakout one at that).

5. Xander Bogaerts, BOS (23 HRs, .295 BA, .370 OBP, .493 SLG)

Bogaerts had a solid year by his standards. One thing became abundantly clear last season, and that was his range was declining, as he was missing his mark on a lot of throws, causing either the first baseman to stretch out for a pick, an error, or infield hits. Despite his defensive struggles last year, his offense thrived, as he sported a 130 wRC+ in 144 games played, which is fourth among all shortstops. As Bogaerts continues to age and potentially part ways with the Red Sox, his range is expected to be a huge issue and, if not fixed, it will severely damage his value. Having said this, even if Bogaerts improves on his defense, I don’t see a reality where he is in the top three on this list a year from now.

4. Corey Seager, TEX (14 HRs, .306 BA, .394 OBP, .521 SLG) 

Despite only playing 95 out of a full 162 season, Seager continued to perform as well as he has in his previous six seasons as a Dodger. In 2021, he sported 141 wRC+ in a Dodger lineup that was absolutely loaded, which ranked 3rd on his own team behind Mookie Betts and Trea Turner. His wRC+ ranking was 3rd among all shortstops, and he’s moving to a hitter-friendly ballpark in Globe Life Field in Texas. Despite the struggles with his glove, I don’t see a reality where Seager doesn’t perform as a Ranger in 2022, despite the scenery change and the new set of pitchers he will be facing.

3. Trea Turner, LAD (28 HRs, .328 BA, .375 OBP, .536 SLG)

Turner is one of the first true five-tool players we’ve seen in a while. He hits (.328 BA), he hits for power (.536 SLG), he can run (100th Percentile in sprint speed), he can field (5 OAA at SS and 2B), and he has a strong arm. He puts that to good use, hitting for two career cycles (one on his birthday) and extending most potential singles into doubles (34) and doubles into triples (3). Turner is entering a contract year, meaning he will be a free agent at the end of this season. With his five-tool ability and the contracts given out this offseason, I don’t see a world where Turner is lower than #5 on this list next year.

2. Carlos Correa, MIN (26 HRs, .279 BA, .336 OBP, .485 SLG)

Correa just signed one of the weirdest deals in MLB history, signing a three-year, $105 million deal with opt-outs after years one and two, making him the second-highest player in AAV behind Mike Trout. Weirdly enough, this allows Correa to have essentially three contract years in a row to try and get his bigger, long-term contract. Correa, however, is by all means deserving of this contract. He is an above-average hitter with a 134 wRC+ (4th among all shortstops last season) in addition to the stats mentioned above, but his defense is ridiculously good. He won a Gold Glove and a Platinum Glove (best defender in position and league) and had 28 outs above average. 28! That was the most in MLB by a longshot. Correa now has the chance to go get his big-money contract and find a long-term home, and all he has to do is be good in one of the next three seasons.

1. Fernando Tatis Jr, SDP (42 HRs, .282 BA, .364 OBP, .611 SLG)

If it weren’t for Trea Turner, Tatis would be the second-best five-tool player of 2021. Despite that, his hitting and defense are miles above Turner and by all means everyone on this list. We know how good his offense is (fourth overall in wRC+ with 156, led the NL in homeruns), but his defense is the aspect of the game that truly goes underrated. In three seasons, he has a career seven outs above average and is just one of the slickest defenders in baseball, making flashy play after flashy play at arguably the hardest position to play, along with having an absolute cannon of an arm. Tatis is in arb 1, meaning he won’t get the majority of his 25 million dollar AAV salary until 2027, leaving the pressure of five years for Tatis to perform, but if 2021 was a preview of what’s to come then a very small amount of people should be worried about him and his future.