MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2023 Top 100 Prospects list on Thursday, January 26 at 7 p.m. ET with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com. Leading up to the release of the Top 100, we’ll examine baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.
Every year, the shortstop position is arguably the most loaded of our top 10 positional lists. The 2023 edition is no different.
Slight spoiler: All 10 shortstops featured here will be among MLB Pipeline’s top 40 overall prospects. where exactly? Well, you’ll have to come back on Thursday to find out.
It is also a young and diverse group of shortstops. Only three of the 10 (Anthony Volpe, Eli de la Cruz, Ezequiel Tovar) are expected to make it to the majors this season, and the oldest (Brooks Lee) was just a first-round pick last year. Six are from the United States, while three are from the Dominican Republic and one comes from Venezuela. Five of those six Americans were drafted as high school players, partly explaining why the group is so small.
The Reds are the only organization with multiple Top 10 shortstops in De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte, and fellow Cincinnati infielder Edwin Arroyo didn’t miss much. Likewise, Top 100 veterans Colson Montgomery (White Sox), Royce Lewis (Twins) and Mysin Winn (Cardinals) aren’t far away and have only fallen victim to Top 10 depth.
Top 10 (ETA)
1. Anthony Volpe, Yankees (2023)
2. Marcelo Meyer, Red Sox (2024)
3. Eli De La Cruz, Reds (2023)
4. Jordan Lawler, D-Backs (2024)
5. Jackson Holiday, Orioles (2025)
6. Jackson Merrill, Padres (2024)
7. Marco Luciano, Giants (2024)
8. Ezequiel Tovar, Rockies (2023)
9. NoLV Mart, Reds (2024)
10. Brooks Lee, Twins (2024)
complete list “
Top 10 prospects by position:
RHP | LHP | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS
1/26: Top 100
Hit: Lee (65)
The switch-hitter produced a .351 average in 115 career games at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and struck out only 28 times in 286 plate appearances last spring. Lee’s bat-to-ball prowess led the Twins to pick eighth overall, and his new club could not challenge the bat quickly enough, sending him to Double-A Wichita for his first minor league season. Got time before it expires.
Strength: Luciano (65)
The Giants prospect has elite bat speed to generate plus-plus raw power, and he lifts the ball consistently enough (59 percent of his balls were off the ground in High-A in 2022) to make the most of it. to raise. He’s still only entering his age-21 season, right around the time the power can really pop when he enters the upper minors for the first time.
Run: De La Cruz (70)
Arguably the most electric player in the entire Minors, de la Cruz has established himself as an absolute burner in the field, and that may come as a shock to anyone who has previously seen his 6-foot-5 frame sees The Reds farmhand took advantage of those wheels last season with 47 steals in High-A and Double-A.
Branch: Mayer, De La Cruz, Merrill, Luciano, Tovar (60)
You won’t find many wet noodles in the sixes because of the difficulty of making throws from there, so it tracks that half of our top 10 hitters earned plus grades for their arms. Meyer, Merrill and Tovar are most likely to stay short, but Luciano and De La Cruz could put their guns to use from third or should the outfield need to be moved.
Field: Tovar (70)
The Dominican Republic native has been Major League-ready with the glove for a while now, thanks to his superb footwork, impressive instincts and ability to chase balls down both left and right. He was our shortstop pick on the 2023 All-Defense team.
Highest Terrace: De La Cruz
In 2022, the Cincinnati star is two home runs away from being the Miners’ first 30-40 player since George Springer in 2013, and he has strong tools to back up the numbers. He’s arguably the best power-speed prospect in the Minors, and the only thing giving us pause is his 30.8 percent K rate last year. If he brings it down a bit — or even manages to maintain hard enough contact to keep his batting average respectable — then he’s a potential superstar.
Highest Floor: Volpe
Early concerns about Volpe’s ability to hit upper-level pitching were eased when he flew to Double-A last June, and while there were some arm concerns, he was still a steady defensive hitter. There was presence. He’s not too far away from taking the middle-infield spot in the Bronx, and barring any significant changes to his profile, he seems a safe bet to hold that spot for years to come.
Rookie of the Year Candidate: Volpe
There are only three 2023 ETAs on this list in Volpe, De La Cruz and Tovar. Oswald Peraza – another stellar prospect who would make our top 100 overall list – could complicate matters for Volpe with the Yankees, but the latter still has a higher ceiling due to his superior skills with the bat. If he joins the Bombers by the end of May, Volpe should have a shot at Roy.
Highest Riser: Merrill
The Maryland native was considered a solid prospect when he went 27th overall in 2021 in San Diego. However, internal and external reports about him are now downright stellar, starting with praise for his hitting approach in all spheres. Wrist and hamstring injuries held the 19-year-old back from the full regular season, but he was still one of the hottest touted prospects in the Arizona Fall League after an offensive assignment in the desert. There’s a lot of helium attached to his spot at No.6.
Humble Beginnings: De La Cruz
Cincinnati was not expected to make a splash in the 2018–19 international market, given that it could not sign any player for more than $300,000 as part of a previous overage penalty. so much for that. The club brought in de la Cruz for $65,000, and to their credit, the switch-hitter developed into a potential franchise cornerstone.
Most to Prove: Mart
Marte is relatively new to the Reds’ system, having joined the Luis Castillo blockbuster last summer, and he comes in with pull-side power and more than a few questions. For starters, he might not be a shortstop for much longer, and the Reds had him exclusively at third base in the Arizona Fall League. Even though he looks to be shortstop this spring, he will compete with De La Cruz, Edwin Arroyo and Matt McLain on the depth chart for the position. It will be up to the 21-year-old to prove that he is more than just a potent corner infield type.
WATCH: Joey Ortiz, Orioles
As if the Orioles needed another promising young infielder. Ortiz, a fourth-round pick in 2019, is a slick-fielding shortstop with plenty of hands for the position. He faced questions with the bat entering last season, but made the jump to Triple-A quite well, with a .346/.400/.567 line and a 14.8 percent K rate in 26 games. His near-drafting could make it easier for Baltimore to put Gunnar Henderson at third base and give the O’s their long run on the left side of the infield.