Major League Baseball is having a revolution. A shortstop revolution.
I wish I was the first person to point it out, but MLB’s crop of young shortstops has simply been too bright, too loud, and just too damn good to go unnoticed – even in the short amount of time they’ve been active.
Three from the American League and three from the National League, these players have taken the position to an entirely new level – proving that “glove-first” shortstops are a thing of the past (and also the present, because they rock that half of the job too):
Shortstop is where it's at. pic.twitter.com/OgevnFI2qN
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 15, 2017
On the left side of the image, you’ll find the American League shortstops (starting from the top):
- Carlos Correa, Astros (22 years old)
- Francisco Lindor, Indians (23 years old)
- Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (24 years old)
That’s just a combined sixty-nine years old between them.
On the right side of the image, you’ll find their National League counterparts (again, starting from the top):
- Dansby Swanson, Braves (23 years old)
- Addison Russell, Cubs (23 years old)
- Corey Seager, Dodgers (22 years old)
This group is even younger, at just a combined sixty-eight years between them. Moreover, in their collective ten, full Major League seasons, that group has achieved … well, quite a bit:
- 1x Gold Glove (Lindor)
- 2x Rookie of the Year (Correa, Seager)
- 3x Silver Slugger (Bogaerts (x2), Seager)
- 4x All-Star (Lindor, Bogaerts, Russell, Seager)
Swanson hasn’t yet played in a full season, so his ability to contribute to the hardware closet is obviously limited. But still, as you can plainly see, rambunctious youths have taken the league by storm. And they are far from finished.
The six of them have nearly 200 home runs between them and represent not just some of the best hitters at their positions, but some of the best hitters in all of baseball (Corey Seager’s .372 wOBA was 22nd best in MLB last season).
But when you toss in their far superior defensive abilities at one of the most premium positions on the diamond, you get some of the single most valuable players in the entire game.
Corey Seager (7.5 WAR) and Francisco Lindor (6.3 WAR), for two examples, found themselves among the top ten in WAR last season throughout the league. They led players like Adrian Beltre, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, and Robinson Cano.
While Carlos Correa (4.9 WAR) and Xander Bogaerts (4.7 WAR) landed in the top 30 of MLB, leading players like Dexter Fowler, Jonathan Lucroy, David Ortiz, and Buster Posey.
Even Addison Russell (3.9 WAR) snuck into the top 50 players in baseball, ahead of guys like Bryce Harper, Ryan Braun, Kevin Pillar, and Matt Carpenter.
But what’s most important about any of these three players is their age and service time. No, not for team-control reasons, but because they’re about to get better.
I’m not sure a single one of these mostly first and second year players have come close to reaching their peaks yet. Hell, most guys their age are still in Double-A … if they’re “the good ones.”
Addison Russell, for example, has now played two seasons in MLB, but is only now (in his third ML season) starting the year out at the same age Kris Bryant did when he broke into the league back in 2015. There is so much room to grow.
I know you agree that all six players are fantastic, but which league would you take, head-to-head? American or National? The answer might not be as easy as you think, but you definitely can’t lose.