Top 5 Fantasy Baseball Prospects: SS (2021)
This position is loaded. From top to bottom, it – along with outfield – is the most loaded position for fantasy baseball as far as prospects go.
The top five belong in all top 25 overall prospects, while the five honorable mentions are all in the top 75 overall prospects in baseball.
Remember back to the days when shortstop was a premium position in real life and fantasy? Those days are gone, as it’s loaded at the big-league level, and now the next crop of talent is on its way up to add to it.
We’ll take a look at the top five shortstop prospects for fantasy purposes, what they bring to the table, and when they will arrive.
A quick note first before we dive in, though. As always, with dynasty leagues, it’s hard to have a one-size-fits-all approach, as league setups are different, as are teams as far as contention windows. The approach taken with these pieces is to highlight the top prospects overall at the position for fantasy, with a nod to those who are closer to contributing at the big-league level. It won’t, though, elevate someone like Royce Lewis above Marco Luciano due to proximity.
Let’s get to it.
The Player: The fourth player ever to top Baseball America’s prospect list in back-to-back seasons is nearly the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball again across the board. He has an 80-hit tool with plus power and plus speed. You’re looking at .310 with 30 homers and 25 steals. That’s trying to reign expectations in.
Note: Made the taxi squad last year. He would have debuted if not for the pandemic.
The Player: Luciano will be the No. 1 prospect in baseball heading into 2022, with only Julio Rodríguez challenging him for the crown. He has the more pure power of any infielder, and his approach at the plate is better than one would expect. At his ceiling, you’re looking at .298 with 40 homers. Realistically, we are looking at .288 with 35 homers with 10 steals.
MLB Comp: Alfonso Soriano
Note: The plan is for Luciano to stick at short, which would give the Giants a seamless transition after Brandon Crawford leaves after 2021.
The Player: Let’s add some speed to the list, shall we? That’s where Abrams excels with his 80-grade wheels, but he’s not a speed only guy at all. He has a 60-grade hit tool and 50-grade power, so he’ll contribute across the board for you in fantasy. You’re looking at .290 with 12 homers and 40 steals.
MLB Comp: Trea Turner
Note: Abrams has the range to stick at shortstop, but there’s some guy named Fernando Tatís, Jr. there now. Abrams could move to second base (unlikely with Ha-seong Kim in tow) or centerfield (likely).
The Player: Every year, a player shoots up the prospect rankings with a ton of helium around him. This past year, it was Marte, and everyone knew it was coming. 2021 will be big for him after a lost 2020, but he could be a top 10 prospect heading into 2022 with across-the-board potential with his 50-overall profile.
MLB Comp: Hanley Ramírez
Note: The Mariners system is so loaded that Marte is ranked No. 7 per MLB Pipeline. Manager Scott Servais told the media recently about Marte: “To see his development and how he’s progressed is very encouraging.”
The Player: If it wasn’t for Adley Rutschman, Witt would have been the top pick in the draft two years ago. Witt’s improved his strikeout rate, which should allow him to maximize his full potential at the plate. He has a 55-hit with 60-power and 60-speed. The hope is that he can hit above .285 with 25/25 potential.
Note: Witt recently had a bat speed of 141 during training, which is just insane. Of course, it’s not against live pitching, but it’s still pretty damn impressive. The Royals were aggressive with their pitching prospects in 2020, so the hope is they take the same approach with Witt for a 2022 debut.
Whether you’re new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy – like How to Make Custom Fantasy Baseball Rankings with Microsoft Excel – to learn more.