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House of Shlain: Next Wave

Nick Shlain

Nick analyzes prospects for RotoWire and focuses on the Midwest League during the season.

I noticed something important while doing the July update of the Top 200 prospects list this week. There are some really good shortstops on the way. I ranked 10 prospects who I think will stick at shortstop in the top 100 and five of them are in the top 20. Entering play on Thursday, there were five major league shortstops in all of baseball with a wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus) better than 101 (100 is league average). One of those five shortstops, the Tigers' Jhonny Peralta, has had the help of a .382 BABIP to get there. Unless you have Jean Segura, Everth Cabrera, Jed Lowrie, or Ian Desmond, your favorite team is probably bleeding at shortstop even more than your fantasy team is. My advice to keeper league owners is to do everything you can to hold on to these guys, especially the five I've highlighted here.

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox - Bogaerts has become the new Addison Russell in that I won't stop talking about him. He drilled his seventh home run for Triple-A on Thursday, giving him 13 for the season. Bogaerts has the power to hit 30 home runs in the future. Not only is Stephen Drew hurt, but he's a free agent at the end of the season. I bet we'll see Bogaerts at the major league level for a cup of coffee later this season, most likely in September.

Addison Russell, Athletics - As a 19-year-old in the California League, Russell's .265/.341/.481 line is very impressive. He can hit and hit for power. Russell has nine home runs with Stockton and also eight triples. He also has 12 stolen bases and he's been caught just three times, but Russell is a can't miss prospect based on his bat and likelihood of staying at shortstop.

Carlos Correa, Astros - After a slow April, few players in the minors have been as hot as Correa. He followed April with a .349/.423/.442 line in May and in his last 15 games he's hitting .404/.500/.577. He's not even 19 yet, the best is still obviously yet to come.

Javier Baez, Cubs - Baez swings hard and hits the ball far when he connects. In June he became just the second player in the 94-year history of the Florida State League to hit four home runs in one game. I think Correa will add power to his game down the line, but Baez has big power now with the potential for even more later. He was promoted to Double-A Tennessee, where he's 1-for-18 at the time of this writing. Baez needs to work on his approach, but he clearly has a ton of offensive potential.

Francisco Lindor, Indians - Lindor is the best defensive shortstop of the bunch and even though that doesn't really help you in fantasy it's still important because it's unlikely he'll ever have to move positions and lose fantasy eligibility at shortstop. There isn't much power here and that's what puts him behind the top four, but he's not getting the bat knocked out of his hands. Lindor is hitting .307 in 323 Carolina League at-bats this season. He also has a 35:39 BB:K showing he's taking his walks (.375 OBP) and making contact. Lindor also has 20 stolen bases, so he's far from a bad offensive player and he still has development left.