2024 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty Baseball

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2024 TOP 50 SHORTSTOPS: #1-#10

Man I love rankings. And so do you. I can tell.

Here are our 2024 top 10 shortstops!!

#1-#10

RankPlayerAvg. Rank
1Bobby Witt Jr.1
2Corey Seager2.5
3Trea Turner3.6
4Gunnar Henderson4.5
5Elly De La Cruz4.9
6Francisco Lindor6.5
7Jackson Holliday7.7
8Bo Bichette7.8
9Oneil Cruz9
10Matt McLain11.9

The top bracket of shortstops represents some of the best talent in the game.  It contains veterans putting up some incredible numbers, prospects looking to make their MLB debut, and young players looking to cement their status as one of the premier bats in the game.  Half of these players hit 20 or more home runs in 2023; the MLB players in this tier stole 179 bases.  That’s more stolen bases than 29 teams stole in the entire season.  There is talent coming out of these players’ eyes.

Bobby Witt Jr. is the current king of the shortstop position, which could be his for some time.  At only 23 years old, he leveled up in every way possible.  Witt put up a line of .276/.319/.495 with a .813 OPS, combined with 30 home runs, 49 stolen bases, over 90 runs, and RBI.  That’s an elite fantasy season, and the numbers under the hood confirm it.  His .369 xwOBA was in the top 10% of the league, and his other expected tats were in the same tier.  Witt also increased his max exit velocity to 113.8 mph and average exit velocity to 90.7.  The cherry on top, the 30.5 ft/second sprint speed, was the best in baseball.  With these skills and growth, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was even better in 2024.

Corey Seager was on another level last season. After a down 2022, Seager was expected to bounce back, especially with the new rules limiting the shift.  He jumped back, raising his batting average from .245 to .327, hitting 33 home runs, and finished the year with a 169 wRC+.  He was better than almost 70% of the league. This was all after missing a month due to injury.  All his batted ball data was in the 90th percentile so he could push for 40 home runs with an entire season.

I was born in Philadelphia and still live close to it.  My whole life, I’ve been told that Philadelphia is the worst fan in sports.  I don’t buy it – this city loves its teams and loves their players with an unrivaled passion. The next time someone tells you how terrible Phily is, I want you to tell them the story of Trea Turner’s 2023 season.  

On year 1 of a ten-year, $311 million contract, expectations were high, and by early August, Turner was struggling with a 76 wRC+.  His strikeout rate wasn’t terrible at 24%, but it was the highest since his rookie year, and his Whiff was also the worst of his career.  Instead of booing him, the Phillies fans began giving him a standing ovation every time Turner came to the plate, starting in August.  That was all he needed, as he put up a 180 wRC+ for the rest of the season, hitting over .300 with 16 home runs.  It’s easy to forget these players are humans, and sometimes, the pressure of these big contracts can pressure them to perform.  Whatever the issue was, I see no reason to treat him differently than we were last off-season – a game-changing, talented hitter.

Gunnar Henderson was a favorite to win the ROTY award in 2023 and didn’t disappoint.  He hit .255/.325/.489 with 28 home runs and ten stolen bases, suitable for a 123 wRC+.  There’s a lot to like in his profile.  His 92 mph exit velocity is in the top 9% of the league, and he raised his launch angle to a much more fantasy-friendly 11 degrees.  As good as he was, I can’t help but think there’s another level.  Henderson is only 22 years old, and it’s not unreasonable to believe that he can continue to add power.  I also can envision the steals increasing; his 28.8 ft/second sprint seed is in the 80th percentile, and he’s always been a successful stealer.  He could become an elite fantasy bat if he starts to run more.

For the first month of Elly De La Cruz’s MLB career, he showed us how elite he can be.  In 95 PAs, he hit three home runs, stole nine bases, and put up a 131 wRC+.  The risk was evident as this came with a 30% strikeout rate and BABIP over .400.  From July until the end of the season, Elly hit ten more home runs and stole 26 bases.  But this came with an ugly 34% strikeout rate and a 71 wRC+.  Elly has routinely posted strikeout rates between 24% and 30% in the minor leagues, but always with enormous power and speed numbers.  Cruz’s 119 mph max exit velocity was in the top 1% of the league, and the only player with a faster sprint speed is Bobby Witt Jr. While there is some real risk here, Elly is only 22 years old, and he was flashing a better approach last year at Triple-A before the call up (27% K% & 14% BB%).  All he has to do is get the hit tool to average and let his power do the rest.

Lindor quietly had a 30/30 season in his age 29 season, and the most surprising thing to me is that it took him that long to hit that milestone.  Nothing about his batted ball profile stands out; all his exit velocity numbers are in the 70th percentile.  He hit the ball in the air more in 2023, a career-high of 45%.  There may be some minor regression in the power department, but Lindor has been a solid contributor his whole career, which is why he’s so valuable despite approaching his “old man” age of 30.  Steamer is projecting him for 27 home runs and 20 stolen bases, with 170 R+RBI, and it’s almost a guarantee he at least meets those numbers.

Jackson Holliday can rake.  Over four minor league levels in 2023, he hit .323/.442/.499 with a 20.3% K% & 17.4% BB%. That approach would be elite for anyone, but that goes double for a 19-year-old in the upper minors.  There seems to be some expectation that Holliday has a chance to break camp with the MLB, but he’s not a finished product.  He has good power, evidenced by the 90 mph average exit velocity in Triple-A, but he averaged a groundball rate of around 50% last season.  That launch angle has to come up to turn his raw power into game power.  But with Baltimore’s success developing players and Holliday’s pure talent, I have no doubt we’ll see him at Camden Yards soon.

It’s hard to determine who Bo Bichette is as we approach the 2024 season.  Since 2021, you could say he was an all-category contributor, but not so much.  The steals are down, and the home run totals have also declined.  And it’s not just a case of bad luck; both Bichette’s sprint speed and launch angle have declined.  Maybe the knee injuries could be the culprit for his lackluster 2023.  Or it could just be another example of growth isn’t linear.  The silver lining here is that BIchette still hits for a high average (career .299 hitter) and hits the ball hard (90.2 mph exit velocity). We may see Bichette return to his 2024 numbers, but it’s hard to bet on right now.

Oneil Cruz is the player to watch this year.  His debut in 2022 was loud – 17 home runs and ten stolen bases in 89 games.  He was also breaking Statcast that year; his 122 mph max exit velocity was in the top 1% of the league, and his average exit velocity and sprint speed were in the 90th percentile.  But it came with an ugly .233 average and a 35% strikeout rate.  Cruz started 2023 very well, as his plate approach seemed to improve (20% K% & 18% BB%), but his season ended early with a broken ankle.  Cruz is 6’7, so he’s always going to have a higher strikeout rate, but if the adjustment he showed in his small sample size last year is real, he’s in store for a massive 2024.

Matt McLain has the makings of a solid, everyday player.  He doesn’t have the raw power that others in this tier have, but he makes a lot of good contact, has great speed (90th percentile spring speed), and is a great defender, so that he will play.  His 28% strikeout rate last year seems a mirage; his chase rate is above average, so that should come down in 2024.  His 89 mph average exit velocity is good, but playing in Great American Ballpark should boost his power.  Players you can plug into your lineup and not worry about are huge, especially in deeper leagues.

(Colin Coulahan)

The Author

Colin Coulahan

Colin Coulahan

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