THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2024 TOP 55 DYNASTY LEAGUE SHORTSTOP PROSPECTS #1-#19
The prospect mavens have been working hard over the past few months here at the TDG offices to bring you some of the best consensus at least in our opinion rankings of the top and not-so-top prospects in the game that will hopefully give you a leg up on your competition that just looks at the MLB.com rankings (with all due respect of course.) If you`ve been with us for a while you will generally see the same rollout as past years, one week will focus on outfielders, next on shortstops, so and so forth.
This year however we decided to break down our rankings into tiers and provide commentary for each tier as a whole with multiple Guru`s chiming in where they see fit. This will provide more than just a single voice to the readers while letting the authors offer their opinions on players they deem worthy enough to write about. Hopefully, it will be a fun, informative read and you will come away with an idea of how a certain player is looked at by the industry.
As always, our rankings are geared towards a 15-team OBP roto league with a three to five-year view on our team.
This week we`ll be looking at the shortstop position.
There’s no debate here, Jackson Holliday is the #1 shortstop prospect, and it’s easy to see why. We had some discussion about if Lawlar should be included with Holliday, or if Jackson deserved to be in a tier by himself. Ultimately, we felt that Lawlar was just as worthy as Holliday and consider yourself lucky if you have either of them (Ryan).
These two players deserve to be in the top tier all by themselves. I think the balloon holding up Holliday’s prospect status has become so large that I might steer toward Lawlar for the safety he brings. Holliday has the power and speed, but it’s developing and in 2023 it didn’t show up at any of his minor league stops like I would have wanted it to. To compound those fears, he only had four stolen bases after June. Those two things have me gravitating toward the value of Lawlar in this tier. He is more developed and ready, someone you can already see the consistency of his tools on display and the skills you are getting with him (Brian Labude).
This is the top tier for a reason. Both Holliday and Lawlar should make an impact in the majors very shortly. If I am counting on one to have a significant impact in the fantasy world at the earliest, it is probably Lawler. He should rack up counting stats quickly once he is playing every day in the big leagues (Daniel Labude).
Jett Williams was also another hotly contested ranking and ultimately we landed on placing him at the seventh spot. We don`t discriminate against #short_kings here at TDG and felt that we couldn`t penalize him because of his height. Williams gets the most out of his frame and shows an advanced eye at the plate only chasing 16% of the time. He had a brief showing at Double-A to end the season last year and it didn`t go that well. But we`ll give a 19-year-old a pass with his first taste of Double-A. Jett should spend the majority of the year at the level, and if he shows he can handle the high fastball he could be on the fast track to New York. Be aware though that Williams’ ultimate position is most likely second base as his arm is not sufficient at short (Ryan).
This tier holds a lot of shortstops that could be up in the majors at some point this season. Merrill, Amador, Shaw, Montgomery, Williams, Winn, and Martinez all fall under that umbrella. Amador is my pick out of that group to reach his potential. In my opinion, the hit tool, combined with the power and speed combo is what separates him from the others in this tier. There was a lot of debate around Martinez within our rankings room, but I think we can all agree he has the most power potential among shortstop prospects. His contact skills are still lacking and need refinement as seen by his .226 batting average at Double-A. If he can come out hot to start the year, he might force some of the dissenting voices to overtake the naysayers (Brian Labude).
Is anyone ready for some hot takes? This tier is chalk full of some good prospects, but the standout in my opinion has to be Orelvis Martinez. He comes in as my #3 shortstop prospect. This past season, he finally figured out pitch selection and a plan at the plate, along with his two-strike approach and swing. It took him until around May 10th to get things going. From May 10th to the end of his season, he hit .276/.374/.545 with a .919 OPS and a wRC+ of 135. The power was still there, but it came with significant improvements in his strikeout and walk rates. He hit 24 home runs over the 103-game stretch with 25 doubles. This came while walking 13.2% of the time and only striking out at a 23.2% rate. All of this as a 21-year-old at Double-A and Triple-A. I’m all in on Martinez and if you can get him in this value range it is a BUY BUY BUY for me (Daniel Labude).
If you are looking for some potential buy-low candidates, then look no further. Marcelo Mayer and Cole Young are your uncut gems here. Both had good-looking opening salvos to their 2023 seasons, but after promotions their play tailed off. Mayer hit an icy cold .189 at Double-A, while Young saw his home run rate cut nearly in half and his stolen bases almost dried up entirely as he moved from Low-A to High-A. If someone has begun to sour on either of these two, it’s time for the sharks to start swarming (Brian Labude).
This tier is sitting on potential with lots of similar prospects in this range. Luisangel Acuna and Brooks Lee are closer to making their debuts compared to some of the others in this tier. Their production comes in different ways though, with Acuna producing a lot of stolen bases and smaller home run totals. Conversely, Lee provides a more robust power production with only a few steals (Daniel Labude).
Roderick Arias is my name to watch out of this tier. His ferocious swing was impactful in ‘23, despite limited in-game action due to a broken finger. 27 games in Complex ball resulted in 6 homers and 17 stolen bases, alongside a .267/.423/.505 line. The biggest concern going forward is the need for him to get game experience and help with his hit tool development. Fingers (see what I did there!?) crossed for a healthy season because the kid is a baseball beast when he’s 100% (Chris Knock).