Every offseason, MLB Network runs through a series of programming. One such show is about the Top 10 Right Now at each position. And as we have done in both 2018, 2019, and 2020, we will go over our Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now.
Just a quick note about this list, it is a personal list, and everyone will value different things from each position. So I encourage you to make your own list and see who makes the cut on your list.
For most of these lists, I focus on my Top 10. But when it comes to Shortstop, it’s my favorite position, and thus I needed to add in those that nearly made the rankings. Players like Dansby Swanson, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, and Miguel Rojas all just missed for me. Many of these players could have easily made the list and could even be on MLB Network’s Shredder list. But for one reason or another, I couldn’t take out anyone on my list for these four players even though I would have liked to have them on the list. So now onto the Top 10 Shortstops Right Now.
10. Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts begins my countdown at number ten. Over the past three seasons, Bogaerts has been a supreme offensive force for the Boston Red Sox. Since 2018 Xander has been produced OPS+’s of 135, 140, 131, respectively. Producing such OPS+ numbers is a sign of an offensive force. Now the knock-on Bogaerts has and will continue to be his defense. And while I prefer a good defensive shortstop, there’s no denying that a good offensive player can overcome some defensive lapses.
9. Trea Turner
The Washington Nationals shortstop broke out massively in 2020. And while only being a shortened season, Turner would play in 59 of the 60 games and produce an OPS+ of 157. Turner would also contribute a league-leading 78 hits and 4 triples to go along with a slashline of .335/.394/.588. Now Turner and the defensive metrics have not been the best of friends. Nor would the eye test always say that Turner is a Gold Glove defender. However, the eye test would say that Turner can handle the position well enough. And when swinging the bat as he did in 2020, it is all the more acceptable.
8. Bo Bichette
The Toronto Blue Jays shortstop comes in at number 8 on my Top 10 Shortstops Right Now for 2021. Bichette has now played in parts of two seasons, equaling 75 games. Across those 75 games, Bichette has an OPS+ of 137 and a slashline of .307/.347/.549 with 16 homeruns and 44 RBIs. Going into the 2021 season, the Blue Jays’ will have a lot more pressure mounted on them because of their busy offseason. And Bo Bichette will be called upon as one of the leaders of the Blue Jays young core. And being able to play a full season should see magical things happen North of the Border.
7. Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson is one of the more entertaining players in MLB. And also one of the top shortstops in the game. Since 2019, Anderson has been atop the batting average leaders for the American League. Also, over that span, Anderson has produced OPS+’s of 128 and 141, along with 28 homeruns and 77 RBIs. Going into the 2021 season, campaign the White Sox shortstop will have a major role in the team’s success. Now defensively is where Anderson comes up a bit short. And thus, his place is in the second half of the list of Top 10 Shortstops Right Now 2021. But there is little question about the validity of him being in the top ten.
6. Trevor Story
Trevor Story is an unsung staple of this list, a poster boy for consistency, much like his predecessor Troy Tulowitzki. Story has produced OPS+’s of 127, 119, and 118 over the past three seasons. Trevor is also one of the most sure-handed shortstops on this list. Taking his defense and offense into account and you have the makings of a perennial MVP candidate on your hands. Now, the 2021 campaign will likely be a year of transition for Trevor Story because the Colorado Rockies are not likely to compete. And Story will likely be on the move sooner rather than later to garner a huge haul in return. And that haul will be reflective of one of the Top 10 Shortstops Right Now.
5. Corey Seager
The Los Angeles Dodger’s shortstop, Corey Seager, has put together a quietly great career. Over his six-year Major League career, Seager has put together an average slashline of .295/.362/.500. During the 2020 campaign, Seager truly broke out in a big way producing an OPS+ of 152 with a slashline of .307/.358/.585 with 15 homeruns and 41 RBIs. Corey Seager is also a good enough defender at shortstop to handle the position in 2021. Like the great Cal Ripken Jr, who started his career at short, many speculate that Seager would also have to make a move to third base at some point in his career. However, 2021 is not that season. Expect a monster year out of the Dodgers and out of one of the game’s Top 10 Shortstops Right Now.
4. Carlos Correa
As we continue up the list, we reach the Houston Astro’s Shortstop, Carlos Correa. 2020 was also a down season for Correa. But if you look at the numbers from his 2019 campaign, they’re much more in line with what would be average for Correa. When it comes to Carlos Correa, he’s dealt with many injuries throughout his short career. Outside of 2020, you have to look all the way back to 2016 to find a season that wasn’t shortened by injury. But even with injuries, Correa is a productive player when on the field. Over his six-year career, Correa has produced an average OPS+ of 126 with a slashline of .276/.353/.480. But Carlos has also played above-average defense at a premium defensive position. Heading into the 2021 season, Correa and the Astros will have to prove that the sign-stealing scandal didn’t falsely inflate their statistics. So look for a big season out of one of the Top 10 Shortstops Right Now.
3. Javier Baez
When one thinks of the name Javier Baez, incredible glove work comes to mind. From his insane tagging ability to the flair for the dramatics, Javy is a dynamic player in MLB. The Chicago Cubs’ Shortstop has some incredible gifts and skills and puts them on display every game. 2020 was a rough offensive season for one of the top shortstops in the game. Javy would only manage an OPS+ of 59. But Baez would help his team in other ways, namely his defense, by winning a Gold Glove. Going into the 2021 season, where it will be a full 162 game campaign, Javy should bounce back easily and quickly. And thus reaffirming his place amongst the Top 10 Shortstops Right Now in MLB in 2021.
2. Francisco Lindor
As we approach the top of the Top 10 Shortstops Right Now, we look at Francisco Lindor. The switch-hitting shortstop is among the most charismatic players in all of Major League Baseball. Mr. Smiles, as he’s also affectionately known as plays the game with a child’s enthusiasm. And Lindor also plays the game with a flair for the dramatic. The switch-hitter would have a down season in 2020 but would still be just above league average. 2021 is set to be a full regular season, and therefore the overwhelming talent of Francisco Lindor will play out. Add in the fact that Lindor is a plus defender, and you have the makings for one of the very best Top 10 Shortstops Right Now.
1. Fernando Tatis Jr
Well, there’s little denying the fact that Fernando Tatis Jr is a special player. A player with his abilities is a rare breed in Major League Baseball. During the shortened 2020 campaign, Tatis Jr would put up an astounding OPS+ of 155. And while Fernando would only have 143 games under his Major League belt, his offensive numbers are eye-opening. An average OPS+ of 154, 39 homeruns, and 98 RBIs, to go along with a slashline of .301/.374/.582. Fernando Tatis Jr isn’t a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, But he made serious defensive strides in 2020. With a bit more seasoning at the position and maintaining his otherworldly output for shortstops, Fernando Tatis Jr will be one of the Top 10 Players in the game, not just among shortstops.