clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015 MLB Draft: Shortstops

New, 20 comments

Shortstop is one of the deepest positions in the MLB draft this year. There is a near unprecedented amount of college talent at the position as well as good depth in the high school ranks. The consensus top player is a prep shortstop and there is plenty of talent beyond him, though many won't stay at the position long term.

Alex Bregman
Alex Bregman
Stacy Revere, Getty Images

Brendan Rogers seems like the clear consensus to go 1-1 this year. So likely, he'll go #2. The Diamondbacks seem to be doing things to the beat of their own drum, so who knows. Either way, he is the clear cut best prospect in this draft. That isn't to say he has franchise changing skills, only the fewest weaknesses. He is a solid defender at SS and will likely stay there. He's athletic, he is polished and has all the tools you want in a top prospect. He has power with potential to hit 25-30 at some point. He has some swing and miss but should likely hit .280-300 most of the time. To me, the peak is J.J. Hardy with higher average. He is a near lock to be a big league regular and there is a chance he is a star.

Alex Bregman is polarizing. He has been since HS. He is not built like a prototypical shortstop and doesn't have the lithe build and the smooth actions of a future gold glover but I have seen him make plays and throws that would be excusable for a SS not to make. The routine play is the more crucial play and he makes them every time. He should stick at SS unless the drafting team has an existing player with superior skills. The bat is the real reason to be excited about Bregman. He hits everything hard. He smokes line drives, he can hit a ball 400' with ease. He does get pull happy and it can cause him to struggle but the skills are there for him to be a star.

Dansby Swanson is smooth and has actions that tend to make you think he will stick at SS. I haven't seen Swanson play SS enough to know that he will stick there but most think he will. I have only seen him play 2B and play SS on turf, so I'm not sure what level of skills he has defensively. At the plate, he has excellent on base skills, good plate discipline and a great swing that is conducive to ripping doubles. He doesn't have a lot of over the fence power but will grow into 10-15 HR potential. He is a lock to go in the top 5 of this draft.

Kyler Murray is the best football player available in this draft. He is good enough that there is only a small chance that he plays baseball more than a few games in the next three years. (Update: Murray will not enter the MLB Draft and will not take the required drug test and physical to be eligible.) He is a quarterback going to Texas A and M but it sounds like he isn't much of a pro prospect in football, so there is value in drafting him and signing him in the six figure range to take the chance that he will return to the diamond in three or four years. As for skills, he has a ton of quickness. He has a strong arm but has had a shoulder injury this spring and only DH'd. Another layer to his story. He has quick wrists and excellent coordination. He could be a star in baseball. His family also has history with both sports and adds complexity to his story. He is one of the most interesting players in this years draft.

Ryan Mountcastle is not a future shortstop. I don't know where he will play. I don't really care where he will play. Probably 3B or a corner OF spot but what I do care about is the bat. Mountcastle has impressive bat speed. He doesn't have the cleanest swing but he hits line drives from line to line and has the raw power to hit plenty of home runs. He hit well in the games I've seen him and I have a lot of faith that he will be one of the better hitters in the draft. He has a good arm, good enough for 3B and he has enough foot speed to be useful as a corner OF. If he goes to school, he is committed to UCF but I don't think he'll get there.

Kevin Newman is a special hitter. He is the only player ever to win two batting titles in the Cape Cod league. He has almost no power. He can hit some doubles but there is no current over the fence power. He has enough speed to steal some bases and impact the game on both sides of the ball. The question is if he can stick at SS. Some think it is an absolute lock that he is while others see him as a 2B. I don't have a strong opinion on it, as I haven't seen him enough. I see him as less likely to stick than Bregman and Swanson and that is reflected in my rankings. Even if I saw Bregman as a 2B, I still prefer Bregman. That being said, the first time I saw him on film, the first player I thought of was Derek Jeter.

Jalen Miller is one of the better high school shortstops who is likely to stay there. He lacks the bat that other highly rated prep shortstops have. Comparing him to past defense first shortstops, like Oscar Mercado, I prefer Miller's bat but Mercado's defense. I don't see him too much differently than Richie Martin on the college side, just less proven. He has smooth actions and good hands. He may develop into an excellent hitter or he may not. That will show his ultimate value as defensively, he will be an asset. It just depneds if he'll be a top prospect or a future utility type.  If he doesn't sign, he is comited to Clemson.

Richie Martin has been intriguing as a prospect for three years and has improve some each of the last three years. He has a decent bat but is hot and cold. Defensively, he can make some stellar plays look easy but he misses routine plays way more than he should. If he were more consistent, he'd be a mid-first round talent for me and some may see him there. I see him a little lower than that but he has a lot of potential considering he will play up the middle and at worst be an above average defensive 2B.

Nick Shumpert has one of the higher offensive ceilings of any shortstop in this draft. He has above average or better power and could hit 20+ home runs. He has impressive bat speed but sells out for power. I'm not sure he will hit for enough average to fully realize it but there is a chance and the fact that he is an excellent athlete and has good bloodlines, he will go off the board early. He is former big leaguer Terry Shumpert's son. As a defender, he has a good arm and soft hands. There is a chance he moves off SS to 3B or even 2B. If he doesn't sign, he is commited to Kentucky.

John Aiello looks the part. He's a 6'2", 200 LB switch hitter. He has plenty of arm for SS and will likely move off SS to 3B in the near future. He should be an above average defender there. He has a good swing from both sides but the right side seems more natural. He is faster than he looks and has enough quickness that he could play SS in college or the low minors. He isn't a finished product and because of his potential, he may the kind of guy who slides and ends up going to school to validate his skills further. He is commited to Wake Forest.

Mikey White has been a fixture in the Alabama lineup for three years. This year he has bulked up some and has continued to progress offensively. He isn't going to hit for a lot of power but he has hit well the last two years at Alabama as well as in Cape Cod last summer. Defensively he is probably not as good as you'd want an MLB regular to be but he plays above his tools so I can't rule it out. He would be an above average 2B though. He adds the the impressively deep shortstop class this year.

Kyle Holder is a defense first shortstop. He is a lock to stay at short and offers above average or better defense. He has a strong arm and is a good athlete. He has a contact driven approach and shouldn't strike out much in the low minors but he may have more swing and miss against good breaking stuff and higher velocity. He won't hit for power and his progress will depend on his glove. I could see him going as high and the mid first round but as a utility infielder type, I couldn't justify taking him in the top 75 picks.

Cadyn Grenier is one of the better defensive prep shortstops and should be able to stick there. He may not be a high level defender but he should be average there. He has a strong arm, soft hands and quick feet. At the plate, he has a line drive type approach. He doesn't have great bat speed but controls the bat well and hits the ball hard. He is a gamer. He should be a guy where the sum is greater than the tools. If he doesn't sign, he is commited to Oregon State.

Kody Clemens is the younger of the two Clemens' available in this draft. He is the best hitter of the Clemens clan and may be the best athlete in the family. His contact ability is great and he has a slashing swing. There isn't much power but he stings the ball. Should be a solid average hitter with plenty of line drives. He's more quick than he is fast. If I were a betting man, I'd bet he would be the starting shortstop at Texas next year after Hinojosa moves on, if he moves on.

C.J. Hinojosa doesn't look like a SS. He is a short, stocky guy who looks more like a catcher than a shortstop. He is having a really poor year at the plate this year. Unlike most good prospects, he has actually regressed each year at Texas. He is inconsistent and just doesn't stand out on his team like he did as a freshman. Going into the year, I thought with improvement he could be a mid to late 1st rounder. At this point, I'm not sure he goes in the top two rounds. He is likely a 2B or 3B. His arm is a little short for 3B, as is the bat. Unless someone sees him good or he catches fire late, he could slide and end up back at Texas as a senior.

John Cresto is a 6'3", 207 pound athlete. There is a chance he plays shortstop if he goes to college because he's pretty quick, has a good arm and has soft hands. Even if he plays short for a short period of time, he'll be a third baseman long term and he has the tools to be good. Cresto has a great swing. It's simple, clean and efficient. He hits the ball hard. I love it. I look at his swing and his potential and see a little Scott Rolen. I know that is extreme but the athleticism and simple swing allow that to be a possibility. I don't know if he always trains with former All-star and Silver Slugger Matt Nokes but I know he has worked with him in the past. If he goes to college, he is committed to Santa Clara.

Travis Blankenhorn is a lefty swinging shortstop who is likely to end up at 3B. He is quick, agile and has a good arm. At the plate, he has a short, sweet swing that he repeats well. He should be able to hit for average as well as hit for gap power and run into a few homers. He should hit more as he gets bigger and stronger but that will make him more likely to move off SS or 2B. I think he'll be able to stick in the dirt at 3B though. He is commited to Kentucky and I think he'd be an excellent fit in that program.

Jose Vizcaino has a high waisted, athletic build and looks more like a 3B or even corner outfielder than a SS.  I would bet he's move to the hot corner right after he's signed, if he signs. He has a strong arm, quick release and good hands. He has been a bit under the radar for me as I have never seen a Santa Clara game, just some video. He has hit well in limited action this year and there is potential for him to be a big leaguer. His Dad was Jose Vizcaino, the 18 year big leaguer.

Blake Trahan is another potential first round college SS. I'm not sure he can stick at SS but should at least be an above average defensive 2B if not. The bat is very fast. He has a waggle pre-swing that I don't like but it's a timing mechanism and if it falters, pro coaches will work it out. He hits the ball hard and will hit plenty of line drives which should let him hit for good average, I just don't see much power coming from him.

Brendon Davis is 6"4 and 170 pounds. He is the definition of projectable. He looks like his legs are about 2/3 of his height (slightly exaggerating).  He looks like a basketball player in his length and thin, athletic build. He has a big arm and can throw in the low 90's and is could potentially play shortstop to start his career but if he fills out, he'll be a 3B. He isn't fast and doesn't have the quickness I expect from a SS and his long legs don't make getting to grounders easy. He may even end up in the OF.  At the plate, he gets good extension and loft and could be an excellent hitter but again, it's projection. He has long levers so he could have swing and miss until he gets his swing under control, if he does. He is going to Cal State Fullerton if he doesn't sign and it's possible he pitches if he gets to campus as well.

Kyle Datres is a better athlete than he is baseball player. He's a solid shortstop and a good pitcher. He is committed to North Carolina and is likely on his way there to pitch and hit to see where he profiles best going forward but if a team sees him hit well or break off a plus breaking ball, which he probably has in him and hit 90, they may gamble on the athletecism and pay him.

Daniel Pinero looks impressive. He's 6'5", long and lean. He looks like he is in the mold of ARod or Manny Machado physically. As a freshman, he was very raw. He took good at bats but lacked any strength at the plate. He is from Canada and played like someone who is from Canada. I have yet to see him as a Sophomore but the numbers show power development along with continued plate discipline. The fielding numbers are down. I wish I knew more because he is an intriguing player. He is a draft eligible sophomore and could use this season to leverage a better bonus or return for his junior season next year.

Kevin Kramer gets lost in the shuffle of the college shortstops this year. He isn't a prototypical pro shortstop and will likely be a 2B if he becomes a regular but he could be an excellent future utility infielder. He had a shoulder injury last season but has recovered and hit well as a redshirt junior. He may be a candidate to go back for his senior year though, so signing isn't guaranteed if he is taken in the draft.

Drew Jackson has all the tools to be a top two round guy but he hasn't shown any ability to turn the tools into skills. He hasn't hit at all in three years at Stanford or two years on the Cape. He will be a late round guy who will be turned over to player development to try to make something of him or a guy who will return to Stanford for his senior year.

David Fletcher is a defense first college defender. He would be more highly regarded if not for the depth in this years draft in college SS. He has hit well as freshman and improved offensively this year as a draft eligible sophomore. He is an interesting guy and could go early this year or slide depending on if there is a feeling that he will sign or return to school.

A few other college shortstops that should get picked are Tyler Krieger, Kal Simmons, Matt Gonzalez and Julius Gaines. A few more prep names to know are Nick Madrigal, Ethan Skender, Tekwaan Whyte, Xavier LeGrant, LT Tolbert, Roman Alejo and Lukas Wakamatsu.

Name Level Year College/commitment
Brendan Rodgers HS HS Florida State
Alex Bregman College JR Louisiana State
Dansby Swanson College JR Vanderbilt
Kyler Murray HS HS Texas A&M
Ryan Mountcastle HS HS UCF
Kevin Newman College JR Arizona
Jalen Miller HS HS Clemson
Richie Martin College JR Florida
Nick Shumpert HS HS Kentucky
John Aiello HS HS Wake Forest
Mikey White College JR Alabama
Kyle Holder College San Diego
Cadyn Grenier HS HS Oregon State
Kody Clemens HS HS Texas
C.J. Hinojosa College JR Texas
John Cresto HS HS Santa Clara
Travis Blankenhorn HS HS Kentucky
Jose Vizcaino College JR Santa Clara
Blake Trahan College JR Louisiana-Lafayette
Brendon Davis HS HS Cal State Fullerton
Kyle Datres HS HS North Carolina
Daniel Pinero College SO Virginia
Kevin Kramer College SR UCLA
Drew Jackson College JR Stanford
David Fletcher College SO Loyola Marymount