Historically, the shortstop position has been known as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball. Teams would live with a light hitting shortstop as long as they were a slick fielders and able to quarterback the infield. Times have changed as most dynasty owners recognize shortstop as arguably the position with the deepest prospect pool of offensive talent. There you will find many top prospects ready to make an immediate impact in the majors, perhaps as soon as this year. There are many 21 and under SS prospects that are already household names such as Russell, Lindor, Baez and Correa. You are not reading pieces on minor league prospects to find out if you should acquire those guys. You have probably already overpaid to acquire one or more of them OR you have traded one off for a king’s ransom. Here are a few guys further down the list that every dynasty league owner needs to know if you are looking to build a deep farm system.
Corey Seager, LAD (20)
This is, Seattle Slugger, Kyle Seager’s little brother and will probably end up being a better player than his big bro. Corey destroyed the pitching at the Low-A level in 2013, but had a tougher time later in the season at High-A. He was down-right embarrassed in the Arizona Fall League last October. Seager has a larger frame than your average shortstop and many scouts wonder if he will remain at the position or follow his brother to the hot corner. MLB.com lists Seager as the #31 overall prospect and the top in the Dodgers organization. He could be a stud SS if he sticks at the position, consistently hitting .285 to .300 each season and hitting nearly 20 HRs. He has the ability to hit to all fields and has enough plate discipline to get on base. Although he does not have plus speed, he could sneak out double-digit SBs. His defense might play better at 3B but I’m not sure he will develop the prototypical power you want from a corner infielder. Regardless, he will be a contributing major league player, but certainly has more value at SS. I would target him in dynasty leagues and deep keeper leagues. The Dodgers have been pushing him through the system, but his Arizona Fall League performance has put the brakes on the process. He is likely to get another shot this October. I would be shocked if we see him make The Show prior to 2016.
Rosell Herrera, COL (21)
The Rockies actually have two shortstop prospects 21 and under that are highly rated, Herrera and Trevor Story. MLB.com ranks Herrera as their #93 prospect for 2014. Rosell has a similar physical profile to Seager but will likely be a tier below. He is another larger framed SS who might not stick at the position but doesn’t have enough tools to move to an everyday 3B. Herrera struggled in 2013 in Low-A ball and was demoted. Once brought back up to Asheville, he raked to a slash line of .343/.419/.515 and won MVP of the league. He should have above average power for SS hitting 20-25 HRs per year with a decent .275 to .280 avg. He strikes out a lot but offsets them because he will draw walks. He had an impressive 21 SBs in 2013 but he doesn’t have pure speed and will likely settle into 8-10 SBs per season in the majors. With no real plus tools and an odd frame for a SS, Rosell will likely see time at 2B, 3B and perhaps the OF. He could become a super-utility man with enough offensive production to find his way in the lineup nearly every day and would be a huge value to dynasty owners. This is his best path to the big leagues, as well, with Tulo under contract into the next decade. Deep keeper leagues can probably pass on him as he will not likely hold enough upside to hold a keeper slot. Herrera could be a late season call up in 2015 but most likely will make his debut in 2016.
Franklin Barreto, TOR (18)
Here is your deep sleeper. He did make a splash in international competition earning him a contract as teenager out of Venezuela in 2012. At the age of 17, he slashed .276/.343/.482 in Rookie Ball. As opposed to the other two on this list, Franklin has a much smaller frame which would be more suited to be a shortstop and He is athletic enough to stick, but his arm is not great and his poor fielding mechanics may ultimately might move him to 2B or CF. Regardless of his position, Barreto has the potential to be a perennial 20/20 guy at the highest level. His quick wrists and raw power will develop into an excellent hit and power tools, but his plate discipline will need to improve to see him hit a the top of the order which would be ideal. Dynasty owners need to get him now while he’s cheap, because in two years, he will be a top 100 prospect and be a premium to acquire. Franklin won’t see Toronto until 2017 but the wait will be worth it.
Bryan Luhrs Real Deal Dynasty Sports Leagues, Creator & Commissioner MajorLeagueFantasySports.com, Fantasy Baseball Writer www.realdealdynasty.com @realdealdynasty