Fantasy Baseball: Highlighting top shortstop prospects for 2017

In dynasty league drafts, "shortstop" is a complete misnomer. You'll want to park it here for a while.

That's because it's always loaded with prospects even though it's traditionally one of the weakest positions in Fantasy. Organizations like to give their most talented players every opportunity to show they can handle it there. Most can't, but hey, they are what they are until they're not. And this year is no exception. Around the infield, shortstop is the one position where going 10 deep just isn't deep enough.

Excluded here is Nick Gordon , who's a top-50 prospect for most every publication. He hasn't shown much statistically and is young enough to get another crack at this list next year. Richard Urena might well be the Blue Jays' best prospect, but he's in the same boat. Kevin Maitan has been hyped as a once-in-a-generation talent, but he's only 16 and will have plenty of chances to be hyped going forward. Gavin Cecchini may break through as the Mets everyday shortstop this year and is an exceptional contact hitter, but he can't compete with these other players in terms of overall upside.

So understanding that this list doesn't reveal all the shortstops that will eventually appear in my top 100 overall prospects, here's the best the position has to offer.

Note: This list is intended for a variety of Fantasy formats and thus weighs short-term role against long-term value. Not all of these players will contribute in 2017 -- most, in fact, will not -- but among prospects, they're the names to know.

1. Dansby Swanson , 23, Atlanta Braves

Where played in 2016: high Class A, Double-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .275 BA (411 AB), 9 HR, 13 SB, .787 OPS, 50 BB, 84 K
Major-league stats: .302 BA (129 AB), 3 HR, 3 SB, .803 OPS, 13 BB, 34 K

The jump from Double-A didn't faze Swanson, who demonstrated the same diverse skill set that should make him an All-Star for years to come. He's not exactly a slugger, but he should produce in the same vein as Derek Jeter, consistently hitting for a high average with just enough power, speed and on-base ability to push him into the upper tier.

2. J.P. Crawford , 22, Philadelphia Phillies

Where played in 2016: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .250 BA (472 AB), 7 HR, 12 SB, .688 OPS, 72 BB, 80 K

At some point, Crawford's numbers will need to back up the hype, but as close as he is to graduating, it may be another Francisco Lindor situation where he reaches the majors first. His raw tools combined with his exceptional plate discipline still offer reason for optimism, but he may turn out to be something less than studly.

3. Franklin Barreto , 21, Oakland Athletics

Where played in 2016: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .284 BA (479 AB), 11 HR, 30 SB, .763 OPS, 36 BB, 94 K

Barreto has more power potential than either Swanson or Crawford, but he's not as assured of getting the call this year and not as assured of sticking at shortstop. His bat should play anywhere, but at his age, there's still a question of whether he projects for 25-plus home runs annually or more like 15-20.

4. Brendan Rodgers , 20, Colorado Rockies

Where played in 2016: low Class A
Minor-league stats: .281 BA (442 AB), 19 HR, .821 OPS, 35 BB, 98 K

Rodgers offers definitive middle-of-the-order power and will play in a venue that should make the absolute most of it a couple years from now. The natural comparison is Troy Tulowitzki -- and he may well come close offensively -- but he's not the defender Tulowitki was, and is already getting looks at second base just in case.

5. Gleyber Torres , 20, New York Yankees

Where played in 2016: high Class A
Minor-league stats: .270 BA (478 AB), 11 HR, 21 SB, .775 OPS, 58 BB, 110 K

Torres may have shortened his timetable with his blistering performance in the Arizona Fall League, but with Didi Gregorius holding down the fort in the majors, the Yankees don't need to rush him. The prize of the Aroldis Chapman deal is also the prize of their retooled farm system, and while his exact profile is still coming together, he should be a special offensive player, maybe another Xander Bogaerts .

6. Willy Adames , 21, Tampa Bay Rays

Where played in 2016: Double-A
Minor-league stats: .274 BA (486 AB), 11 HR, 13 SB, .802 OPS, 74 BB, 121 K

Adames is one of those prospects whose production has never measured up to the hype (he was the main return in David Price deal way back when), but now on the second-to-last rung of the minor-league ladder, we're starting to get the picture: Power plus plate discipline at a premium position is a beautiful thing. Even if he tops out at 20 homers, it's enough to set him apart.

7. Amed Rosario , 21, Mets

Where played in 2016: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .324 BA (479 AB), 5 HR, 19 SB, .833 OPS, 40 BB, 87 K

Rosario was one of the minors' breakthrough players this year, but contact hitting in and of itself doesn't take a player far in Fantasy. He did show some extra-base pop, though -- and for any top shortstop prospect with underdeveloped offensive skills, the Lindor comp comes to mind -- but it's possible he's just a middling option in standard mixed leagues, at least to start out.

8. Jorge Mateo , 21, Yankees

Where played in 2016: high Class A
Minor-league stats: .254 BA (464 AB), 8 HR, 36 SB, .685 OPS, 33 BB, 108 K

Mateo looked more enticing to Fantasy owners when he was stealing 82 bases last year and more enticing to the Yankees when he wasn't trying to dictate the terms of his promotion -- a maneuver that earned him a two-week suspension in July. He elicits Jose Reyes comparisons, but with Torres now in the picture, he's almost certainly changing positions and has questions to answer about his maturity as well.

9. Kevin Newman , 23, Pittsburgh Pirates

Where played in 2016: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .320 BA (397 AB), 5 HR, 10 SB, .814 OPS, 43 BB, 36 K

Newman is in the same boat as Rosario, offering a high batting average and not much else, but his inferior physique and advanced age leaves less to the imagination. This is as good as it gets, in other words, which is likely still good enough to unseat Jordy Mercer at some point this year -- and in points leagues, the unusual contact rate might even make him sneaky good.

10. Isan Diaz , 20, Milwaukee Brewers

Where played in 2016: low Class A
Minor-league stats: .264 BA (507 AB), 20 HR, 11 SB, .827 OPS, 72 BB, 148 K

In terms of power potential, about the only players who can compete with Diaz on this list are Rodgers and maybe Barreto, but the prize of the Jean Segura deal is still far away and almost certainly a second baseman long term. He's a better contact hitter than you might think, though, as evidenced by his .296 batting average from June 1 on.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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