2019 Draft: Top 20 Shortstops
Throughout the season, Baseball America will present position rankings of the best college players in the draft class. Here we focus on the shortstops.
This year’s shortstop class is solid, but the top of the group is still shaking out. All five players on this list received at least one vote to be the first-team Preseason All-American shortstop from MLB scouting directors, illustrating the lack of consensus in the class.
North Carolina State’s Will Wilson and Nevada-Las Vegas’ Bryson Stott are off to hot starts this spring, while Auburn’s Will Holland has struggled out of the gate. But there are still three months for the group to sort itself out before draft day.
This list is based on draft status and was composed of players who are expected to play most of their games this season as shortstops.
- 1UNLV SSNotes:
Stott has undergone significant development at UNLV to become one of the top shortstops in the country. He was Team USA’s everyday shortstop last summer and impressed with both his solid defensive ability and his hittability. While there were some questions last summer about Stott’s impact, the righthanded hitter has already surpassed his 2018 home run total (4) and is pushing into top-five overall pick consideration.
- 2NC State SSNotes:
Wilson has done nothing but hit throughout his college career, both for NC State and USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. He’s a career .300 hitter for the Wolfpack and hit 15 home runs a year ago and is off to a hot start to his junior season. The righthanded hitter has a good feel for hitting and solid power, but his below-average speed means he’ll likely end up at second base in pro ball.
- 3Clemson SSNotes:
Davidson is a polarizing prospect. He has a strong track record of hitting at Clemson, but in back-to-back summers has struggled mightily on the Cape. He has some standout tools - he has above-average power and the athleticism to give him a shot at staying at shortstop – but he also carries some risk.
- 4Auburn SSNotes:
Holland last season broke out with an impressive sophomore season for Auburn and carried that performance into the summer in the Cape Cod League. He’s a toolsy athlete with plus speed, fast hands and the ability to make highlight reel plays at shortstop. He’s still a bit raw and is off to a slow start this spring, but his upside is significant.
- 5Texas A&M SSNotes:
Shewmake exploded onto the college baseball scene in 2017 with an outstanding freshman year and has continued to rake over the last two years. The lefthanded hitter is still projectable and has a good feel for the barrel, though he struggled with Team USA. Shewmake plays shortstop for the Aggies, but he’ll likely need to move off the position in pro ball.
- 6UNC-Wilmington SSNotes:
A draft-eligible sophomore, Jones is one of the toolsiest college players in the draft class and he has elite speed. But Jones is also rather raw. He strikes out at a high rate and many observers believe he will need to move to center field as a professional.
- 7Florida SSNotes:
McConnell came to Florida as the highest ranked position player in the 2017 draft class not to sign. His freshman year was derailed by injuries, but healthy now the draft-eligible sophomore has started strong at the plate and has been the kind of dynamic player he was expected to be.
- 8Louisiana State SSNotes:
Smith was LSU’s everyday third baseman on its 2017 College World Series runner-up team and he was set to take over at shortstop in 2018 before a back injury cost him the season. He’s now healthy again and been one of the Tigers’ most consistent hitters, though he doesn’t hit for much power and there are questions about his offensive impact at the next level.
- 9Virginia SSNotes:
Morris last season was solid as a freshman and then excelled during the summer in the Cape Cod League. A draft-eligible sophomore, he’s carried that momentum into the spring. He’s likely to move to second or third in pro ball, but his feel for hitting stands out.
- 10UC Irvine SSNotes:
Koss has established himself as one of the premier defensive shortstops in the country over the last three years. He’s hitting for more power this season but questions about his offensive impact remain.
- 11Georgia SSNotes:
Shepherd is a three-year starter at shortstop for Georgia, but his offensive production has taken a dip since an All-Freshman season. But he’s a steady defender and has an intriguing tool set.
- 12Texas SSNotes:
Hamilton came into the year expected to be a top-two rounds pick, but then tore his Achilles tendon in a scooter accident. When he’s heathy, he has plus speed and good on base skills, but he’s out for the season and is now one of the wild cards in the class.
- 13Tennessee SSNotes:
Lipcius is a good athlete and has had a productive college career, a good combination on draft day. He has good bat speed and has walked about as much as he’s struck out during his career. He probably won’t stay at shortstop in pro ball but can play anywhere on the infield.
- 14Louisville SSNotes:
Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Fitzgerald fits the prototype of a big, offensive shortstop. He’s having a breakout season at the plate and is Louisville’s leading hitter. His size and range raise questions about his ability to stay at shortstop, however.
Grae KissingerOle MissNotes:
The grandson of All-Star shortstop Don Kessinger, Grae Kessinger has started at shortstop for three years at Ole Miss. He has a bigger frame at a listed 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, but moves well and has a solid offensive skillset.
- 16Vanderbilt SSNotes:
Paul started at first or second base for the last three years, before this year moving to shortstop as a senior. He’s likely to move back to second base in pro ball due to his range, but his offensive production will play at either position.
- 17Oregon SSNotes:
Steer mostly played third base before this season but has taken over as Oregon’s shortstop. He has the versatility to play anywhere on the infield and does a good job of producing solid contact at the plate.
- 18North Carolina SSNotes:
Freeman is North Carolina’s leading hitter this spring and is in his second season as the starting shortstop. He doesn’t stand out for his tools, but his offensive production and steady defense will give him a chance in the draft.
Sahid ValenzuelaCal-State Fullerton SSNotes:
Valenzuela is undersized but has been a key part of Fullerton’s lineup for three years. The switch hitter has good bat-to-ball skills, though there are questions about how much offensive impact he’ll provide.
Trei CruzRice SSNotes:
The son of former big leaguer Jose Cruz Jr., Trei Cruz has a big offensive skill set. The switch-hitter has solid power and good on-base skills. A draft-eligible sophomore, Cruz is not as advanced defensively and he may fit better at third base in pro ball.