People really like to post rankings, because they generate a lot of conversations and tend to rile people up with strong feelings about players or teams. “You have WHO ranked at No. 1? You have to be kidding. No way.” It’s a good time. In fact, I love posting rankings. I love sharing my opinions and providing the good readers of Deadspin with things to discuss.
MLB Network did just that, providing their consensus top-10 for the shortstop position in the MLB. The shortstop position currently has an embarrassment of riches, and coming up with some sort of rankings for the position is nearly impossible. There are multiple players you could easily put at the top, all of whom possess the ability to hit for average, power, steal bases, and play elite defense.
We haven’t seen this many young stars at the position since the early 2000s, when A-Rod, Jeter, Nomar were top dogs and guys like Tejada, Rollins and Reyes were big stars.
My gut instinct after seeing Story as the No. 1 shortstop in baseball is that they’re wrong. After looking at the numbers, however, this young stud who plays in Colorado (at least for now) possesses everything you’re looking for in the position. My first reaction was to list Francisco Lindor at one, but their numbers are very similar. Story is a career .277 batter who averages 36 home runs, 101 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases per year. Lindor? He is a career .285 batter who averages 29 home runs, 86 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases per year. Both are excellent defensively. Maybe Story stacks up better than I thought.
There are other young studs that could make a claim for the top spot – the new cover boy of MLB The Show, Fernando Tatis Jr., has been a phenom in his own right, bringing the personality and swagger to baseball that it has long been attempting to snuff out. In his rookie season in 2019, Tatis hit .317 with 22 home runs, while logging 16 stolen bases and 53 RBIs in 84 games. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he took a major step forward in the power and RBI departments. In only 59 games, he amassed 17 home runs, 45 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases. The kid is only 2 and he can play.
The shortstop position is in good hands, no matter how you rank the top of the list. Of the top athletes at the position according to MLB Network’s list, all 10 are 28 years old or younger. There’s a serious youth movement at the position, and the league is better because of it.