The New York Mets have one of the better shortstops in baseball in Francisco Lindor. Lindor is coming off of a down season, which still featured 20 homers and a slightly-above-average OPS+ of 101.
This ranking was difficult because shortstop is one of the deepest, if not the deepest position, in the sport. There are some very good shortstops that didn’t crack my top 10, such as Willy Adames, Bo Bichette, Javy Baez, and Jorge Polanco. That’s how deep this list is.
So where does Francisco Lindor rank among shortstops?
Fernando Tatis is #1. Tatis slashed .282/.364/.611/.975. He hit 42 homers, which led the league, 31 doubles, scored 99 runs, drove in 97 runs, and stole 25 bases. He has a great glove, even though he needs to work on his arm accuracy on throws. Going into his 23-year-old season, he’s simply the best around.
Trea Turner comes in second. Turner slashed .328/.375/.536/.911 and hit 28 homers, 34 doubles, scored 107 runs, and stole 32 bases. He led baseball in batting average and hits (195), and led the NL in steals and total bases. He’s one of those annoying players who’s good at everything. Thankfully, he’s not on the Nationals anymore.
Carlos Correa rounds out the top three. He’s an elite defender, no doubt the best at the position and one of the best gloves in the game, and he’s a good hitter too. He slashed .279/.366/.485/.850 with 26 homers and 34 doubles. His biggest problem is that he’s not a likable player because of his arrogant attitude and remorseless trash-can banging. Regardless, the raw talent is there.
Corey Seager comes in at #4. He’s one of the best hitters at the position, but due to his lackluster defense, he will likely move to third base sooner than later. He slashed .306/.394/.521/.915 with 16 homers and 22 doubles in 2021, but he missed about a third of the season due to injury.
Trevor Story comes in at number five. Story had a down year in 2021, slashing just .251/.329/.471/.801, but his counting stats were still good with 24 homers, 34 doubles, and 20 stolen bases. He’s also got a great glove that’s capable of moving to second or third if his new team needs that. He’s got the chance to move back up this list with a bounceback 2022.
Brandon Crawford comes in at #6. Crawford had an incredible comeback season in 2021, slashing .298/.373/.522/.895 with 24 homers, 30 doubles, and 90 RBI’s. He’s also got one of the better gloves at the position. It remains to be seen if he can repeat this performance in his age 35 season, but for now, this is a good spot for him.
Xander Bogaerts comes in seventh. If we were just looking at his offensive stats, he’d probably be third or fourth on this list. He hit .295/.370/.493/.863 with 23 homers, 34 doubles, and 90 runs scored. Unfortunately for Bogey Brickhands, we’re looking at all-around talent, and he’s one of the worst defenders ever. He has a career -55 DRS, which is not only the worst of any active player right now, it’s 12th worst at any position in history. Shortstop is an incredibly important defensive position, so his defensive ineptitude drags him down.
Francisco Lindor comes in at #8. Lindor slashed just .230/.322/.412/.734. Looking at his splits, his first half was atrocious with a .225/.325/.373/.698 slash line, but he really turned it on in the second half, to the tune of .241/.317/.497/.813. His defense was excellent, with an Outs Above Average (OAA) of 20, which ranked in the 100th percentile. He’s got the chance to move up this list if he bounces back offensively in 2022.
Numbers nine through 12 are pretty interchangeable for me. Tim Anderson, Wander Franco, Jorge Polanco, Javy Baez, Bo Bichette and Willy Adames are the names in consideration here. Anderson is a good contact hitter, baserunner, and defender, but he lacks the power to be higher on the list. Wander Franco is an exciting phenom who should be one of the best players in baseball for years to come. Polanco has quietly been one of the best offensive middle infielders in the game over the last several years, but he struggles defensively. Javy Baez is a talented yet very streaky player. Bo Bichette is a young, well-rounded player who will likely move up this list. Willy Adames had his best season yet after leaving Tampa, which is no coincidence.
This is probably the deepest position in baseball, with many talented shortstops not even making the top 10. I think Lindor is in a good spot, thanks to his spectacular defense. He can move up if he hits like he’s capable of.
Where would you rank Lindor among Major League shortstops?