The Cleat Sheet Scouts Top Shortstops


Today, The Cleat Sheet is going to take a look at the top three shortstop prospects in baseball. Since we want to understand the impact on MLB franchises these star prospects can have, our commentary is based on a combination of prospective talent and MLB readiness.

Francisco Lindor – Age 20

Height: 5′ 11″, Weight: 175

2014 Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR
EAS AKR 66 257 44 72 7 3 4
37 35 45 19 0.28 0.366 0.377 0.744

Lindor is already an elite defensive shortstop. After watching hours of RubberDucks (AA) game tape, it is obvious that his range goes deep into the 5.5 hole, and with his clean footwork, he can track down choppers up the middle and still position his body to make a strong throw to first.

Lindor has great ability to make contact from both sides of the plate, and has strong pitch recognition. His ability to take a walk (.366 OBP), combined with his top of the line defense and strong baseball IQ project Lindor to be flirting with All Star teams in his first few seasons. As a side note, GM Chris Antonetti has stacked the RubberDucks with future talent. Among Lindor, Tyler Naquin projects to be an everyday CF.

However, two-time All Star Asdrubal Cabrera currently mans the left side for the Tribe. If the Indians choose to be sellers by the trade deadline (AL Central might have no sellers) Cabrera could be moved to make room for Lindor. Even if they’re not sellers, they could move Cabrera to make room for stud prospect. According to, “Trading Cabrera sooner than later seems like a no brainer.” (story at didthetribewinlastnight). The Cleat Sheet agrees. Make room for this switch-hitting, fleet footed phenom, and get ready to watch this star burst before our eyes. Trust us, watching him slide step into the Tony Gwinn hole reminds us of a young Jeter (his leadership does too).

Cleat Sheet Prospect Rating – 65

MLB Ready Rating – 75

Projected MLB Debut – July 18 at Detroit (after the Indians deal Cabrera during the All Star break)

Also, here is a funny hype video by MLB Films on Lindor. Check out his foot speed at 36 seconds.

Javier Baez – Age 21

Height: 6′ 0″, Weight: 190


2014 Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR
PCL IOW 59 219 31 48 10 2 11
38 15 82 12 0.219 0.274 0.434 0.708

Look at that bat speed:

Remind you a little bit of this swing?

We are not comparing the players as a whole. Gary Sheffield exhibited far superior plate discipline at the beginning and throughout his career. We are simply acknowledging the similarities in these rambunctious swings. BUT, at The Cleat Sheet, we like comparisons. They are fun, energizing, and provide some sort of perspective. That perspective may be foolish, like comparing Baez to Cal Ripkin Jr., but it still provides an entertaining conversational piece. We are going to stick with Sheff as our point of reference for Javy. Baez and Sheffield both started as infielders, and have nearly the same build. Although it remains to be seen what Javy’s future position will be, there is no denying that the 21 year-old has absurd bat speed. That’s where the comparison stops. Baez must develop better plate discipline. He will never mature into an offensive juggernaut as projected if he cannot layoff high cheese or go the other way with outside sliders. Cue Manny Ramirez. Theo Epstein signed Manny to simply, “Be Manny”. Whether or not Theo, or baseball, has forgiven Ramirez for his absurdities, Manny Ramirez can hit nasty, dirty, filthy off speed pitches. If he can rub off even a little onto Baez, watch out Adam Wainwright.

Back to the technical attributes, Baez has shown power to all fields with exceptional pull power. His glove is weak, but that may just be a matter of commitment to his trade. Through watching game tape, it is clear that Baez can make all of the plays at SS, however, the lapses remind us a little of his Cubs’ Major League counterpart. His defense reminds us more of Jeter currently, just as Lindor reminds us of Jeter’s defense as a youngster.

If Baez can mature emotionally and as a hitter, he will be a threat to start on 2015 opening day roster. We project him as a shortstop, so move over to the right side Starlin Castro (even though he is on a tear right now). Also, with Baez’ new teammate Kris Bryant joining him in Iowa, he may start to see some better pitches. It is important to note that after Baez faced adversity to begin this season, hitting .172 in April, he has improved his .47 points to .219 currently. Improvements have to be made by Baez before he will see the Bigs. The Cleat Sheet has players like Bryant, Arismendy Alcantara, and Christian Villanueva more likely to see MLB action before Javier.

Cleat Sheet Prospect Rating – 65

MLB Ready Rating – 55

Projected MLB Debut – August 19 hosting the Giants. Baez debut and hosting a playoff team should guarantee the Cubs a late August sellout.

Carlos Correa – Age 19

Height: 6′ 4″, Weight: 205

2014 Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR
CAL LAN 59 237 46 78 16 5 5
54 35 43 20 0.329 0.421 0.502 0.924

Carlos Correa is young and huge. Big frame allows for big power. The former Number 1 Overall Pick, is still growing. At the age of 19, he has a smooth swing and can deposit doubles to all fields. He also has composure at the plate and a work ethic beyond his years. Showing worth at where he was drafted, Correa still has to pay his dues in the minors before he’ll be at The Show. The Astros farm system is stocked, and GM Jeff Luhnow has Astros’ fans giddy. Clever contracting of Jon Singleton, and the youth of Correa propose an intimidating middle of the order left/right combination.

Correa is a solid fielder with good hands. Similar build to Troy Tulowitzki, Correa projects to be a competent enough of a fielder to play anywhere on the diamond. Although it may take a while for Correa to get to the majors, a middle infield of Jose Altuve and Correa projects to be among the best in the bigs. Of the three shortstops covered here, Correa might have the highest ceiling. Along with Baez, he projects to develop big power and is a centerpiece of Houston’s long term attack.

Cleat Sheet Prospect Rating – 65

MLB Ready Rating – 50

Projected MLB Debut – June 2015


One thought on “The Cleat Sheet Scouts Top Shortstops”

  1. Mac McClarrinon

    Mac McClarrinon

    Associate Scout Chicago Cubs

    I think you might have missed one in Addison Russell SS Oakland A’s. I see Baez as a power hitting 2B or maybe 3B. With what the Cubs have coming he won’t stay at short. Russell is a 20-20 type guy at SS and will play in he Futures Game this year. He might have had a chance to get a cup of coffee this year if he didn’t hurt his hamstring early in the year. From an impact perspective in my eyes. 1) Addison Russell 2) Correra 3) Lindor. Lindor might be a slightly better defender than Russell but Russell is a impact bat at SS that will stay there. Side note Baez has really struggled this year.

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