The shortstop position in the American League has some of the brightest up-and-coming stars to be found in Major League Baseball. The top three players on this list are all under 24 years old and will have multiple All-Star worthy seasons. They are the epitome of a cornerstone player, and could even garner MVP chants down the line. Some already have.
Top 5 American League Shortstops
1. Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
At only 24 years old, the star infielder can be the answer to the shortstop question in Boston until the year 2030, if the Red Sox and Bogaerts so choose. Last year, he put the entire league on notice with a stellar season, batting .294 with 21 home runs and 89 RBI. He needs 79 RBI to reach 300 on his career, and few players can say they’re reached that mark before their 25th birthday.
2. Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians
Lindor was a major factor behind the playoff run executed by the Tribe last season. His .301 average led all AL shortstops in 2016, and he added a little pop, with 15 long balls, and drove in 78 runners. He’s a threat at the top, middle, or bottom of the Indians lineup, and his versatility is something his team will cherish for many years.
3. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
The 2015 Rookie of the Year had a superb sophomore season in the big leagues. Along with Jose Altuve, the ‘Stros have one of, if not the, best middle infields in baseball. The 22-year-old batted .274 with 20 home runs and 96 RBI last season, and fans should get used to stat lines like thar being the norm for this youngster.
4. Jean Segura – Seattle Mariners
A change of scenery is sometimes the best answer for a struggling player. An impressive season (.319, 20 home runs, 64 RBI, 33 stolen bases) with the Diamondbacks in 2016 put Segura in the minds of numerous teams. Seattle landed him, and now have quite the one-two punch with Segura and Robinson Cano. Moving to the American League from the National League will force him to learn a whole new crop of pitchers and his numbers are likely to dip in the first month or two, but Segura should have a solid 2017 campaign.
5. Troy Tulowitzki – Toronto Blue Jays
He is the only American League shortstop on this list in his thirties, but don’t think that means he can’t keep up with the kids. His .254 average in 2016 was well below his .292 career average, so expect that to improve in 2017. He still has a good deal of pop in his bat, having hit 24 long balls last year while driving in 79 runs. The aforementioned players on this list should look to model their careers after Tulo’s because he has certainly put together an impressive resume. With a mere 47 more RBI, he will reach 800.
Honourable mentions: Elvis Andrus and Didi Gregorius
All but one of these five have very bright futures. That one is continuing to put together a Hall of Fame worthy career. Keep an eye on this group in 2017, as they will all jockey for the top spot on this list in 2018.