Shortstop is traditionally a hard position to project for the long-term. At a position where lateral range is so important, projecting players out 5-10 years from today can be near impossible, as different body types mature in different ways.
This year is no different. The top five shortstops are by no means expected to all stick at shortstop in the long-term, with some even moving off the position immediately. The highlight, though, is a player that is expected to stick at shortstop as a long-term home, and that player is Manny Machado. With only one other surefire first round pick, the shortstop class is considered relatively weak this year, but there's enough talent to be found if you look in the right places.
School: Brito Private HS State: FL Height: 6-3 Weight: 190
Bats: R Throws: R Birth Date: 7/6/92 Commitment: Florida International
Manny Machado is an electric shortstop from Brito Private High School in Hialeah, Florida, which is just outside Miami. Machado has been on the prospect scene for a number of years, but it wasn't until about a year ago that he really started getting noticed as a potential impact player in this draft class.
Seen as part of the pack that included shortstops Yordy Cabrera and Justin O'Conner entering last summer, he had separated himself by the end of the fall tournament season, and he's only gone on to confirm that placement this spring. He has all the tools and makeup to become a perennial all star shortstop at the next level, and it's only a matter of time before he's making headlines across the Major Leagues.
At the plate, he's a plus hitter with average raw power, and those two tools together means he has some of the best offensive potential for a shortstop in all of baseball at this moment. Though he's only an average runner, when that is combined with his hitting tools, he's seen as an elite offensive player for an up-the-middle player.
Defensively, he's come a long way, and while many thought he'd have to move off the position last summer, he's made enough strides this spring to consider him a possible above-average defender with a plus arm. One of the major drawbacks about him is his signability, and even though he's expected to sign without any reservations, his adviser is Scott Boras, and his bonus is expected to be well above slot, even in the first five picks, where he's expected to go.
School: Cal State Fullerton State: CA Year: Jr. Height: 6-1 Weight: 190
Bats: R Throws: R Birth Date: 5/14/89 Last Drafted: 2007 (SD-10)
Christian Colon is an excellent shortstop from Cal State Fullerton. Colon came to Fullerton from Canyon High School in Canyon Country, California, which is right outside of Santa Clarita. He was teammates with Grant Green during his junior year, playing second base during that time, and it was during that year that he really began to be noticed as a prospect. Once Green left, he established himself at shortstop, and after a solid summer that included being the MVP of the AFLAC All-American game, he was poised to be an early pick in the 2007 draft. However, he fell due to bonus demands and a lack of elite tools, and the Padres were unable to sign him as their tenth round pick. He headed to Fullerton, where he started immediately as their shortstop, putting up solid numbers from the beginning.
He came into his own as a top prospect in the 2010 draft class with perhaps the best summer of any college prospect, continually hitting the ball hard with Team USA and playing excellent defense. However, he broke his leg at the end of Team USA's season, and there were question marks about how he'd return this spring.
After a slow start, he's answered those question marks, and he should be a first round pick as either a solid shortstop or offensive second baseman. His tools are still not top-notch, but he has a plus hit tool, average power, average speed, an average arm, and plus defensive tools, making him an intriguing package. His advisor is Scott Boras, which could scare a couple of teams off, but he's still expected to be an early pick that is signable for the neighborhood of slot money.
School: Lakeland HS State: FL Height: 6'4'' Weight: 190
Bats: R Throws: R Birth Date: 9/3/90 Commitment: Miami
Yordy Cabrera is one of the best two-way prospects in the 2010 draft class, and he hails from Lakeland, Florida, spring training home of the Detroit Tigers, where his father is a hitting instructor for the team. Cabrera is a prep shortstop, but from the looks of things will have to change positions as a pro, mainly due to his big body and declining range. He's starting to fill out, and that should hamper his range even more in the future. However, the talent at the plate is immense.
He features easy raw power that rivals anyone in the 2010 class outside of Bryce Harper, and he looks to have an above-average hit tool, as well. The drawback for him is a reliance on hitting pitches out of the zone, much like fellow Dominican Miguel Tejada. However, Cabrera does still have the upside of a Tejada in his prime.
Cabrera's an above-average runner, and while he handles shortstop now, he looks like a third baseman or right fielder in the future. He has great hands, and he could play a plus third base, and he has the plus-arm for right field, too. Either way, he'll be an impact hitter.
On the mound, Cabrera also flashes big potential, using a 91-93 mph fastball and low-70s curve to fool experienced hitters. On the whole, though, scouts prefer him with the bat by a long shot, and he profiles as a middle of the order hitter. A rough spring on the mound confirmed the feeling he's better off hitting. He should be drafted somewhere from the back third of the first round into the early second round, and signability shouldn't be a problem in that range, as he's already almost 20, meaning he needs to get his career started.
School: Georgia Tech State: GA Year: Jr. Height: 6-1 Weight: 195
Bats: L Throws: R Birth Date: 7/18/89 Last Drafted: 2007 (HOU-3)
Derek Dietrich is a well-known shortstop from Georgia Tech. Dietrich came to Georgia Tech from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was an excellent overall prospect. Unlike many top college players in this class, he didn't go unnoticed in the draft out of high school, and didn't slide due to signability concerns. He actually went in the third round to the Astros that year, but they failed to sign him in what was a disastrous draft class that left 2010 draft prospects Brett Eibner, Chad Bettis, Chad Jones, and Brian Fletcher unsigned after the signing deadline. Dietrich has turned out to be the third-best of the unsigned picks so far, though he's put in his best season at Georgia Tech this spring.
Currently a shortstop, most scouts predict that he'll become a third baseman in short order due to limited range, and the worry then becomes how much power he really has. He is very strong through his wrists and forearms and has plus bat speed, but fails to use the whole field at times, instead relying on turning out pitches that are actually away from him. He does have the potential for an average hit tool, and his raw power is above-average. His speed is below-average, though, and that's not really a part of his game. He has a plus arm, which should be an asset at third, and he has the potential to start at the Major League level. He should go in the second or third round, where he will be signable.
School: Barbe HS State: LA Height: 6-3 Weight: 195
Bats: L Throws: R Birth Date: 4/21/91 Commitment: LSU
Garin Cecchini is a top-level prep infielder from Lake Charles, Louisiana, a good-sized town about 35 miles from the Texas border. Cecchini is one of the better players for makeup and talent in this entire draft class. At the plate, he's blessed with top of the line bat speed, which profiles for an above-average hit tool and plus power, and he could be a .290 hitter with 30 homers in his best years.
He's bogged down a little by fringe-average speed, something he's been working on, but he's never going to be an above-average runner, so his offense will be focused solely on line drives and fly balls. His left-handed swing is conducive to that approach, as he gets excellent natural loft on balls he hits. In the infield, while I still classify him as a shortstop, he's clearly a third baseman in the long run. Because he's not naturally fast, he lacks lateral range to play shortstop above the low minors, though he should be able to handle the position in college if he lands at LSU. He has solid hands and a plus arm, so he should handle third base just fine and his offense profiles well at third, too.
All of this is said with caution, as he's still recovering from an ACL tear in March, though he is said to be on track for a recovery that could make him available for workouts late in the summer. He could go in the supplemental first round to a team that believes in his bat, though he's more of a second or third round talent when accounting for the injury. He might scare teams away with his LSU commitment, as he's a great student, and it might cost $1.5-2 million to sign him, since he'll be draft-eligible again after his sophomore year.
Previous positions broken down by MLB Bonus Baby's Andy Seiler:
- Second Base, which is typically lackluster.