MLB Pipeline will air the 2023 Top 100 Prospects list on Thursday, January 26 at 7 pm ET in a one-hour show on MLB Network and Leading up to the Top 100 release, we examine baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.

Every year, the shortstop position is arguably the most loaded of the top 10 position lists. The 2023 edition is no different.

Spoiled a bit: All 10 shortstops here rank among MLB Pipeline’s Top 40 overall prospects. Where exactly is it? Well, you’ll have to come back Thursday to find out.

It’s also a young and diverse group of shortstops. Only three of the 10 (Anthony Volpe, Eli De La Cruz, Ezequiel Tovar) are expected to make it to the majors this season, and the oldest (Brooks Lee) was a first-round pick last year. Six ices are from the United States, three from the Dominican Republic and one from Venezuela. Five of the six All-Americans were drafted as high school players, partly explaining why the team is so young.

The Reds are the only organization with multiple top-10 shortstops in De La Cruz and Noelvy Marte, while another Cincinnati infielder, Edwin Arroyo, has not missed much. Likewise, Top 100 prospects Colson Montgomery (White Sox), Royce Lewis (Twins) and Macyen Wynn (Cardinals) are not far behind and have only fallen victim to Top 10 depth.

Top 10 (ETA)
1. Anthony Volpe, Yankees (2023)
2. Marcelo Mayer, Red Sox (2024)
3. Elly De La Cruz, Reds (2023)
4. Jordan Lawler, D-backs (2024)
5. Jackson Holiday, Orioles (2025)
6. Jackson Merrill, Padres (2024)
7. Marco Luciano, Giants (2024)
8. Ezekiel Tovar, Rockies (2023)
9. Noelvie Marte, Reds (2024)
10. Brooks Lee, Twins (2024)
Full list ยป

Top 10 prospects at position:
RHP | LHP | C | 1b | 2 b | 3B | SS
1/25: Oh
1/26: Top 100

Hit: Lee (65)
The switch hitter hit .351 over 115 career games at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and struck out just 28 times in 286 plate appearances last spring. Lee’s bat ability prompted the Twins to take him eighth overall, and his new club quickly failed to challenge him, giving him time at Double-A Wichita before the end of his first minor league season.

Power: Luciano (65)
The Giants’ prospect has bat speed that’s close to plus-plus raw power, and he raises the ball consistently enough (59 percent of balls on the ground in 2022 at High-A) to make the most of it. He’s just entering his 21st year, when he first steps into the upper minors when his power can really emerge.

Runs: De La Cruz (70)
Arguably the most electric player in the minors, De La Cruz has established himself as an absolute fireball in the outfield, and that may come as a shock to anyone who first looks at his 6-foot-5 frame. Last season, the Reds’ pitchers used those wheels to steal 47 at High-A and Double-A.

Arm: Meyer, De La Cruz, Merrill, Luciano, Tovar (60).
You don’t get a lot of wet noodles in the six because it’s difficult to make throws from there, so our top 10 tracks how the halves score for their arm plus. Meyer, Merrill and Tovar will likely stick around at short, but Luciano and De La Cruz could be used if the Cannons need to move to third or the outfield.

Field: Tovar (70).
The Dominican Republic native has been Major League ready with a glove for some time thanks to his great ball career, amazing instincts and ability to chase down balls left and right. He was our shortstop pick on the 2023 All-Defensive Team.

The highest ceiling: de la Cruz
In the year The 2022 Cincinnati star is two homers away from becoming the minors’ first 30-40 hitter since George Spring in 2013, and he has the tools to back up his numbers. He’s arguably the best power-hitting prospect in the minors, and his 30.8 percent K rate from last year gives us pause. If he gets that down a touchdown — or continues to make enough solid contact for his batting average to be respectable — he’s a superstar.

Top floor: Volpe
Early concerns about Volpe’s ability to hit at the top level eased when he was brought up at Double-A in June of last year, and despite some arm concerns, he’s been a steady defensive presence at shortstop. He’s not far from taking over the middle-infield spot in the Bronx, and barring any significant changes to his profile, he seems like a safe bet to hold that position for several years.

Nominee of the Year: Volpe
There are only three 2023 ETAs on this list in Volpe, De La Cruz and Tovar. Oswald Peraza — another stellar prospect on our top 100 overall list — could complicate matters with the Yankees for Volpe, but the latter still has a high ceiling thanks to his superior bat skills. If he joins the Bombers at the end of May, Volpe should have a ROY shot.

High rise: Merrill
The Maryland native was considered a solid prospect when he went 27th overall to San Diego in 2021. The internal and external reports on him are very positive right now, starting with praise for his approach to hitting in all fields. Wrist and head injuries kept the 19-year-old out of the regular season, but he was still one of the most talked-about prospects in the Arizona Fall League after a tough stint in the desert. A lot of helium is attached to its position number 6.

Humble Beginnings: De La Cruz
Cincinnati was not expected to sign any players for more than $300,000 in the 2018-2019 international market. So much for that. The club brought in De La Cruz for $65,000, and to his credit, the switch-hitter has become a potential franchise cornerstone.

To confirm the majority: Marte
Marte is relatively new to the Reds’ system, having joined Luis Castillo’s blockbuster last summer, and he arrives with promising power and more than a few questions. For starters, he might not be a very tall shortstop, and the Reds only had him third in the Arizona Fall League. Although he will get brief looks this spring, he will compete with De La Cruz, Edwin Arroyo and Matt McClain on the depth chart at the position. He will be 21 years old to prove that he is more than a powerful corner infield type.

Watch: Joey Ortiz, Orioles
As if the Orioles needed another promising youngster. Ortiz, a fourth-round pick in 2019, is a sliding shortstop with plenty of arm for the position. He faced questions coming into his bat last season but made the jump to Triple-A nicely with a .346/.400/.567 line and a serviceable 14.8 percent K rate in 26 games. His near-readiness would make it easier for Baltimore to take Gunnar Henderson at third base and give the O’s their long-term left fielder.

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