The shortstop position in 2023 fantasy baseball is like the huge arcade you remember visiting when you were a kid. That place had everything you could think of. In the mood for some NBA Jam, Street Fighter, Ms. Pac-Man, or Double Dragon? They’ve got it all. Interested in power/speed combos, home run hitters, or high-average and high-runs shortstops for fantasy baseball? Can I interest you in Bobby Witt Jr., Willy Adames, or Tim Anderson? Whatever you want and whenever you want it, the shortstop position has it this season. But at the end of your fantasy baseball draft, if you’re interested in wandering outside the arcade and playing the lottery instead, there are a number of intriguing MLB rookie shortstop prospects who might earn you some arcade money before the 2023 fantasy baseball season is over. The below fantasy baseball average draft position (ADP) numbers are taken from all NFBC drafts since January 1st. Don't forget to check out Fantasy Alarm's FREE Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide to fully prepare for those upcoming fantasy baseball drafts. 


2023 MLB Fantasy Baseball Rookie Shortstops ADP

Ezequiel Tovar, Colorado Rockies 

SS 24, ADP 238.3

The 21-year-old Tovar has been penciled in as the Rockies starting shortstop for a few months now, and we are getting closer and closer to his name going on that lineup card in ink. After absolutely destroying Double-A and Triple-A, the Rockies apparently believe that Tovar has nothing left to prove (despite only 35 AAA plate appearances). 

The best part of Tovar’s offensive game is his ability to make contact with the baseball. All major projection systems put Tovar under a 20% strikeout rate over more than 475 plate appearances this year. That’s an astoundingly low number for a player so young but backs up his 60-grade hit tool he has displayed for three years in the minors. 

Popular projection system The BAT spits out a .267/.309/.415 slash line for 2022, which is very similar to the numbers that it’s giving Jeremy Peña, for example. Pena will likely have 150+ more plate appearances (Tovar is projected to hit ninth) and Pena has much more power, but the sentiment is there. No one expects Tovar to come in and just totally fall on his face this season and the Rockies (who are going nowhere), have every incentive to play him all the time to see what exactly they have. 

Tovar is a fantastic MI option for daily or streaming leagues late in drafts where you can deploy him on days he plays at home.

Oswald Peraza, New York Yankees 

SS 27, ADP 313

Oswald Peraza will start the year as the Yankees’ everyday shortstop for a few reasons. First, he already has major league experience with 18 games and 57 plate appearances last season. Second, he is already on the 40-man roster, which is something the player further down this list can not claim. And third, The Yankees will likely play the service-time game to try and gain as many years of Anthony Volpe as they can. 

Peraza really impressed the Yankees (and the tough Yankees’ fans) by slashing .306/.404/.429 in his short stint last year. He showed a little bit of power, a little bit of speed, and a robust 10% walk rate which is exactly what this team needs. 

His primary competition for the position is utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but Peraza is the far superior defender, and they are not so far apart offensively that Peraza can’t already be better than Kiner-Falefa even at 22 years old. The real question, of course, comes when or if Volpe starts tearing up Triple-A and forces the Yankees’ hand. But there is an advantage to being handed the job out of Spring Training. Peraza now has to do something to lose the job rather than impress enough to overtake someone. That should earn him a decent leash and enough plate appearances to make him worth a dart throw in deep drafts. 

Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees 

SS 31, ADP 409.1

Volpe – a first-round pick in 2019 – is the superior prospect to Peraza but has two things working against him that will likely keep him in the minors to start the 2023 season. His glove and range at shortstop are not where Peraza is yet. He can improve there, of course, but at some point, the Yankees will be sacrificing a bit of defense for a lot of offense. 

The second thing holding Volpe back (besides service time) was his poor showing at Triple-A in his 22 games there last season. He hit .236 with a .313 OBP, but most alarmingly, he struck out 30% of the time. That simply has to improve before he reached the majors or pitchers are just going to wipe the floor with him. He was around 16%-17% in both Single-A and Double-A, so likely Volpe has the eye and contact rate to fix those issues. 

He hit an intriguing three home runs and stole six bases in his short time in AAA, showcasing the power/speed combo. He added bulk during the pandemic when he couldn’t play and really turned his swing into more of a power stroke. 

Where will he play when he finally gets the call? Shortstop is seemingly blocked by Peraza and IKF. Third base is locked down by Josh Donaldson and DJ LeMahieu. Designated Hitter is out of the question and he has never played in the outfield. An injury could certainly open things up, but if it doesn’t, Volpe could end up being the team’s primary second baseman depending on the offensive performance and health of Gleyber Torres

But rest assured, the Yankees will find a spot for him if his bat demands it. He is long gone in dynasty leagues, of course, but in very deep best ball or draft-and-hold leagues, Volpe is a nice target. 

Elly De La Cruz, Cincinnati Reds

SS 35, ADP 481.3

If you really want a long-shot lottery ticket, super prospect De La Cruz might be the man for you. But buyer beware, there is a legitimate shot he does not see a major league field in 2023. 

De La Cruz, barely 21 years old, absolutely destroyed High-A and Double-A leagues last season, hitting a combined 28 home runs with 47 steals across the two levels. He was over .300/.350/.550 at both stops and spent time at both shortstop and third base. 

The problem, of course, is that De La Cruz has topped out at Double-A and the Reds are notoriously closed-lipped in terms of when prospects will get the call or how long they delay to get their top guys up. Will the Reds be competitive this year, thereby forcing a call up of someone so talented? It's unlikely. 

But unlike other teams like the Yankees or Pirates, there are no other young shortstops in the way of De La Cruz. Kevin Newman is the nominal starter for the Reds, but there is no long-term attraction there, so hopefully after a strong Triple-A showing, De La Cruz can get a cup of coffee and contribute in 2023. 


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