The National League East already features two of the league’s best young shortstops. That number will soon double with another pair on its way to the big leagues.
Something great is about to happen with four of the five National League East teams. Within possibly the next two seasons, there will be four really great young shortstops playing in one division.
We have already seen Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals excel. We also had a chance to see the Atlanta Braves’ Dansby Swanson play well for a few weeks in 2016. They are just the first pair of really talented shortstops to take over the division.
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Not many hitters had a more productive second half than Turner did in 2016. Of course, he only saw very limited action before the All-Star break. Basically, his entire rookie campaign took place in the latter part of the season.
Regardless of semantics, from the moment Turner joined the Nationals he took over as one of the best hitters in the league. He ultimately finished the year hitting .342/.370/.567 with 33 stolen bases over 73 games. This was enough to help him finish second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind another great shortstop, Corey Seager. Unfortunately, as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers out west, Seager is not included in this amazing group of NL East shortstops.
Meanwhile, Swanson began to make a name for himself down in Atlanta with the Braves. He fell one at-bat shy of losing his Rookie of the Year eligibility. This helps make him a favorite to win the award in 2017. He hit very well in his first 38 big league games, with a .302/.361/.442 slash line to show for it. The first overall pick in 2015 will have a bigger role for the Braves this year. He is, without a doubt, one of the players they plan to build around.
Turner and Swanson are not alone. The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies also have phenomenal shortstop prospects a year or two away from big league action.
Representing the Mets is Amed Rosario. According to MLB.com, Rosario is the league’s fifth-best prospect. On this list, he is right behind Swanson at number four. Behind Rosario at number six is the Phillies’ shortstop of the future, J.P. Crawford.
Both Rosario and Crawford are headed toward the big leagues. There’s a strong possibility each makes it there in 2017. Crawford is slightly ahead of Rosario with some Triple-A experience already under his belt. Considering the structure of each team’s roster and the need for a shortstop, the Mets may hold off on Rosario a little longer than the Phillies will with Crawford.
Together, the foursome of Turner, Swanson, Rosario and Crawford makes for an impressive shortstop group in the NL East. Unfortunately, the Miami Marlins ruin the perfect game with Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop. They lack promising minor talent just about everywhere, including the one place the rest of the division is about to dominate in: the shortstop position.
Hopefully, the end result of so many great shortstops in one division is more competition. The worst thing that can happen is a shirtless picture of them all together. We already saw that before back in the 1990s with shortstop of the future. We don’t need to see it again.