Shortstop is a position that is manned by Zack Cozart at the big league level for the Cincinnati Reds. Cozart is a very good defensive player, but his offense hasn’t been much to write home about so far in his career. He is under team control for four years moving forward though, so the Reds don’t need a replacement for him if they don’t want to try and upgrade.
Devin Lohman manned the position all season long for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He hit just .236/.304/.331 on the season, he shows solid plate discipline, a little bit of speed, a little bit of pop and he plays a good defensive shortstop. His bat is questionable for a starter, but he has the all around skills to have a chance to make it as a utility player who can play around the infield and provide some value off of the bench in some offensive situations.
Juan Perez played shortstop with the Bakersfield Blaze during the entire 2013 season. After a good 2012 season with Dayton his offensive output declined with Bakersfield as he hit .251/.299/.380 during 2013. He showed off good base running with 31 steals and 11 caught stealing. Perez is sure handed at the position, though he doesn’t have ideal range for shortstop.
Zach Vincej spent his entire season in Dayton where he played shortstop for the Dragons, hitting .263/.333/.378 with solid plate discipline. Defensively he is a good defender who is sure handed and can range all directions. He hit very well in June, with an OPS just over 1.000. In the other months of the season though he never topped an OPS over .605. His bat is questionable for the time being and he hit left handers much better than righties.
In rookie ball the Billings Mustangs shortstop for most of their season was Ronald Bueno. Bueno also spent a short period of time with the Arizona League Reds. Combined he hit .280/.335/.377 with good plate discipline. He didn’t hit a home run but had 9 doubles and 4 triples in 53 games. He is a high contact rate hitter who had a solid walk rate. Defensively he posted a .929 fielding percentage at the position and has plenty of arm for the position. In Arizona the shortstop for most of the season was Cory Thompson, the 5th rounder from 2013. Thompson hit .266/.341/.340 on the season, showing the Shin-Soo Choo wasn’t the only Red who had a strange attraction to being hit by a pitch, as he was hit 12 times in 212 plate appearances. His walk rate was a little low, but he had an above-average rate of contact. He struggled in the field, posting an .895 fielding percentage during the season. Before the draft there were some concerns about sticking at shortstop, though most believed he would also work fine at second base or center. He has a very strong arm and has good speed. The wild card could be Carlton Daal, who didn’t play much during the season after beginning his year on July 31st that left him with just 5 weeks left in the year. He split time between Arizona and Billings where ht hit just .200/.243/.214 in 75 plate appearances. A toolsy player who should stick at shortstop makes Daal a guy to keep an eye on moving forward.
The position didn’t see much production this year with the shortstop position as Ronald Bueno was the only player with an OPS over .700. Defensively, the group has several guys who can stick at the position defensively and a few guys who are still question marks. The group as a whole though has a bunch of question marks at the plate. There isn’t much star potential at the group, though a lot of the guys have enough potential to bring value at the MLB level in one way or another.
For more articles in this series, click here.