Long gone are the days of Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter. Two of the three are retired while the third has been reduced to a full time DH. The late 1990s and early 2000s were a period of dominance at shortstop that have not been seen since. What 2015 has shown, perhaps more than anything else, is that another golden age for shortstops is upon us. With the call ups of Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, and Addison Russell among others, we may finally be seeing the rise of the shortstop that could mirror the peak years of Jeter, Garciaparra and Rodriguez.
Of the top five shortstops in WAR, three are rookies in Jung-ho Kang, Lindor, and Correa. If you look at the top ten, you can throw in Russell to the list as well. If you look at the top-25, Ketel Marte and Seager are also added to the list, albeit with less playing time than the names mentioned above. Beyond just rookies, Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Crawford, Adeiny Hechavarria, Didi Gregorious, and Wilmer Flores are all having career years at the shortstop position. While overall WAR at the shortstop position for the entire league is at the lowest it has been since the year 2000, there is much promise for the future of the position across the league.
Out of the top ten shortstops in terms of WAR in 2015, all ten are thirty years old or younger with seven of them being 26 years old or younger and three of them 22 and under. This all bodes well for the future of the shortstop league wide. For the first time in quite a few years there is a large amount of talent at the shortstop position all across the league with youth as the main connecting trait.
Young veterans like Brandon Crawford, Adeiny Hechavarria, Didi Gregorious, and Wilmer Flores have all taken big steps forward this season and seem to have nowhere to go but further up. Even more promising is the rise of several rookies in Jung-ho Kang, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Ketel Marte, and Corey Seager who seem ready to dominate the league for years to come. Finally Xander Bogaerts, while still around the same age as most of the rookie shortstops that have pushed their way into the league this season, is finally putting it together after struggles over his first two seasons with the Boston Red Sox.
Such an influx of talent at the shortstop position has not been seen since the days of Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Edgar Renteria, and Miguel Tejada among others. For the first time in quite a few years the future of the shortstop position looks to finally be bright once again. The likes of Correa, Lindor, Kang, Marte, Seager, Bogaerts, Crawford, and others will certainly come to dominate both the shortstop position, and the game as a whole, for years to come.