Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we discussed the best current rivalry in baseball. This week we’re going to debate the best shortstop.
Who is the best shortstop in baseball?
Matt Snyder: Man, this is a tough one and I think a good portion of it boils down to if we’re ready to give the mantle to Wander Franco yet. Given his inconsistencies and injury history to this point, his recent slump makes me want to move off of him. To be clear, he’s already great and he’s going to get better. I’m only saying it gives me pause in saying he’s the best shortstop in baseball right now. Instead, I’ll stick in that division and say it’s Bo Bichette’s time. It’s his third full season and he continues to get better just about everywhere (significantly lowering his strikeout rate, for example). He has the foundation right now to make the leap into a high MVP finish (top five or even top three?). I suspect some of the usual names (Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Corey Seager, Xander Bogaerts) can thrust themselves into the mix by the end of the season, but right now, for me, it’s Bichette.
R.J. Anderson: As is always the case with these kinds of questions, I think it just depends on how you define such a thing. If you’re thinking about this from a multi-year perspective, then I think Carlos Correa is probably the answer. (To wit, he leads all shortstops in Wins Above Replacement since 2021.) If you’re just looking at this season, then yeah, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say either Wander Franco or Bo Bichette.
Mike Axisa: You know, it’s entirely possible the answer is Fernando Tatis Jr., who is of course playing right field (and playing it well) in deference to Xander Bogaerts. If we’re picking the best shortstop for the next 10 years, then I’d take Wander Franco, no questions asked. If we’re picking for just 2023, then I’d go Corey Seager. He’s been excellent (around his hamstring injury), he’s in his prime, and the skills suggest he should be a high-end performer all year. Carlos Correa and Trea Turner have struggled enough that I lean Seager. Franco long-term, Seager short-term is my answer. Shoutout to Bogaerts and Bo Bichette.
Dayn Perry: In the here and now, I might narrowly lean Xander Bogaerts over Wander Franco and Bo Bichette thanks in part to the strides that Bogaerts has made with the glove. If we’re talking overall with reasonable near-term expectations moving forward, I’ll say Carlos Correa once he finds his level at the plate. He’s got some concerning quality-of-contact indicators, however (as does Trea Turner). So it’s Bogaerts for now with a nod to Bo Bichette, Corey Seager, and Wander Franco (who’ll soon take over this honor).