A new crop of talent rises into the bright lights of Major League Baseball stardom. Each year, inevitably one or two players burst onto the scene, only to fizzle out and sink back into the pools of mediocrity after their first year. Yet, this young group of shortstops that is taking the league by storm looks familiar in a way, but potentially only to those who were avid baseball fans during the late 1990’s.
In 1996, two young shortstops played their first full major league seasons while another future-star followed in their footsteps one year later. Both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez made a name for themselves immediately during the 1996 season, only to learn they had to share some space with Nomar Garciaparra starting in 1997. A few years down the road, these three were part of their times “Golden Age of Shortstops”, which seems to occur every fifteen years or so. Throughout all of their storied careers, these three combined for: 2 Rookie of the Year awards, 34 All-Star Game appearances, 3 MVP awards, 7 Gold Gloves, 16 Silver Slugger awards, 3 Batting Titles, and 5 World Series championships. Hopefully you can see where I am going with this, as this new age of young shortstops attempt to write their names alongside the best to play at that position. Only time will tell if we are entering into another “Golden Age of Shortstops”, but if the last few years are any indication, then we might witness rare talent for years to come.
Leading the charge on the “New Golden Age of Shortstops” is none other than Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2016 Seager played his first full season at the age of 23, racking up monstrous statistics for a rookie shortstop. He ended last year with a .308 BA while still hitting 26 home runs accompanied by 72 RBI’s. Not only that, but he had a 6.0 WAR to go along with his All-Star Game selection, Silver Slugger Award, and Rookie of the Year Award. Oh, and I forgot to mention that he finished third in MVP voting for the National League. Seager is off to another solid start this season, hitting .291 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI’s after playing in 28 games. He is the leader of the “New Golden Age of Shortstops” at the moment, but there are others nipping at his heels for that title.
Next in line is none other than Francisco Lindor, the bright-smiled, 23 year-old shortstop from the Cleveland Indians. Lindor shined for the Indians during their postseason run last year, and catapulted him into the number two spot on this list. Last year was Lindor’s first full season in the major leagues, after playing 99 games in 2015 and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting. In his first full year, Lindor hit .301 with 15 home runs, 78 RBI’s, and 19 stolen bases. Along with those numbers, he finished with a 5.8 WAR, an All-Star Game selection, a Gold Glove, and ninth in the MVP voting. This year is no different for Lindor, as he is showing off some more power early on in this young campaign. He is hitting .302 with 7 home runs and 17 RBI’s so far, with no signs of slowing down.