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Up this week are my just-for-fun 2022 player rankings. I’ve done my best to list players where they’ll be eligible next year, and the free agents-to-be are listed without teams. Players with options for next year are still listed with their current teams if those options have a legitimate chance of being exercised. Those players are noted with asterisks.
Click to see other other preliminary 2022 rankings:
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|1||Fernando Tatis Jr.||Padres||1||1|
|3||Bo Bichette||Blue Jays||6||4|
|6||Xander Bogaerts||Red Sox||8||5|
|10||Tim Anderson||White Sox||11||10|
|22||Bobby Witt Jr.||Royals||NR||NR|
|41||Austin Martin||Blue Jays||NR||NR|
|43||Jeter Downs||Red Sox||46||54|
- This is the shortstop class everyone in need has been waiting for; it has lost Francisco Lindor, but it still has four excellent talents in their primes in Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Javier Baez. There’s also the resurgent Brandon Crawford, who is having the best season of his career at age 34, and Marcus Semien, who is listed with the second basemen here.
- Bobby Witt Jr. comes in 22nd. That might not sound like much, but this is an awfully deep list; I have him 121st among position players overall. There’s a decent chance Witt will open next year in the majors, and with his stolen base ability, he should be useful right away in fantasy leagues even if he doesn’t bust out immediately. He’s hitting .295/.375/.553 with 13 homers and 14 steals in 251 plate appearances in Double-A.
- Of the rest of the shortstop prospects, Oakland’s Nick Allen might have the best chance of beginning next year in the majors. He’s hit .316/.372/.472 while sharing time between second base and shortstop in Double-A. The Pirates still haven’t tried Oneil Cruz anywhere other than shortstop. They don’t have anything much in front of him there, but most still think he’s going to wind up in the outfield. 2020 first-rounder Austin Martin is splitting time between shortstop and center field. Bo Bichette and George Springer aren’t going to step aside, but his bat could force the Jays to make room for him next summer. Jeter Downs was viewed as Boston’s second baseman of the future when he was acquired in the Mookie Betts trade, but he’s still mostly playing shortstop now. He’s been a disappointment in hitting .234/.309/.377 for Triple-A Worcester.