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Shortstop remains as overloaded as ever with minor-league talent, making 10 an unfair cutoff for these rankings. We do it for consistency purposes, but I'm not sure going even 20 deep would make for as complete a distribution as you'll find at first or second base.

It means excluding definitive dynasty talents like the Mariners' Noelvi Marte, the Blue Jays' Orelvis Martinez, the Mets' Ronny Mauricio and, a new personal favorite, the Orioles' Gunnar Henderson. It means leaving out 2020 first-rounder Ed Howard of the Cubs, as well as two shortstops who actually broke into the majors this year, the Reds' Jose Garcia and the Rangers' Anderson Tejeda.

It doesn't mean everyone who cracks this list will ultimately stick at shortstop, but they get the benefit of the doubt for as long as they're there. There was a time, after all, when Corey Seager seemed destined for third base.

So will more than 10 shortstops appear in my top 100 prospects a few weeks from now? Oh, most assuredly, which is why you should consider this abbreviated list to be little more than preliminary research.

Note: This list is intended for a variety of Fantasy formats and thus weighs short-term role against long-term value. Not all of these players will contribute in 2021 — most, in fact, will not — but among prospects, they're the names Fantasy Baseballers most need to know. 

1. Wander Franco, Rays

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A
2019 minors: .327 BA (425 AB), 9 HR, 27 2B, 18 SB, .885 OPS, 56 BB, 35 K  

The top prospect in baseball was pushing to reach the majors as a teenager and likely would have if not for the pandemic-shortened season. His is a true 80-grade hit tool, defined by uncommon bat control and line drives in all directions, and while he'll need to elevate more to meet his power potential, he's so far ahead of the curve right now that it seems like a foregone conclusion.

2. C.J. Abrams, Padres

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: Rookie ball, low Class A
2019 minors: .393 BA (150 AB), 3 HR, 15 SB, 1.083 OPS, 11 BB, 14 K

It's unclear at this stage of his development how much power Abrams will develop, but the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft left no doubt in his pro debut that he knows what he's doing with the bat. He stands out for his aptitude, in other words, and as easily as power comes about these days, I'll give an aptitude guy every benefit of the doubt, especially since steals might be his biggest contribution anyway.

3. Austin Martin, Blue Jays

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: not under contract

The No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft was probably the No. 2 talent, and like most Vanderbilt products, he figures to move quickly. He'll more likely wind up in center field or at third base, and the latter would make for an easy Anthony Rendon comparison given that Martin is also a hit-over-power guy whose on-base skills stand out most of all.

4. Marco Luciano, Giants

Age (on opening day): 19
Where he played in 2019: Rookie ball, short-season Class A
2019 minors: .302 BA (179 AB), 10 HR, 13 2B, .981 OPS, 32 BB, 45 K

Evaluators are bullish on Luciano even though he's only been tested at the lowest levels, with going as far as to peg him for a .300 average and 40 homers "on an annual basis." It's uncommonly pie-in-the-sky for a community defined by its down-to-earth takes, showing just how far ahead of his peers Luciano is and perhaps putting him in the discussion for top prospect in baseball someday.

5. Bobby WittRoyals

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2019: Rookie ball
2019 minors: .262 BA (164 AB), 1 HR, 9 SB, .670 OPS, 13 BB, 35 K

The margins between Nos. 2-5 on this list are razor thin, and the biggest reason Witt slips to the back for me is his underwhelming pro debut. But the No. 2 pick in 2019 is the best defender of the bunch, making him more likely to stick at shortstop, with a possible hitter outcome not too unlike Trevor Story. He's another face-of-the-franchise type in the making, in other words.

6. Royce Lewis, Twins

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A
2019 minors: .236 BA (517 AB), 12 HR, 22 SB, .661 OPS, 38 BB, 123 K

Though Lewis' first couple years of pro ball seemingly validated the Twins' decision to take him first overall in 2017, evaluators have split over his underwhelming 2019, with some giving him a pass for mechanical issue that he shored up in time to win MVP of the Arizona Fall League and others suggesting it's a deeper problem that brings down his hit tool. It's no longer so clear he's a shortstop long-term either.

7. Jordan Groshans, Blue Jays

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: low Class A
2019 minors: .337 BA (83 AB), 2 HR, 6 2B, .909 OPS, 13 BB, 21 K

Chances are Vladimir Guerrero's move to first base was at least in part to free up third base for Groshans, whose offensive game has elicited comparisons to David Wright. A foot injury early in 2019 has given us little data to go on, but scouting reports suggest he already has a good concept of the strike zone and is particularly adept at driving the ball the other way.

8. Nick Gonzales, Pirates

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: not under contract

Gonzales' hit tool is what stands out most of all, with his 5-foot-10 frame raising doubts about his power potential, but the seventh pick in this year's draft should have an easy path to the big leagues. He also profiles better defensively at second base, which has earned him comparisons to Dustin Pedroia and Keston Hiura, but let's see him get some at-bats first.

9. Jeter Downs, Red Sox

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A
2019 minors: .276 (460 AB), 24 HR, 35 2B, 24 SB, .888 OPS, 60 BB, 107 K

The Red Sox had to "settle" for Downs in the Mookie Betts deal after Brusdar Graterol's medicals were lacking, but they came out ahead there given the strides Downs made in his one year with the Dodgers. He's not as fast as his steals total would suggest, but he knows how to work the count and has learned to drive the ball the other way, positioning him for a job (more likely at second base) at some point in 2021.

10. Oneil CruzPirates

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: Rookie, high Class A, Double-A
2019 minors: .298 (265 AB), 8 HR, 11 SB, .832 OPS, 24 BB, 74 K

A one-of-a-kind prospect who somehow hasn't outgrown shortstop yet despite standing 6-feet-7, Cruz is an equally sizable what-if on the offensive side, with some publications giving him a 70 grade for power. That's a Pete Alonso-level, 40-homer-per-year-type projection, which would of course play at any position, and while at some point the results need to back it up, the hypothetical remains too alluring to pass up.