Ruben Tejada- New York Mets
I guess this is the price to pay when you play in the same city as future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. You toil in relative anonymity. I’m not sure that is going to last too long for the other New York shortstop, Ruben Tejada. The 22 year old Tejada shows a good ability to make contact with the bat, and has ability to hit for average. He also was an above average defender for the Mets last year as well. If you are looking for power, he probably isn’t the guy, and as of right now his OBP is largely batting average driven. But he could learn, and if gets on base at a .350 clip, Tejada could be a top of the order fixture for a long time as a shortstop.
Tyler Pastornicky- Atlanta Braves
With Andrelton Simmons looking to be the Braves answer for the future, Tyler Pastornicky might be one of the most available of all the young shortstops out there. Pastornicky struggled in his first big league trial, opening the door for Simmons, but he is still young at 22 years old, and does have some ability with the bat. He isn’t the greatest defender, but he is a good athlete and should stick at the position.
Junior Lake- Chicago Cubs
Lake, a 22 year old SS in the Cubs system is obviously blocked in a sense by the blossoming Starlin Castro at SS. If the Cubs hold onto Castro, Lake could potentially be a trade piece for a team like the Tigers. Lake is a bigger SS at 6’2″, and has some power in that stick to go with it. He is also a pretty good athlete as well, stealing 21 bases in 2012, though he was caught 12 times.
Jonathan Villar- Houston Astros
The Astros obtained Villar in one of their many trades in the past couple of years from the Philadelphia Phillies. I don’t think the Astros are willing to part with Villar at this point, as the 21 year old held his own nicely in AA this past season, but maybe the Astros could be swayed in a year or so. Villar has above average speed, a good glove, and there is some potential for pop with the bat as well.
Everth Cabrera- San Diego Padres
Cabrera isn’t much if anything with the bat. There is absolutely no power there, and if he hits .240 it should be considered a plus. Defensively he is good, mostly because he is quick and has good range. He also stole 44 bases last season. Cabrera is going to turn 26 in a week, so he isn’t as youthful as some of the other guys, but if the Tigers wanted a guy who could defend and wreak a little havoc on the bases, Cabrera could fit the bill.
Dee Gordon- Los Angeles Dodgers
Dee Gordon is one of those shortstops that is exciting and frustrating all at the same time. Gordon has tremendous speed, shows some ability to hit for average on occasion, and can make some outstanding plays look easy at shortstop. That’s what tremendous athletes do. Gordon also has a tendency to go in slumps, and make too many mental errors, as well as physical ones. Still, he is a guy that has age on his side at 24, and is such a good athlete, a breakout is never out of the question.
Josh Rutledge- Colorado Rockies
Rutledge is a bat first guy all the way, and not because he hit well in his stint with Colorado last season either. He has hit pretty much everywhere. Defensively, the reality is that he fits better at 2nd base, but he is a pretty good athlete and if needed could play shortstop. He may not be as exciting as some of the other guys on the list, but he does have some pop in his bat if the Tigers are willing to concede a little glove for a little bat.
*These aren’t the only good shortstops in the majors that are young, or in the minors. Just some guys that I felt their teams could or would conceivably part with in the next year or two. The level of talent varies on these guys, but with each guy you could make the case that they are realistic options.
If any jump out at you, let me know. Maybe we can discuss them further.