The outcome for the Best Shortstop Poll was predictable. J.P. Crawford garnered almost half the votes. Crawford got off to a slow start this season but he rebounded from his long, early slump and posted a full season slash of .243/.351/.405/.756 with 15 HR and 63 RBI in 556 plate appearances. He walked 79 times and struck out 97 times. His recovery was so good that he earned a September to the Phillies where he has played very well. The career shortstop has been playing almost exclusively at second and third the past month.
(Don’t forget to submit your top prospect list by e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To date, I have received about thirty. Please don’t be one of those guys who criticizes the outcome if you don’t participate.)
Once again, this is a poll where it is more interesting to observe who is deemed to be the next shortstop prospect behind Crawford.
|J.P. Crawford (Phillies, LHV)||132||49%|
|Arquimedes Gamboa (LAK)||43||16%|
|Jonathan Guzman (GCL)||23||9%|
|Jose Gomez (CLW)||15||5%|
|Malquin Canelo (REA)||12||4%|
|Dalton Guthrie (GCL)||12||4%|
|Pedro Florimon (LHV)||8||3%|
|Angelo Mora (LHV, REA)||7||3%|
|Jake Holmes (GCL)||4||1%|
|Emmanuel Marrero (CLW)||3||1%|
|Grenny Cumana (CLW)||3||1%|
|Jose Antequera (CLW, LAK)||3||1%|
|Nick Maton (WPT)||3||1%|
|Raul Rivas (LAK)||2||1%|
Arquimedes Gamboa missed about 6 weeks of the season when he went on the disabled list in mid-April. He returned and played in 79 games for the Lake wood BlueClaws. He slashed career highs – .261/.328/.378/.705 with 6 HR and 29 RBI in 350 plate appearances. Gamboa signed as a free agent on July 2, 2014 when he was 16 years old. He spent a year at the Venezuelan Academy and started his pro career in the GCL as a 17-year old in 2015. He has played exclusively at shortstop the last two seasons, and posted a .953 fielding percentage with 14 errors in 301 chances in 2017. Gamboa turned 20 this weekend.
Jonathan Guzman anchored the middle of the infield for the GCL Phillies for 32 starts (35 games). He signed as a free agent in August 17, 2015 as a 16-year old. He starred for the DSL Phillies in 2016, and moved stateside this season. He was good enough in extended spring training that he was brought up to the Threshers for a cameo when they needed a shortstop. He struck out 3 times in his one start in May. He began short-season ball in Williamsport until the 2017 draft picks were signed and assigned. When he finally returned to the GCL, he slashed .248/.299/.326/.631 1ith one HR and 13 RBI in 165 plate appearances. He played exclusively at shortstop and posted a .938 fielding percentage with 10 errors in 161 chances. He turned 18 in August.
Jose Gomez was acquired from the Colorado Rockies as part of the Pat Neshek trade. He was signed as a free agent on July 2, 2013 and is Rule 5 eligible this December. Gomez slashed .324/.374/.437/.811 for full season Asheville in the South Atlantic League. After a quick 3 for 6 with the GCL Phillies he joined the Threshers in Advanced A ball. In 22 games and 98 plate appearances he slashed .250/.289/.272/.560 as he made the adjustment to the higher level. The 20-year old posted a .968 fielding percentage with 3 errors in 94 chances at shortstop for Clearwater. He played 22 games at SS and 3B with Asheville.
Dalton Guthrie was the Phillies 6th round draft pick in 2017 out of the College World Series Champion University of Florida. He suffered an injury during the world series and spent most of his first professional season on the bench. When he was finally healthy, the Phillies played him in half-games until they felt he was 100%. He didn’t slash well, BUT he only played in 9 games. The 21-year old has that mysterious commodity that I find impressive. He just looks like he belongs. He looks like a leader. He has an extremely strong arm that he only shows when needed. It shocked the heck out of me when I finally saw it. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is a glove first shortstop. That just means that he will go as far as his bat will take him. If he hadn’t been hurt, I would not have been surprised to see him follow the Kingery/Martin route of 2015 and start in Lakewood. I hate being this up on a guy after just 9 games, but I see something in him. A couple of the Phillies people I talked to think highly of him too. Like, sure major leaguer high on him. Oh, and his father is former major league pitcher Mark Guthrie.
Jake Holmes was the Phillies 11th round draft pick in 2017 out of Pinnacle High School in Arizona. He slashed .252/.331/.355/.686 with 2 HR and 14 RBI in 122 plate appearances. He struck out 17 times and walked 11 times. Holmes is 6’4, 185 and looks out of place at shortstop when you get accustomed to the steady string of shorter, smaller LA middle infielders that the Phillies usually have in the GCL. But, he was remarkably smooth with a decent arm while recording a .968 fielding percentage with just 2 errors in 62 chances. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Phillies see him as a corner option as he grows into his power profile.