This article is part of our The Z Files series.
Apologies for the late posting, I was busy with a couple other projects this week. Before digging into what is the plushest shortstop inventory ever, there have been several important changes to the lists already discussed. As such, before moving onto outfielders, next week's episode will feature the updated lists with detailed explanations for the adjustments.
As mentioned, shortstop is loaded. It's easily the strongest of the infield positions this season, and it's the best it's ever been. The scary thing is, the depth and strength at the position should only get better. The position is flush with emerging talent while being devoid of aging veterans on the downswing.
By means of reminder, enough players will be listed such that pithy blurbs for 20 players not yet reviewed will be provided. Six made the cut elsewhere, so here's my top 26.
26. Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs
Hoerner's late-season callup was more out of necessity than design, with Javier Baez banged up down the stretch and the organization lacking other viable options. Hoerner took advantage, slashing .282/.305/.436 in 20 games. He didn't attempt any steals but could swipe low double digits if afforded regular playing time. Speaking of which, the Cubs have several in-house candidates for their vacancy at second base, plus the free agent inventory is replete at the keystone. Even so, Hoerner's strong audition should earn him a good look. The early guess here is he becomes the primary second baseman.
25. Jon Berti, Miami Marlins