Fantasy Baseball: Shortstop Rankings – Points

Correa

I am not sure what to make of the shortstop rankings as we enter this season. On one hand there is a lot of top end talent but they all come with question marks and concerns. There are a lot of young guys around the top five as we enter the season who is things go right could make the position solid at the top end for years to come. In the bottom half of the top 10 there are a lot of solid older guys who can contribute at a low price. However, their value will be inflated by the general nervousness around the position when there is an inevitable early (round 5-7) run on the young shortstops.

Where I like this position is there is a lot of upside outside of the top 10 that can be got for virtually no cost. In shallower leagues a few of them make for interesting upside plays if you canpair them with a safe option at a discount price. In deeper leagues there is a shout for making sure you get one of Andrus and Aybar to ensure consistent production and then grabbing any upside guys who might be available later.

We are back to having a stand out option at this position but even he comes with concerns giving his relative youth. This is virtually a whole position of question marks with maybe five safe options in around the bottom of the top 10.

This year my hitter rankings and tiers will be based off my own projections, which I have produced this year and they are the only projections I will be using during my drafts (I also use ADP for the site I am drafting on to help make decisions).

Each position will not only be ranked, but will be split into tiers as if I was drafting tomorrow. If you haven’t used tiers before it is a very helpful way of looking at how talent pools at that position and whether it is worth drafting a player right at the spot you are considering him. My general rule of thumb is I don’t want to take the first guy from a tier if I can avoid it (Unless there is only one guy in said tier!).

C

1B

2B 3B SS OF SP

RP

 

The Untouchable

  1. Carlos Correa, HOU

Correa broke out in a big way last season and unfortunately that means that if you want to own him you are going to have to pay a big price. Correa has by far the most power at the position right now (25ish) and he should steal close to that many bases as well. As an added bonus he doesn’t strike out often and he should get plenty of runs and RBI. The risk of the sophomore slump is enough to concern me in re-draft from taking him in the first round so that means I won’t own Correa this year.

The Scarily Amazing

  1. Troy Tulowitski, TOR
  2. Jose Reyes, COL

This tier is all about two stunningly talented players who have had their careers derailed by injuries. Every year people gamble on Tulo in the hop this is the year he can stay healthy and it just never happens. However, he is worth the investment because when replacement value is filtered in he ranks top 2 at the position. He is a superb line-up and a hitter friendly home park so he should have the opportunity to have success. As for Reyes the hope is that hitter friendly Colorado can be enough to ward off any age related regression he may have this season. Reyes has got the threat of a domestic violence suspension and if we hear more about that then his ranking will adjust. However, until then he is the third best player at the position on a points per plate appearance basis and that is why he stands above the next group of players.

The Young Elite?

  1. Corey Seager, LAD
  2. Xander Bogaerts, BOS
  3. Francisco Lindor, CLE

This tier contains three really talented young players but there are risks which prevent them jumping Reyes or Tulo. Seager was decent when he got the opportunity and he should be the everyday SS for the Dodgers. However, the concern is much like with Correa that he may suffer a sophomore slump and have tough periods through the season. Bogaerts is a superb player who should benefit from having a better Boston team around him this year. Their young hitters, Bradley, Betts, Castillo and of course Bogaerts, are all a year older and have experience in the majors under their belt. This four should provide the core of their line-up, with Swihart, for many years to come and batting third in what should be a good line-up will allow Bogaerts to be a quality fantasy option despite limited speed and power. Lindor is a regression candidate given that he outperformed his minor league numbers by a fair amount in his first season in the majors. However, he is going to be given every chance by the Indians thanks to his defence and whilst he may not have the ceiling of the other two in this group he has a high floor thanks to playing time.

The Safety Blankets

  1. Jhonny Peralta, STL
  2. Alcides Escobar, KC
  3. Ian Desmond, FA

If you aren’t convinced by the slightly risky top six given their age and injury history, then this may be the tier for you. All three guys here and solid veteran players who should score consistent points. Peralta is perennially under rated because he never sets the world on fire, he just plods along consistently in a good Cardinals line-up and puts up points. Escobar should bat atop the Royals line-up and should score plenty of runs. He doesn’t have a lot of power but he has 25ish steals speed which are always helpful in a points format for a player who doesn’t strikeout much. Desmond is a little riskier if you are drafting today because he is still a free agent at this stage and he had a down year last season. Defensively he is a bit of a liability and we may be seeing that in the initial lack of urgency for teams to sign him. Of the three in this tier this is probably my least favourite safe option but he does have really interesting upside.

The Unexciting Starters

  1. Erick Aybar, ATL
  2. Elvis Andrus, TEX

This pair sort of forms a large tier with the group above but I separated them based on potential upside. The guys in the tier above have the potential to be top five options but Aybar and Andrus are a fair way from reaching those heights. What this pair offer is stability. They play regularly and should be an easy everyday leave in your line-up pick. Aybar has the edge because he will bat higher in his line-up but then again his line-up is nowhere near the same quality as the one Andrus will hit in. I hate recommending either of these because I love looking for upside but their consistent production combined with a likely low investment required makes it impossible not to. If you want upside pass on these guys and look at the next two tiers.

The Potentially Awesome

Jung Ho Kang had a good 2015. Can he overcome injury to make himself a must-own fantasy shortstop?

Jung Ho Kang had a good 2015. Can he overcome injury to make himself a must-own fantasy shortstop?

  1. Jung-Ho Kang, PIT
  2. Ketel Marte, SEA

This is the immense upside tier that comes with some risk for each guy. Kang would have probably snuck in these rankings in his own little tier above Aybar and Andrus if he was going to be ready for opening day. As it stands he is expected back in mid-April but will need time to get up to speed in extended spring training so we are looking at mid-May more realistically. Kang performed above expectations last season and will enter this season with an everyday role for the Pirates. There is some concern that he could have a sophomore slump but there is also the potential that he can show us why he was so loved in Korea.  The Mariners clearly think a lot of Marte as they have dispensed with all other shortstop options. That means he enters the season an everyday option with a lot of potential. However, he is currently slated to bat 9th in the Mariners line-up and there will be growing pains that come with a young player in his rookie season. Don’t be surprised to see both of these guys going above Aybar and Andrus and if they hit they will be worth every penny of the cost but there is an even chance they don’t and then you will see owners scrambling for consistency at a really inconsistent position.

The Middle Ground

  1. Brandon Crawford, SF
  2. Starlin Castro, NYY
  3. Jean Segura, MIL
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera, NYM
  5. Zack Cozart, CIN
  6. Marcus Semien, OAK
  7. Addison Russell, ChC
  8. Adeiny Hechavarria, MIA
Can Semien build on his promising 2015?

Can Semien build on his promising 2015?

This tier has an interesting mix of talent, without the upside of Marte and Kang, and some players who are safer but just won’t perform like the Andrus and Aybar. Crawford had an under rated season last year and he enters this year with 15ish homer potential and some low level speed. If he was assured to bat higher in the line-up, then he would be a potential top 10 option. Castro is a really talented player who should benefit from a fresh start in New York. The concern is that the Yankees line-up is ageing and he is batting low in it but he does have 15/15 potential if he can tap into the talent. Segura is not far removed from being a top five shortstop but the power that year was a mirage and what is left is a 25ish steals player with limited power in a line-up that performed badly last year. Cabrera could have gone higher on this list if it wasn’t for the fact that the Mets have a loaded middle infield. They have Neil Walker, Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada all vying for two positions. Cabrera is a potential 15/10 shortstop but batting low in the Mets order depresses his value along with the competition. Cozart is projected to bat atop the Cincy order which is a blessing and a curse. On the positive he gets to bat atop a line-up in a power friendly park but the line-up around him is frankly pretty scary. I loved Semien last year and I still have a lot of time for a potential 15/10 candidate but he strikes out a lot and his defensive errors concern me as to his playing time enough to keep him outside of my top 15. There is a lot of potential here but he has a history of being disappointing. Russell has a ton of potential but he is going to bat low in that line-up and he is still young and unreliable. He will go much higher than this so if you want him you need to be prepared to take him with the tiers above at least. Hechavarria is an everyday option which is good but he doesn’t have any real power or speed upside which make him a hard buy inside the top 20. However, he has just enough upside to keep him falling to the next tier.

The Boring Options

  1. Chris Owings, ARI
  2. Andrelton Simmons, LAA
  3. Didi Gregorius, NYY
  4. Jose Iglesias, DET
  5. Freddy Galvis, PHI

All five of these guys make my list based on the fact they will play every day and just be there. Owings is an everyday player for Arizona with some limited upside for both speed and power. However, he hasn’t lived up to potential so far and I don’t think this is the breakout year. Simmons is the best defensive player at the position by some distance but his hitting is less than average. Gregorius and Igelsias are both good defenders but will bat in the bottom third of their line-ups and they aren’t good enough to stand a chance of moving up. Galvis had some good spells last year but he isn’t anything special and there is a real chance he could lose his job come the roster expansion when Crawford is likely to get his chance.

The Upside Gamble

  1. Eugenio Suarez, CIN
  2. Danny Santana, MIN
  3. Brad Miller, TB
  4. J. Hardy, BAL

A group full of intriguing upside players who could all crash into oblivion. Suarez is the potential every day third baseman for the Reds but they have some interesting prospects who could push him out. He does have decent power upside if he plays all season. Santana was a monster just two years ago but crashed back to earth with a bump last season. If he gets the opportunity, he could be a top SS but right now he is slated to ride the pine. Miller is a utility option for the Rays who is a perennial fantasy disappointment. I have been bitten by the Bad Brad too many times to want him any higher than this in a pitcher friendly home park. Hardy is in a hitter friendly park and he has some power potential. However, he strikes out a lot and he has some injury concerns which stop him creeping any higher up the rankings.

 

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