Fantasy Baseball Position Preview - The Shortstop Landscape
Adam Ronis gives you a run down of shortstops for fantasy baseball, and how you can go about filling the position on your fantasy team
It used to be shortstop was one of the most scarce position in fantasy baseball. How times have changed, as now shortstop is one of the deepest positions. Four shortstops went 20-20 last season.In 15-team leagues, five shortstops are going in the first round of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) leagues.
The Cream of the Crop
Francisco Lindor , Trevor Story , Trea Turner , Alex Bregman , and Fernando Tatis Jr. are all going in the first round. Alex Bregman has been dropping due to the Astros cheating scandal. Story and Lindor are my favorite of the group. While Story isn't as good on the road, it doesn't matter in roto formats. If that worries you in head-to-head it makes sense, however, both contribute in all categories.
There's talk Turner could hit third and that could increase his RBI opportunities, but potentially decrease his stolen base chances. I tend not to take Turner in the first round due to the lack of power and low RBIs. Tatis Jr. is the wild card. I think he can fall to the late second round in home leagues. Those in the NFBC with an overall prize at stake will need to be more aggressive. Tatis, who turned 21 in January, batted .317 last season in 84 games, but he had a .410 BABIP and struck out 29.6 percent of the time, yet had 22 home runs and 16 steals.
If you miss out on the top tier, no need to worry. There are plenty of good options after with Xander Bogaerts , Javier Báez , and Gleyber Torres . If you want to fill the stolen base category there's Jonathan Villar and Adalberto Mondesi . The issue for Mondesi is he's coming off labrum surgery on his shoulder, but he is expected to be ready for Opening Day. He has a poor approach at the plate and could have a low average and the power is a question mark. However, he had 43 steals in only 103 games, so there is big upside. Villar is expected to move to center field and goes to a worse hitters park in Miami, although they have moved the fences in.
The position is so deep Manny Machado gets lost. While he also qualifies at third base, people forget he's only 27. It's not a surprise he struggled in the first year of a big contract in San Diego. He still had 32 home runs, 85 RBIs, and five stolen bases. Expect him to be better. He has played at least 156 games in six consecutive seasons.
On the opposite side is the young Bo Bichette . While we only saw 196 at-bats last season in his rookie year, he had a slash line of .311/.358/.571 with 32 runs, 11 home runs, 21 RBIs and four stolen bases. That has drafters excited and he's going to cost a sixth or seventh round pick for a guy that could go 20-20.
How deep is the position? Marcus Semien , who finished third in the American League MVP voting last season, isn't even being drafted top ten. Semien had a career year, but did hit 27 home runs in 2016 and has double-digit steals in five consecutive seasons. This has been the cheapest Carlos Correa has ever been, but it makes sense. Correa has played 110 games or fewer in three of the last four seasons and has just six steals the last three years. I am passing on Correa even at the discount.
Tim Anderson led the majors in average, batting .335 last season and had 18 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 123 games and isn't going in the top ten at the position. Anderson is a career .276 hitter, and benefited from a .399 BABIP last season. While he's more of a .270-.280 hitter, he can go 20-20.
Amed Rosario has shown flashes and batted .319 after the All-Star break last season. He had 15 home runs and 19 stolen bases, but was caught stealing 10 times. The value of Rosario will depend on where he hits in the order. If Brando Nimmo is healthy, he will likely bat at the top of the order due to his high on-base percentage and Rosario likely hits at the bottom of the order.
Corey Seager has yet to live up to lofty expectations and is cheaper than ever. He hits in the middle of a potent Dodgers lineup, but has yet to surpass 26 home runs. In 134 games last season, Seager batted .272 with 82 runs, 19 home runs, and 87 RBIs. Jorge Polanco and Kevin Newman are good sources of average. Jean Segura is eligible at shortstop and will likely play second base, adding another position of eligibility. After six consecutive seasons of at least 20 stolen bases, he had just 10 last season.
Didi Gregorius moves from the Yankees to the Phillies, but is still in a good home run park for left-handers. He's a good source of power to use at the middle infield slot. Paul DeJong only batted .233 last season, but had 30 home runs, 78 RBIs, scored 97 runs and stole nine bases.