Shortstop is the most popular position on the diamond. From the days on the playground, kids wanted to play shortstop before any other position. Coaches put their best athletes either on the mound or at shortstop. Sometimes, players alternated between the two positions. So, it would make perfect sense for shortstop to be a popular fantasy position as well. While the position is deep, it may not have quite the top end talent as some of the other positions on the diamond.
That being said, there are bound to be a few fantasy first rounders amongst this year’s crop of fantasy shortstops. Just like with third basemen, we are looking at total points and traditional formats. The traditional projection is based on production over the past three seasons prorated to an estimate of 400, 500, or 600 plate appearances. Health history and roster construction as of this publication. Rankings are based on a composite between those two formats as we have created our own version of total points. We will include the rankings for each category (including total points per game) for full disclosure.
Total Points= TB + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GDP
Francisco Lindor—Cleveland Indians
Points: 1444 (1st)
PPG: 3.04 (1st)
Projection: .283/24 HR/91 Runs/72 RBI/16 SB/50 BB (1st)
Obviously, Machado will be signing a monster contract shortly after the calendar turns over. People will be tempted to elevate him (and Bryce Harper) based on the pay. Lindor is better whether you consider Machado a third baseman or shortstop (or both). When you throw in the fielding he might be even better.
Manny Machado—Free Agent
Points: 1333 (2nd)
PPG: 2.82 (2nd)
Projection: .283/31 HR/77 Runs/85 RBI/7 SB/48 BB (6th)
I can see a case to be made for Machado once we find out where he’s going. Either way, it should be better for him than his original home in Baltimore. If it’s in New York you can certainly see a case for making him the top shortstop or third baseman on the board, but past numbers mean more than future projections.
Xander Bogaerts—Boston Red Sox
Points: 1154 (3rd)
PPG: 2.62 (5th)
Projection: .284/17 HR/87 Runs/79 RBI/11 SB/52 BB (3rd)
Bogaerts is in the exact opposite situation. He is a top five shortstop as long as he stays in Boston. There were rumors that the Red Sox were trying to unload him to clear salary space. That may be a bit far-fetched, but the offseason is long and rankings can change when circumstances change.
Trea Turner—Washington Nationals
Points: 975 (6rh)
PPG: 2.71 (3rd)
Projection: .289/17 HR/91 Runs/61 RBI/48 SB/45 BB (4th)
It might also be popular to knock down guys like Turner when they lose Harper to a more profitable team. It’s not like the Nationals are going to replace Harper with no one. He may not score as many runs, but he will still get on base and steal second. He’ll also hit the occasional home run as well.
Jean Segura—Philadelphia Phillies
Points: 1113 (4th)
PPG: 2.64 (4th)
Projection: .308/13 HR/87 Runs/55 RBI/24 SB/33 BB (10th)
It’s at this point where we should talk about the difference between total points and conventional fantasy categories. Total points rewards patience and contact. So, we often see some separation when you have high contact on the positive end and high strikeout guys on the negative end. Segura’s production has been pretty stable over time, so suppress the urge to give him a huge boost in Philadelphia.
Trevor Story—Colorado Rockies
Points: 921 (10th)
PPG: 2.31 (10th)
Projection: .268/32 HR/82 Runs/97 RBI/15 SB/48 BB (2nd)
Segura and Story are mirror images. Story is heavy on the strikeouts. That matters little in traditional formats, but in total points is pretty significant. After a few seasons, he is definitely for real, but this placement seems like a good compromise for him. They will be better with Daniel Murphy in tow, but not that much better.
Corey Seager—Los Angeles Dodgers
Points: 904 (11th)
PPG: 2.55 (7th)
Projection: .302/21 HR/86 Runs/70 RBI/4 SB/57 BB (5th)
Remember this guy? A huge part of fantasy baseball (or any other fantasy sport) is realizing the difference between the top guys and the next tier. If Seager is healthy he is almost as productive as Machado. No, I wouldn’t take Seager right after him, but you could take him later and get almost the same production.
Elvis Andrus—Texas Rangers
Points: 963 (8th)
PPG: 2.40 (9th)
Projection: .288/12 HR/81 Runs/68 RBI/19 SB/40 BB (8th)
Paul Bear Bryant once famously said that “potential means they ain’t done nothing yet.” Give the old ball coach some extra points for eloquence, but he was right. There are guys on the board with more potential than Andrus. I’ll take the production and walk away. Others might feel differently.
Carlos Correa—Houston Astros
Points: 943 (9th)
PPG: 2.53 (8th)
Projection: .276/18 HR/68 Runs/76 RBI/6 SB/56 BB (9th)
I played in a league where Correa was taken first overall. Granted, it was amongst a group of Astros fans, but let that sink in for a minute. The projection above was over 500 plate appearances, so that might seem overly conservative. Yet, he has missed time in each season due to injury. So, we might as well account for it now.
Didi Gregorius—New York Yankees
Points: 1103 (5th)
PPG: 2.61 (6th)
Projection: .277/17 HR/53 Runs/56 RBI/5 SB/21 BB (21st)
Okay, this is awkward. The projections were made over 400 plate appearances. That’s closer to the reality. Obviously, Gregorius should not be the 10thshortstop picked. However, he would make a great stash candidate if your league has an IR spot. If your league has more than one than he is definitely worth a late round pick.
Andrelton Simmons—Los Angeles Angels
Points: 972 (7th)
PPG: 2.27 (11th)
Projection: .284/10 HR/67 Runs/65 RBI/14 SB/38 BB (16th)
If only they counting fielding runs. Simmons is easily one of the top five shortstops in baseball when all things are considered. He is essentially this generation’s Ozzie Smith. If you want to punt shortstop then you could do a heck of a lot worse than Simmons. In fact, he and Gregorius would make nice companion picks.
Marcus Semien—Oakland Athletics
Points: 825 (13th)
PPG: 2.05 (15th)
Projection: .247/18 HR/75 Runs/65 RBI/13 SB/53 BB
Semien is one of those guys that always looks better to the numbers crunchers than to average fans. If he played a little more consistently then he might be a guy you could count on to put up better than average numbers under the radar. He did it last year, so maybe you can bet on two seasons in a row.
Javier Baez—Chicago Cubs
Points: 782 (15th)
PPG: 1.75 (20th)
Projection: .280/27 HR/85 Runs/92 RBI/16 SB/28 BB (7th)
Here is one of those spots where the final ranking doesn’t make sense. He was arguably the second best player in the National League last year. If you are in a five category league he is a top five shortstop. Six categories a little worse and then total points he completely falls off the table.
Brandon Crawford—San Francisco Giants
Points: 832 (12th)
PPG: 1.85 (19th)
Projection: .261/13 HR/63 Runs/72 RBI/5 SB/50 BB (15th)
Crawford has always been steady, but he is unspectacular at a position run over with talented players. In a way, the is the perfect embodiment of the Giants roster these days. They are all good enough if you have stars at other positions, but with the exception of Buster Posey they really don’t.
Paul Dejong—St. Louis Cardinals
Points: 480 (22nd)
PPG: 2.15 (13th)
Projection: .263/28 HR/79 Runs/86 RBI/1 SB/37 BB (12th)
When you get to the Dejongs of the world you end up betting a lot on spec. From there you have to wonder if he will be better than Lourdes Gurriel, J.P. Crawford or any of the other young shortstops on the horizon. In terms of power he likely is the best of the bunch, but there is more to life than just power.
Marwin Gonzalez—Free Agent
Points: 809 (14th)
PPG: 1.93 (17th)
Projection: .268/16 HR/58 Runs/66 RBI/7 SB/39 BB (17th)
Where will he go? What position will he play? Will he be a regular or a super sub as he has been? His projection was based over 500 plate appearances, but he might end up being a regular depending on where he ends up. He is eligible at four different spots, so that might move him up some boards.
Aledyms Diaz—Houston Astros
Points: 703 (17th)
PPG: 2.20 (12th)
Projection: .275/14 HR/52 Runs/46 Runs/4 SB/25 BB (23rd)
Does he get more than 400 plate appearances? Apparently, they are telling him to bring his infield glove, first basemen glove, and outfielder’s glove. That makes him the cheaper version of Marwin Gonzalez in every sense of the word.
Jorge Polanco—Minnesota Twins
Points: 613 (20th)
PPG: 2.13 (14th)
Projection: .272/10 HR/54 Runs/63 RBI/11 SB/37 BB (22nd)
He checks every box, so if you are looking for a nice insurance policy then you can make him one of the last picks in the draft. His career record appears spotty because of the suspension, but if we assume that problem has gone away then it’s smooth sailing from here on out.