To help prepare for the upcoming MLB season, I’ll be providing analysis of each fantasy baseball position. To stay consistent I’ll be referencing the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking from FantasyPros. I’ve found from experience that the consensus rankings give a better overall picture of positional rankings. This particular ranking provides the aggregate ADP (Average Draft Position) from Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, CBS, NFBC and RT Sports.
In this edition we’ll be looking at the Top Shortstops, the Best Value, Sleeper Pick and Potential Bust. Position rank, ADP and projected stats are based off FantasyPros Shortstop consensus rankings.
Top Three Shortstops:
1. Carlos Correa, Astros (1st Shortstop, 7.8 ADP)
Analysis: Looks like the Astros own the best Fantasy middle infield in all of baseball. As published this past Friday, Altuve is GTD’s pick for Top Second Baseman in the Fantasy Baseball Second Base Preview and this former #1 overall pick is 2016’s Top Shortstop. Correa is still just 21 years old, with prototypical size (6’4, 215) and put up monster stats in his 2015 Rookie of the Year campaign in just 99 games played. He’s a threat to put up 20/20 numbers and should be one of the top Shortstops in baseball for the foreseeable future with his mix of power and speed. As Jayson Stark recently published, “Carlos Correa showing he’s truly a special player”. With SS being shallow depth wise Correa is an important pick and should go within the top 7 overall picks. GTD Suggested Round: 1st Round, Top 7 Pick
ICYMI: The list of full-time No. 3 hitters at age 21: Griffey, Kaline, DiMaggio…And now it's Carlos Correa's turn https://t.co/4vmHXAKthY
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 9, 2016
- Manny Machado, Orioles (2nd Shortstop, 9.6 ADP)
Analysis: Speaking of monster 2015 seasons, Manny Machado had a great bounce-back season following his 2014 season ending knee injury. Having SS eligibility this year is huge for owners with the production by the Orioles starting 3B. In todays game it’s pretty rare to have a Shortstop that finished top 10 in the AL in four key categories: HR (35), Runs (102), SB (20), OPS (.861.). Machado and Correa are going close (9.6 vs. 7.8) in ADP and an argument can be made for Machado as the top SS eligible player if he repeats his 2015 campaign. He has a nice spot in the Orioles lineup batting 2nd with Chris Davis and Adam Jones following him. Another key for Machado was his durability as he played in all 162 games last season and as recent AP article states, Machado has expressed his desire to play in all 162 games again in 2016. GTD Suggested Round: 1st Round, Top 8 Pick
- Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays (3rd Shortstop, 48.4 ADP)
Analysis: Picking the 3rd spot in Shortstop rankings was a close call between Tulowitzki and some younger options like Bogaerts of the Red Sox and Lindor of the Indians. The deciding factor for me was Tulo’s high end potential in arguably the most dangerous lineup in all of baseball. He’s slotted to bat fifth in the lineup with Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion in front of him, RBI opportunities should be ample. Over the course of his career he’s averaged .297 with 29 homers and 97 RBI, the only thing holding him back has been injuries. In 2015 he played in 128 games and showed the power is still there, as shown in the video below in his Blue Jays debut last year. Depth at Shortstop around the league is pretty shallow and Tulo is worthy of a mid 4th round pick due to his upside, although the injury worries always have to be taken into consideration. GTD Suggested Round: 4th Round
Best Value Pick: Brandon Crawford, Giants (13th Shortstop, ADP 141.2)
Analysis: As noted in a recent John Shea article, 2015 was a big year as “Brandon Crawford was an All-Star for the first time last year. He won his first Gold Glove and also his first Silver Slugger. He became the first shortstop to lead the Giants in homers since 1905 and led all major-league shortstops in RBIs.” Crawford saw an uptick in extra base-hits, going from 40 in 2014 to 58 in 2015 while raising his average from .246 to .256 and striking out 10 less times, down from 129 to 119. Crawford is going on average in the 12th round and ranked as the 13th Shortstop, I think he provides solid value in the 10th round as he was one of only three Shortstops to reach 20+ homers last season, alongside top ranked Correa and Machado. GTD Suggested Round: 10th round
Sleeper Pick: Jean Segura, Diamondbacks (15th Shortstop, ADP 215.0)
Analysis: The Diamondbacks had a very busy offseason and in one of their moves, traded for Brewers SS Jean Segura. After strong All-Star showing in 2013 with 12 homers, 49 RBI, 44 steals and a .294 batting average, over the past 2 seasons he’s only averaged 6 homers, 40 RBI, 22 SB and .252 batting average. Still, at only 25 years old (soon to be 26), Segura could be a nice bounceback candidate with a change of scenery and the speed he offers at the SS position. As noted in a recent Adam Green article, Segura has been making a great impression on the Diamondbacks organization and they have high hopes for him in 2016. Segura is going in the 18th round based on ADP and I think that he’s a reasonable late round pick considering the lack of other SS options beyond the top 10. GTD Suggested Round: 18th Round
— Fantasy Sports Radio (@SiriusXMFantasy) March 13, 2016
Potential Bust: Javier Baez, Cubs (23rd Second Baseman, ADP 280.6)
Analysis: Selecting Javier Baez for my Shortstop Potential Bust is more to do with the lack of a defined everyday role with the Cubs than it is for his talent and potential. He’ll see time at 1B, 2B, SS, and OF this year, but without an extended amount of injury time to a starter, consistent playing time may be hard to come by in the Cubs lineup. A recent Chicago Tribune article by Paul Sullivan gave a nice overview of the playing time situation for Baez, and he does seem willing to fill the Utility role for now on the Cubs. Baez is a player that will eventually need everyday at bats to help reach his full potential. He’s a big time talent and will be an asset to the Cubs in 2016, just for Fantasy Baseball purposes his value comes in case of injury. The first month of the season will be interesting to see how playing time is distributed by Manager Joe Maddon. GTD Suggested Round: Undrafted
Check back this week as I’ll be releasing a new baseball position preview daily.