2016 Rankings: Top 15 Shortstops: Young Talent Shines At A Thin Position

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While there are a lot of exciting young talents emerging at shortstop, the position is relatively top heavy and full of questions/concerns.  Even at the top you can wonder about the health of Troy Tulowitzki, a potential regression for Xander Bogaerts and the development of youngsters like Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager.  That doesn’t even mention what happens once you arrive at #6 on the rankings…

While there is a lot to like, there also is a lack of certainty.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how our current rankings:

1) Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
2) Troy Tulowitzki – Toronto Blue Jays
3) Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
4) Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians
5) Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers
6) Marcus Semien – Oakland A’s
7) Ian Desmond – Free Agent
8) Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royals
9) Starlin Castro – New York Yankees
10) Jose Reyes – Colorado Rockies
11) Jung-Ho Kang – Pittsburgh Pirates
12) Brandon Crawford – San Francisco Giants
13) Ketel Marte – Seattle Mariners
14) Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
15) Eduardo Escobar – Minnesota Twins

Thoughts:

  • One of the biggest surprises could be Semien’s spot so high up the rankings. We will take a deeper look at him in the coming weeks, but while he struggled defensively he actually had a strong offensive season hitting .257 with 15 HR and 11 SB with the upside for more. He showed a vast improvement in his strikeout rate (22.0% courtesy of a 9.0% SwStr% and 26.0% O-Swing%) and even in Oakland, at 25-years old there’s the potential for an uptick in power. There’s actually a lot to like.
  • Xander Bogaerts still checks in at #3, but that doesn’t mean he’s a player we’re willing to reach for. Barring a jump in his power (7 HR last season), which seems unlikely given his 52.7% groundball rate, there is very good reason to expect a regression given his .372 BABIP and pedestrian 21.5% line drive rate.
  • Where will Ian Desmond land? That will have a significant influence on his ultimate value, though don’t rule him out due to a poor first half. He did turn it around in the second half and should be able to produce.
  • Will Jose Reyes be eligible to play? We know he’s a shell of himself anyways, but the potential suspension hanging over him is going to suppress his value even more. He’s simply not a risk that’s worth taking.
  • Brandon Crawford enjoyed a career year (.256, 21 HR, 84 RBI) and the power appears to be for real. The question is really his average, as he’s a source of strikeouts (13.6% SwStr%, 35.2% O-Swing% in ’15), which will limit his upside potential. Keep that in mind, but there’s obvious value.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2016 rankings:

11 comments

  1. Marky Mark says:

    Wow…you REALLY hate Addison Russell.

    I mean, Zobrist played exactly 0 games at SS last year, meaning he will be eligible at SS absolutely nowhere to start the season.

    I guess you must think that Russell is going to get sent down to AAA to start the season and Zobrist will slide over to SS.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I removed Zobrist from the rankings as he was inadvertently left on there. Thanks!

      As for Russell, I’ve discussed him enough at this point. I’m not a fan (for those who haven’t seen the article, you can read it at http://www.rotoprofessor.com/baseball/?p=28845), though I know I’m in the minority there. Time will tell though, and that’s part of the beauty of Fantasy Baseball.

    • jrob23 says:

      I actually think Baez should be starting over him. IMO Russell is nowhere near the quality of player as any of the top SS prospects/young guys. He’s a poor man’s Desmond. Moderate power, little speed and he Ks a whole lot too. Now, that’s just who is now. He could be a 20+ HR guy with decent average and a real good glove. But with all the guys up already and coming withing the next couple of years he’ll settle between 7-10 in rankings because of his lack of speed.

  2. Carlito says:

    What about Tre Turner? Big sleeper?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      He’s only eligible at 2B in most formats and he’ll start the year in the minors. That said, in keeper formats he’s well worth stashing!

  3. Jeff says:

    What about Jhonny Peralta?

  4. The old professor says:

    Every step along he way Russell has figured out every promotion after struggling initially. His second half, after being moved
    Over to his natural position of ss is enough to put him in the top 10. Russell is the NL ss this year, on merit

  5. jrob23 says:

    Ketel Marte will be a top 8 SS. He was really coming on as his playing time increased. He’s probably the biggest sleeper I can think of going into this season.

    Prediction:

    80 R 175 H 35 doubles 8 triples 9 HR 65 RBI 18 SB .286 AVG

  6. Michael says:

    Who would you prefer for a keeper for next 2 years; Seager or Lindor?

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