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
- 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: