2018 Preseason Rankings: Top 15 Shortstops: Maneuvering Through A Group Full Of Risk/Questions

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s easy to point towards the top tier shortstops and assume that the position is loaded, and there is value up and down our rankings.  However after you get past the top tier or two, despite there being some intriguing names the risk grows tremendously.  There are breakouts to be found and players to stay away from, so let’s take a look and determine whose who:

 

1. Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians
2. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
3. Trea Turner – Washington Nationals
4. Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Jean Segura – Seattle Mariners
6. Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
7. Trevor Story – Colorado Rockies
8. Orlando Arcia – Milwaukee Brewers
9. Jorge Polanco – Minnesota Twins
10. Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
11. Marcus Semien – Oakland A’s
12. Paul DeJong – St. Louis Cardinals
13. Ketel Marte – Arizona Diamondbacks
14. Didi Gregorius – New York Yankees
15. Eduardo Nunez – Free Agent

Thoughts:

  • Corey Seager is often viewed as being a part of the first tier of shortstops, and while he is fourth on our list he doesn’t belong in the same groupas Lindor, Correa and Turner at this point. That’s not to say that he is a bad option, not by a long-shot, but he doesn’t bring the power/speed mix that the others do and he could struggle with strikeouts (14.4% SwStr% in the second half).  Those two things combined keep him “stuck” in Tier 2 player.
  • It was a breakout campaign for Elvis Andrus, who hit .297 with 20 HR, 88 RBI, 100 R and 25 SB. The big development was in his power, but he tapped into it without swinging for the fences (31.5%) and produced more HR on the road (13 HR).  He’s always been capable of stealing bases and hit .302 in 2016.  Even if the power takes a step back into the 14-17 HR range there’s going to be value.
  • We recently discussed the idea of drafting Orlando Arcia ahead of Xander Bogaerts, the latter of which is often overvalued. For a look as to why click here.
  • Didi Gregorius has been strong for back-to-back seasons (.287 with 25 HR in ’17), so why would he be ranked so low? It all comes down to risk, as he doesn’t draw many walks and could see his strikeouts rise (11.4% SwStr%, 40.8% O-Swing%).  He also appeared to be swinging for the fences (46.5% fly ball rate in the second half), and when you combine those two things for a player without elite power the average could plummet.  We’ll take a closer look at Gregorius in the coming days.
  • While Paul DeJong burst onto the scene and it’s clear that he’s going to be able to contribute home runs. However the risk of a monstrous strikeout rate (13.3% SwStr% in ’17 led to a 28.0% strikeout rate) will likely sabotage his average and hurt his overall appeal.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers01/02/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/18--
Shortstops01/22/18--
Third Basemen01/29/18--
Outfielders1-20: 02/05/18

21-40: 02/07/18
--
Starting Pitchers----
Relief Pitchers----

5 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Polanco will need further elaboration. Having him break the top 15 seems to be an aggressive prediction, top 10 a very bold prediction and different from the industry.

    • bbboston says:

      Chris,

      None of my business…….. but, supposedly Polanco has adopted a different approach to hitting that he worked on all last year, but came to fruition at the end of the year => that hot streak was top ten for sure. So if you buy the improvement……. Clearly Minnesota’s coaching staff buys it, as he was moved up into the 5th spot of the batting order.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Chris, we’ve actually already covered him in detail which you can read at http://www.rotoprofessor.com/baseball/?p=34631 It’s easy to overlook his big second half, thanks to the breakouts of Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario, but it shouldn’t be ignored

  2. CJ says:

    Hey Prof. I’m in a h2h points keeper league. I’ve been holding onto Bogaerts for several years now. But I have a chance to get Trea Turner, while giving up Mookie Betts. What are your thoughts?

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