Top 15 Shortstops (2019): A Deep Position Flush With Opportunity

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When you look at the rankings you realize that shortstop has become one of the deepest positions in fantasy baseball.  It’s loaded with upside and potential, with a slew of viable starters falling outside the Top 10 (including players who fell short of our Top 15).  That creates buying opportunities, and while we all want Francisco Lindor or Manny Machado you can find value elsewhere.

With that being said, here are a few things to remember as you review the rankings (and if you want to see even deeper rankings, make sure to order our 2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide that includes a Top 30, by clicking here):

  • A player being ranked #3 doesn’t mean you should draft him in that spot. In most cases you shouldn’t have to, it just shows the potential value that he holds.
  • These rankings are based on our projections and expected production for 2019.

Who are the names to target?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians
  2. Manny Machado – Free Agent
  3. Trea Turner – Washington Nationals
  4. Trevor Story – Colorado Rockies
  5. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
  6. Xavier Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
  7. Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs
  8. Alex Bregman – Houston Astros
  9. Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees
  10. Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers
  11. Jose Peraza – Cincinnati Reds
  12. Jurickson Profar – Oakland A’s
  13. Adalberto Mondesi – Kansas City Royals
  14. Marcus Semien – Oakland A’s
  15. Eduardo Escobar – Arizona Diamondbacks

Thoughts:

  • Alex Bregman coming in at #8 goes to show you how strong the position has become (he is coming off a year where he hit .286 with 31 HR, 103 RBI, 105 R and 10 SB), but there are also questions heading into ’19.  There’s the injury that required offseason surgery, which can’t be overlooked, and then the risk of him taking more of a home run-centric approach (52.3% Pull%, 44.2% fly ball rate, 15.1% popup rate in the second half).  If that continues it will likely lead to a suppressed BABIP and it’s hard to imagine his power actually growing.  We’ll take a much closer look at the risk shortly, but keep it in mind.
  • There’s a lot of hype surrounding Adalberto Mondesi, and while he brings significant speed that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to produce.  He’s not a power hitter, so don’t buy into last year’s surge (he benefited from an unsustainable 19.7% HR/FB).  He also has a poor approach (18.2% SwStr%, 37.1% O-Swing%) and will be prone to the shift (17.6% Oppo%).  Without an adjustment there’s a good chance of a sophomore swoon, another topic we’ll look at in more detail shortly.
  • Jean Segura was the first man out of the rankings, though you could argue him anywhere starting at #11.  His underlying metrics point towards a significant drop from his .304 average in ’18 (he hit .270 in the second half) and he’s likely more of a 20-25 SB threat (as opposed to 35+).  There’s value, but the name will likely cause him to be overvalued.
  • Trevor Story #4?  It shouldn’t be that big of a surprise, after he hit .291 with 37 HR and 27 SB in 2018.  He may not match those numbers, especially the power, but he should continue on as a 30/20 type player with a strong average after improving his approach.
  • More often than not Xander Bogaerts has disappointed, though he showed significant improvement in his approach (30.1% O-Swing%) and the potential for further growth in his power (45 doubles, 3 triples, 23 HR).  Entering a contract year, would it be a surprise to see Bogaerts put up a career best campaign? That’s something we’re willing to gamble on, especially since he’ll be available after Bregman and Baez.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

9 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure I really agree with you on Bregman. The second-half batted ball data you cite led to a BABIP of .286, down from .291 in the first half. Not a statistically meaningful difference, so the risk of BABIP suppression seems a little overstated.

    His fantastic plate discipline provides a stable AVG floor though I think we agree that 30 HR is probably his power ceiling (probably more of a 25-28 HR guy, and xStats shows he got a little lucky there). I’m much more comfortable taking him over Correa (balky back) and Baez (terrible plate approach that makes him a risky bet). I think Bogaerts and Bregman are fairly comparable though.

    • I don’t have an issue if you wanted to push Bregman up a few spots, and I’m certainly not saying he’s going to be a disaster. I’m still a fan and own him in one of my dynasty leagues, I just caution that things could take a turn in ’19.

  2. There are numerous times when I disagree with aspects of your rankings, Prof, but one can never you say you don’t have guts. Love the Mondesi ranking even if it may look foolish come June, but I appreciate the wet blanket you’re throwing on that hype train. He’s so tough to sort out value for; do you care more about the power/speed or do you care more about the awful average, strikeouts, and team he’s on? Given his likely ADP, it’d be hard to roster him without throwing caution about the rest of one’s draft to the wind.

    • Agreed, and the problem is how much power/speed is he going to be able to display if he’s not making contact and getting on base? There’s a lot of risk that people seem to be overlooking.

  3. How about Simmons from LA? Whats your outlook? Held a great BA last year despite being hurt a good majority of the year.

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