29 Mar Shortstop Rankings (30-15): 2017 Fantasy Baseball
By: Shane Thompson
A shortstop in baseball is also known as the quarterback of the team. He gets the fielders in the right position, usually has the most range along with the strongest arms in the infield. Twenty years ago, this position was a strictly defensive position. How times have changed! The youth movement in this position is almost parallel with Jeter, Nomar, Tejada, A-Rod and Furca
30) Matt Duffy– Two years ago while playing for the San Francisco Giants, he hit 28 doubles, 6 triples and 12 home runs along with 12 stolen bases, all while placing second in rookie of the year votes. Now, would I draft him? No. However he’s a pure hitter with some upside but does play for a mediocre offense in Tampa. He should have position eligibility at 3B, but again, he’s more of a depth player on your roster.
29) Chris Owings- In the limited time he played in 2016, he had 24 doubles, 11 triples and 21 bags swiped. In a very potent offense, consider him a late round flyer with some upside if he has the opportunity to be a full time shortstop. He won’t help you in many categories but cheap steals is never a bad thing.
28) Jedd Gyorko- There’s good new and bad news with this player and I believe in bad news first. In 400 plus at bats, he had only 9 doubles and 1 triple. The good news is he hit 30 home runs in his 2016 campaign. Probably not a guy you would considering drafting in a very crowded infield. He will need an injury to Peralta, Wong or Carpenter to get every day AB’s.
27) Danny Espinosa– If you compare his statistics to Gyorko, they’re very similar. The only reason I give Espinosa the edge will be for consistent playing time. He did drive in 72 runs and can play all infield positions. He’s another player I would stay away from, even with the move to LA.
26) Orlando Arcia– You have to be pretty good in order to have Jonathan Villar more than willing to switch to second to allow for you to play your natural position. It’s a small sample size, but he did have 15 extra base hits in 200 at bats. Not bad for a shortstop. His value at the moment looks to be underrated but he’s a very hot commodity in keeper leagues and could jump up these rankings by seasons end.
25) Zack Cozart– I feel like this shortstop has been on all of our fantasy baseball draft sheets over the past five years, yet he continues to drastically underperform. He did hit 28 doubles and 15 home runs in a hitter friendly park on 2016, giving me reason enough to put him on this this list.
24) Alcides Escobar- Doubles and stolen bases is his main identity. He’s already 30, so I’m expecting the stolen bases to drop some. If you take into consideration that he is in a contract season, you can make the argument that he could have a career year. Don’t be surprised to see him on the move this year at the trade deadline. Escobar is likely just fill in waiver wire pick up this season, but keep an eye on him if he gets off to a hot start.
23) Jose Reyes- 45 runs in 60 games jumps out to me quite a bit. He’s definitely gotten up there in age and mileage but seems to have something left in the tank. The rumor is that he’s going to play third base if David Wright isn’t healthy and he’s also taken reps in center field. Proceed with caution.
22) Cesar Hernandez- With all of the talks of the talented youth in the pitching staff, it’s easy to overlook Hernandez playing a vital position. He led the league in triples with 11, hit sub .300 but only had 19 doubles. Consider him a waiver wire streamer but with upside.
21) Marcus Semien– The once highly touted prospect that was the main piece in the Jeff Samardzija trade to the White Sox has come and gone. Oakland is still awaiting the results defensively, but we don’t care about that! We care about his offensive production. If you prefer shortstops that hit doubles and home runs but don’t have a high on OBP or batting average, he’s your guy. A late round flyer or an AL Only option seems ideal.
20) Didi Gregorious– Over the past three seasons in the MLB, his power numbers and stolen bases have increased. Perhaps it might be that he plays in Yankee Stadium with a short porch in right field, however, he is trending upwards and will be an intriguing late round pick on draft day. He is expected to miss 3-4 weeks to start this year which could see him go un drafted. Pick him up if he’s on the waiver wire, he was a boss in the WBC for Netherlands.
19) Eduardo Nunez– The man who once replaced Derek Jeter in the postseason had himself a breakout year in 2016 while swiping 40 bags. He also added 12 home runs in 90 games in Minnesota before being traded to the Giants. Expect the home runs to drop but the triples to go up. There are rumors he will also be outfield eligible with some stints in left field.
18) Tim Anderson- This talented shortstop screams upside. He was a first round pick for the White Sox in 2013 and will get every opportunity possible this season to succeed. He has good speed and he won’t have to face much pressure considering the White Sox are expected to finish 4th or 5th in their division. His plate discipline needs improvement as he only walked 13 times while striking out 117 in 400 plus at bats.
17) Jose Peraza– The Brandon Phillips trade saga has finally come to an end and now the next topic is, who is going to replace him? He was once a prospect for the Atlanta Braves and then for the Los Angeles Dodgers and now he finally has his shot to be a full time player with the Reds. Second base is deep this season but few players at that position possess the speed that Peraza has. I suggest taking him this season as a potential breakout player, seeing that he should be available anytime after the 13th round and can benefit your team in multiple categories.
16) Brandon Crawford- Primarily known for his defense, Crawford has shown that not only is he also good in the clutch but that he can produce solid numbers for a sub par Giants offense. He had 51 extra base hits and his on base percentage rose to .342. He’s not as sexy as any of these players ahead of him, but is a solid plug and play option in multiple category leagues.
Stay tuned for rankings 15-1 in the coming days.