Matt Bishop | February 29, 2020
It’s almost baseball season and Shortstop is deep. In fact, there are 14 shortstops that are being drafted within the Top 100 players this season. With an abundance of talent at the position this year, there are at least 15 shortstops that are serviceable as your #1 option, in my opinion. If you miss out on an elite option at the position, no need to panic as you can wait a bit to grab a potential bounce back.
Below the player’s description is a projection that I like for this player and the projection system it came from. I’m not going to pretend I know how to make projections or even understand them, but they’re fun to look at. Enjoy.
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1. FRANCISCO LINDOR, SS CLE (ADP 8.40)
(2019) .284 32 HR 74 RBI 101 R 22 SB
- 30 HR / 20 SB in 2 Straight Seasons
- 30+ HR in 3 Straight Seasons
- 100+ Runs 2 straight seasons
- Played 143+ games in 4 straight seasons
After missing the first 3 weeks of the season and failing to eclipse 158 games for the first time since 2016, Francisco Lindor picked up right where he left off in 2018, slashing .284/.335/.518 (.854 OPS) with 32 HR and 22 SB. And while his ground ball rate (43.7%) is at a 3 year high and his fly ball rate (36.6%) is at a 3 year low, his hard hit rate (42.0%) and Exit Velo (90.6 mph) are both career highs.
If you value consistency, health and elite counting stats, Lindor is the clear cut #1 shortstop off the board and should be drafted in the 1st round with confidence.
.289 35 HR 95 RBI 112 R 22 SB
2. TREVOR STORY, SS COL (ADP 10.64)
(2019) .294 35 HR 85 RBI 111 R 23 SB
- 30 HR / 20 SB Two Straight Seasons
- 30+ HR in 2 Straight seasons
- 20+ Stolen Bases in 2 Straight Seasons
I know dude. Trea Turner could steal 60 bases. But Trevor Story could go 40/30 with a .300 average and it really wouldn’t matter. Story is the whole package. He hits for a high average (.291 and .294 last 2 seasons), hits for power (37 HR and 35 HR), steals bases at a great clip (27 SB and 23 SB) and is an elite defender (15.1 Def, 7th in MLB). And to top it all off, his statcast page is blood red, with his 90.9 mph exit velocity in the 83rd percentile and his 45.8% hard hit rate in the 87th percentile.
Early in his career, his strikeout rate was enough to push you away (34.4%), but he has made adjustments to make it more manageable (26.5%).
Story’s sprint speed is in the 95th percentile in the league (37th in MLB), while Trea Turner’s is in the 100th percentile (2nd in MLB). But while you’re clearly targeting Turner for elite SB potential and decent counting stats, why not invest your hefty first round pick on a guy who could finish Top 10 in both stolen bases and home runs? Those are the hardest categories to make up and require a premium investment.
PROJECTION (The Bat):
.283 37 HR 105 RBI 108 R 21 SB
3. TREA TURNER, SS WAS (10.64 ADP)
(2019) .298 19 HR 57 RBI 96 R 35 SB
- (4) Straight seasons of 30+ Stolen Bases
- (2) Straight seasons of 40+ Stolen Bases
I know dude. Trea Turner could steal 60 bases. But he probably won’t. Turner’s batted ball profile is trending in the right direction, finishing 2019 with a 90.3 mph exit velo (72nd percentile) and a 41.5% hard hit rate (66th percentile), which were both career highs.
Turner led off most games last season (550 PA), which created very few RBI opportunities for the 26 year old. But he is currently slated to hit third behind Victor Robles and Adam Eaton, which could present a significant chance to drastically increase his RBI output and overall production.
Turner’s profile is clearly encouraging, with his recent career highs in statcast data. But with the volatility in the stolen base category, a drastic reduction in stolen bases could result in a crippling first round bust. I just can’t see myself taking him ahead of Story.
.290 22 HR 75 RBI 103 RBI 39 SB
4. ALEX BREGMAN, SS HOU (11.86 ADP)
(2019) .296 41 HR 112 RBI 122 R 5 SB
- (2) Straight Seasons of 30 HR 100 RBI 100 R
- (1) Season of 40 HR 100 RBI 100 R
Alex Bregman is one of the best hitters in baseball and this sign stealing scandal doesn’t change that. And if we’re being really honest, he should have won the MVP Award last year over Mike Trout.
After compiling a 197 wRC+, a 1.134 OPS and finishing 1st in WAR (4.7) after the All Star Break in 2019, Bregman would finish the season 2nd overall in AL MVP Voting and the #1 overall hitter in standard fantasy points leagues. His .296/.423/.592 (1.015 OPS) slash-line with 41 HR 112 RBI 122 R is clearly elite and he was only 1 of 6 players to eclipse 40 HR 100 R 100 RBI last season.
While it is hard to expect a repeat performance from Bregman with all the distractions in Houston, his elite walk rate (17.2%) and crazy low strikeout rate (12.0%) give him an insanely high floor that most first round picks don’t carry. Bregman clearly has a chip on his shoulder coming into 2020 and that is dangerous. He is as solid and consistent as they come.
.288 34 HR 110 RBI 110 R 10 SB
5. FERNANDO TATIS JR, SS SD (16.67 ADP)
(2019) .317 22 HR 53 RBI 61 R 16 SB
What’s not to like? In only 372 plate appearances, Fernando Tatis Jr.quickly silenced his critics and showed why he was the #2 ranked MLB Prospect coming into the 2019 season, slashing .317/.379/.590 (.969 OPS) with 22 HR and 16 SB.
With a healthy 13.2% Barrel Rate, which ranked in the Top 9% of the league and a 44.1% hard hit rate which was firmly in the Top 50 in baseball, his 29.6% strikeout rate and 6.9 degree launch angle are his only glaring holes.
While sophomore slumps are real, he is a special talent and will be a first rounder for years to come.
.274 29 HR 77 RBI 93 R 24 SB
6. XANDER BOGAERTS, SS BOS (ADP 38.06)
(2019) .309 33 HR 117 RBI 110 R 4 SB
- (6) Straight Seasons of 136+ Games Played
Xander Bogaerts broke out in 2019, finishing the season .309/.384/.555 (.939 OPS) with 33 HR 117 RBI 110 R. While he clearly isn’t running as much as prior years, his 10.9% walk rate and .384 OBP were the highest rates of his career and made up for his chip in steals. On top of that, his 29.4% chase rate and 7.9% swinging strike rate were both career lows and clearly show a more disciplined plate approach.
While his exit velo (90.6 mph), launch angle (13.1 degrees) and hard hit percentage (43.7%) are all career highs, his statcast page is almost all blood red and this looks like a player poised for a repeat. Expect Bogaerts to outperform his ADP and should be a steal as a 3rd round pick.
.288 27 HR 104 RBI 102 R 8 SB
7. GLEYBER TORRES, SS NYY (ADP 30.00)
(2019) .278 38 HR 90 RBI 96 R 5 SB
Gleyber Torres (did you know he’s only 23?) lived up to the billing in 2019 with an impressive sophomore showing, compiling a .278/.337/.535 (.871 OPS) slash with 38 HR 90 RBI 96 R. The Prized Piece in the Aroldis Chapman deal and former top prospect lowered his strikeout rate almost 4% in 120 more plate appearances, while drastically increasing his power stroke with a career high 38 HR.
Slated to hit 3rd in this potent Yankees lineup between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, a 40 HR 100 R 100 RBI season is easilyattainable.
.287 41 HR 115 RBI 94 R 7 SB
8. ADALBERTO MONDESI, SS KC (ADP 39.24)
(2019) .263 9 HR 62 RBI 58 R 43 SB
Adalberto Mondesi has stolen 75 bases in 2 seasons in only 291 and 443 plate appearances. Those aren’t even close to full seasons. So what would a 600 PA season look like?
Mondesi is a free-swinger with zero discipline at the plate, which is evident from his 29.8% strikeout rate and his 42.2% chase rate, which is the 10th worst mark in baseball.
Mondesi will not wow you with his barrel rate (8.2%), but his exit velo (87.9 mph) and his hard hit rate (33.4%) are both trending upward and there is double digit HR potential in this bat. Mondesi should easily eclipse 15 HR / 40 SB if he can stay healthy.
.254 20 HR 77 RBI 82 R 49 SB
9. JAVIER BAEZ, SS CHC (ADP 40.04)
(2019) .281 29 HR 85 RBI 89 R 11 SB
Javier Baez took a step back last season, hitting .281/.316/.531 (.847 OPS) with 29 HR and was only 1 year removed from a .290 34 HR 111 RBI 101 R 21 SB season in 2018. Baez’ defense is elite and was again a top defender in baseball finishing with a 15.7 Def, which was good for 6th in the league.
Baez has the potential to be a 30 HR / 20 SB contributor again, but don’t expect the offensive climate in Chicago to change as this front office hasn’t done much to add talent to this roster. He should outperform his 2019 totals and come close to his 2018 numbers.
PROJECTION (THE BAT)
.274 34 HR 100 RBI 95 R 16 SB
10. JONATHAN VILLAR, SS MIA (ADP 40.24)
(2019) .274 24 HR 73 RBI 111 R 40 SB
Jonathan Villar turned some heads in 2019, clubbing 24 HRs and scoring 111 runs, while stealing 40 bases. But while Villar should steal 40+ bases this season, it is unlikely that he will surpass 20+ home runs again in 2020.
Villar is leaving Baltimore, one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball (1.262 HR, 4th in MLB) and moving to Marlin’s Park, which is one of the worst home run parks in the game (0.828 HR, 28th in MLB).
He is slotted to hit lead off for Miami and should immediately have a better team environment than he did in Baltimore. Villar should come close to duplicating his 2019 numbers.
.260 17 HR 57 RBI 82 R 41 SB
11. MANNY MACHADO, SS SD (ADP 61.12)
(2019) .256 32 HR 85 RBI 81 R 5 SB
It feels like Manny Machado has been around forever and in that time, he has rarely not been a fantasy stud or an elite option. But after signing a 10 year $300 million deal with San Diego, Manny moved cross country and had one of the worst statistical seasons of his Hall of Fame Caliber career, hitting for a career worst average (.256) and the lowest RBI (85) and run (81) totals since 2014.
After finishing with the highest hard hit rate of his career (43.7%), it’s hard to write off a former first round fantasy asset. With a young and potent Padres lineup, 30 HR 90 R 90 RBI is almost a guarantee for Manny.
.272 37 HR 102 RBI 93 R 7 SB
12. BO BICHETTE, SS TOR (ADP 70.43)
(2019) .311 11 HR 21 RBI 32 R 4 SB
After baking in the minors for most of the summer, Bo Bichette was called up to the Big Show on 7/29. And he did not disappoint, hitting .394/.444/.742 (1.187 OPS) with 4 HR in his first 15 games, showing why the Blue Jays thought so highly of him. In only 212 plate appearances, Bichette turned in an impressive .311/.358/.571 (.930 OPS) line with a .384 wOBA and a 142 wRC+.
While we can’t be sure what he can bring in terms of power, the hit tool is real and the sprint speed is elite, stealing 32 bases in AA in 2018. Bo Bichette could easily slot right in as a 20/20 guy and hit for a high batting average with room for so much more. The sky’s the limit for Bichette and this young Blue Jays offense.
.276 22 HR 73 RBI 89 R 19 SB
13. MARCUS SEMIEN, SS OAK (ADP 88.26)
(2019) .285 33 HR 92 RBI 123 R 10 SB
After finishing as the 4th best hitter in standard fantasy points leagues and 3rd in AL MVP voting, it is crazy to me that Marcus Semien is going as the 13th shortstop off the board. But here we are.
While Semien’s statcast data won’t wow you (88.8 EV, 8.5% Barrel, 37.8% Hard), his barrel rate is up 4% and hard hit is up 5.5% since 2018. He was able to cut his strikeout rate from 18.6% in 2018 to 13.7% in 2019, all while posting the highest walk rate (11.6%) of his career. His chase rate (23.1%) and swinging strike rate (7.2%) were both elite last year and the are the lowest rates of his career by far.
This is a drastic profile change for a 29 year old who has never had a wRC+ season over 98 (100 MLB average). His wRC+ was 137 in 2019. And normally I wouldn’t buy this clear outlier, but the walk rate and plate discipline numbers normally can’t be faked. He could be for real.
.274 28 HR 84 RBI 97 R 12 SB
14. TIM ANDERSON, SS CHW (ADP 97.76)
(2019) .335 18 HR 56 RBI 81 R 17 SB
Tim Anderson hit .335 in 2019 and edged out Christian Yelich (.329) to win the MLB Batting Title in only 518 plate appearances. And while Anderson is almost a lock to go 20/20, he has never hit over .257 in any season of 600 plate appearances or more.
Tim Anderson is only 26 and the White Sox have had one of the best off seasons in recent memory. He could be due for some solid counting stats, but don’t expect a .335 average.
.278 20 HR 71 RBI 85 R 21 SB
15. CARLOS CORREA, SS HOU (ADP 99.16)
(2019) .279 21 HR 59 RBI 42 R 1 SB
Carlos Correa, the shit talker, the fire starter, is a huge value coming into the 2020 draft season. Correa has only played one qualifying season in his career and has never hit more than 24 HRs in a season, but has shown flashes of brilliant play at times. Normally considered a bad trend, Correa’s walk rate (10.9%) in 2019 was a career low while his strikeout rate (23.4%) was close to his career high. And while this is normally cause for concern, he still hit .279 in limited playing time.
This could indicate a possible swing change, which is evident from his 3% jump in launch angle over the past 2 seasons. Correa could impress. Especially playing with a chip on his shoulder.
.270 29 HR 94 RBI 80 R 3 SB
16. AMED ROSARIO, SS NYM (ADP 134.61)
(2019) .287 15 HR 72 RBI 75 R 19 SB
Amed Rosario is definitely trending in the right direction. The 24 year old shortstop took some steps forward in 2019, dropping his strikeout rate below 20% for the first time in his career, while raising his batting average 30 points to a respectable .287.
While his statcast numbers aren’t overwhelming, he was able to raise his exit velocity 2 mph and his hard hit rate (Fangraphs) more than 5%. His sprint speed is in the 94th percentile, but he was caught stealing 10 times last season, which is a miserable rate.
If Rosario can pick his spots better, he can easily blossom into a 15/30 player, with 20/30 not unreasonable.
.276 15 HR 68 RBI 70 R 20 SB
17. ELVIS ANDRUS, SS TEX (ADP 135.18)
(2019) .275 12 HR 72 RBI 81 R 31 SB
Even at 31 years old, Elvis Andrus is as good of a guarantee as there is to steal 20 bases. And while he is definitely not a serviceable option in the power department, he hit 12 home runs last season, which was the second highest total of his career.
If you look at his batted ball profile, he has drastically increased his flyball percentage and hard hit rate in his last 5 seasons, which could mean he has embraced the flyball revolution and some power may be coming. You can count on Andrus for 20+ SBs and a very good batting average.
.268 13 HR 67 RBI 78 R 24 SB
18. COREY SEAGER, SS LAD (ADP 151.31)
(2019) .272 19 HR 87 RBI 82 R 1 SB
After teasing us with a .308 26 HR 105 R 136 wRC+ rookie season, Corey Seager’s career has been riddled with injuries and his potential has been in question. But when he is on the field, he is a well above average option at SS, sporting a career 128 wRC+ and a .294 batting average in 2,069 plate appearances.
The Dodgers should be good again so there should be plenty of scoring opportunities for Seager. And the projections systems see him staying healthy all year, so this may be the time to invest.
PROJECTION (THE BAT):
.281 23 HR 87 RBI 84 R 1 SB
19. JORGE POLANCO, SS MIN (ADP 155.47)
(2019) .295 22 HR 79 RBI 107 R 4 SB
Jorge Polanco is criminally undervalued and honestly it’s offensive he is going this late. Polanco came firing out of the gate last season in the first half, slashing .312/.368/.514 (.882 OPS) 13 HR 42 RBI 57 R 4 SB with a .367 wOBA and a 129 wRC+. But he would sputter to a .273 average with a .788 OPS and no stolen base attempts.
At 26 years old, Polanco seems to be hitting a stride, increasing his exit velo more than 3 mph, his launch angle by 2 degrees and his hard hit percentage by more than 5%. And don’t be fooled by his 4 SB. He has above average sprint speed (79th percentile) and has stolen 17 and 19 bases in the minors. Polanco is a huge value this season.
.281 19 HR 82 RBI 91 R 7 SB
20. JEAN SEGURA, SS PHI (ADP 191.57)
(2019) .280 12 HR 60 RBI 79 R 10 SB
2019 was the first time in 7 years that Jean Segura didn’t steal at least 20 bases. It was also the first time in 4 years that he didn’t hit .300 or above. Segura doesn’t offer much power, but will provide a .300 average and 20+ stolen base potential. This is also a very good lineup and he could score a ton of runs.
.291 14 HR 60 RBI 85 R 17 SB
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