2016 Fantasy Baseball Busts: Shortstop
As you can see from the list, we are not suggesting a complete collapse by these players, just the likelihood that their production is unable to justify their draft position. Be careful not to draft these players too high.
Carlos Correa – Astros
Overall ADP: #6
This tests your definition of a bust. There is little argument that Carlos Correa will be a great player, but whether he will be elite over the course of his first full season has yet to be determined. The Astros’ shortstop was outstanding when he got the call from the minors, hitting seven home runs with a .932 OPS in his first 25 games. After the All-Star break, he was a 2.3 WAR player but scored fewer runs than Eugenio Suarez, stole as many bases as Erick Aybar, slugged less than Jung-ho Kang and posted a batting average 64 points lower than Francisco Lindor. In the final month of the season, his .349 wOBA dropped him below Nick Ahmed and Jose Ramirez, hardly heavyweights in the position.
Back in 2007, a 22-year-old shortstop smacked 24 home runs in his first full season with a .838 OPS. He was the darling of the draft room the following year yet disappointed with just eight home runs and a .263 AVG in an injury-shortened 101 game season. That player, of course, was Troy Tulowitzki. Keep in mind that pitchers adjust, video is studied, and opponents have had the whole offseason to plan how to get Carlos Correa out.
Even if you do not believe in sophomore slumps, the 21-year-old represents a risky first round pick, especially when he is drafted ahead of proven fantasy studs like Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rizzo, Andrew McCutchen, Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado and Miguel Cabrera.
Shortstop is no longer as weak with the emergence of rookies Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager and Jung-ho Kang. The career year from Brandon Crawford and the continued high-quality production from Ian Desmond and Troy Tulowitzki goes to show the depth at the position.
Carlos Correa is only 99 games into his big league career. Let’s not put him to Cooperstown just yet.
Jose Reyes – Rockies
Overall ADP: #128
For the second time in three years, Jose Reyes missed significant playing time due to injury. The days of 68 stolen bases, a .337 batting average or 204 hits might be a distant memory, but Reyes was still a very valuable shortstop when he was on the field last year. In fact, with the exception of the three rookies Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and Francisco Lindor, no other shortstop scored as many points per game as Reyes.
The move to Colorado did not give the anticipated Coors boost as Reyes slumped to .259/.291/.368 in 47 games. In 2015, he posted his lowest hard-hit ball rate of 19.3%, his lowest ISO (.104), his lowest walk rate (5.0 BB%) and his lowest batting average (.274 AVG) over the last ten years. The 32-year-old has seen his OPS drop in successive seasons – .780 (2013), .726 (2014), .688 (2015) and defensively he is has become a liability and is deteriorating. As if the outlook could get any worse, his domestic abuse trial is set for opening day so the threat of a ban imposed by MLB or even deportation, makes Reyes a very risky pick on draft day.
Elvis Andrus – Rangers
Overall ADP: #148
The Rangers’ shortstop splits opinion of the experts contributing to the FantasyPros ECR™ with a range of rankings from 126 to 217. Overwhelmingly, the majority are predicting that Andrus will fail to live up to his draft position.
Elvis Andrus does not possess any dominating skills. Only once in the last six years, has he hit more than five home runs and he has failed to reach .100 ISO since his debut season in 2009. His batting average has been steadily declining down to a career-low .258 AVG in 2015. The good news is that he has never stolen less than 20 bases and batting near the top of the Rangers’ lineup, he will always contribute in the runs category. Unfortunately for 128 games of last season, Andrus was dropped down the order.
His biggest asset is the volume of plate appearances, leading the majors with 2,755 PA over the last four years. Given another full season of good health, Andrus will slowly contribute to your season-long stats. He will not help you as much in weekly or daily formats and the risk of injury to shortstops is always high. A further complication for the 27-year-old is that the Rangers will hope to have former top prospect Jurickson Profar available this year, so a trade or loss of playing time is a possibility for Andrus.