2019 Shortstop Ranking Tiers (Fantasy Baseball)
The shortstop position is loaded, folks. I’m willing to say it’s on par with the third base position as the best hotbed for fantasy production. Having six superstars going in the first two rounds helps verify that statement.
So who should be on your queue from this talented shortstop position? We’ll dissect that question in great detail while finding the best value plays based on average draft position (ADP). Take note that standard 12-team leagues are the default setting for this article, and rounds can obviously differ depending on league size. With that, let’s dive into the good stuff!
Tier One – Trea Burner
Trea Turner deserves to be in a tier by himself as a bonafide first round pick. His current ADP checks in at seventh overall, which is spot-on from my vantage point. I wouldn’t mind reaching to snag him in the top five if the context called for it. Turner was somewhat mediocre compared to fantasy expectations last season, and he still posted 19 HRs with 103 runs, 73 RBIs, 43 stolen bases, and a .271 average. Those numbers alone make him a top-10 hitter, and he could easily build upon that foundation. His blend of power, speed, and average make him a safe first-round selection.
Tier Two – The Second Rounders
You know shortstop is truly loaded when the top six options all have an ADP firmly within the first two rounds. Javier Baez and Trevor Story round out the upper-echelon with respective ADP values of 19 and 20. That happens to be where the value lies as well. I’m particularly fond of snagging Baez somewhere later in the second round. The Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) have Lindor, Bregman, Machado, and Story ranked ahead of Baez, creating interesting value in most drafts.
Baez was amazing in 2018, and he’s a legitimate candidate for 30 HRs, 90 runs, 90 RBIs, 20 SBs, and a .275+ average even if some regression climbs on his back. That’s pretty much our expectation for everyone ranked ahead of him in this tier, and Baez should swipe more bags than Bregman and Machado. Did I mention he’s going later in most drafts too?
Tier Three – Upside vs. Stability
I truly believe Adalberto Mondesi can help win fantasy leagues this summer/fall. He was the featured talking point of my Infield Sleepers Primer on FantasyPros. Sure, an ADP of 44 is a high asking price, but the 23-year-old has Trea Turner-like upside. His average likely won’t be anywhere near Turner’s (.250 seems likely), but 20 HRs with 35 stolen bases is entirely possible. I’m aggressively targeting him in the third/fourth round of fantasy drafts, and you should consider that stance too.
Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa are safer alternatives from Mondesi, but their upside seems capped. You’d be lucky to get double-digit steals from either of them as well. Speaking frankly, it’s Mondesi or bust for these three shortstops with similar ADP around 43-46. I may look towards Bogaerts or Correa if they fall another round or so and I still need a shortstop, but they aren’t listed in my queue.
Tier Four – The Value Menu
This is a pretty fascinating group, and I believe Jose Peraza and Tim Anderson offer legitimate value at ADPs of 111 and 136, respectively. That’s not to say Jean Segura will be a fantasy flop, but he’s fully priced with an ADP of 63. Peraza doesn’t offer a ton of power, but he’s good for 10-15 HRs with 20-25 SBs and a proud .280+ average. Playing half his games in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park alongside a beefed-up Cincinnati offense doesn’t hurt. As for Anderson, he’s a 20-HR, 20-SB candidate, but you’ll likely have to sacrifice average in the form of .240 to .250-ish. Food for thought.
Tier Five – Overrated vs. Underrated
This is the intersection of overrated and underrated shortstops. As for the overrated players, I’m not sure what we’ll get out of Corey Seager, and I believe there are better options with stronger floor/ceiling profiles at an ADP of 71. Gleyber Torres was solid last season, but I’m not buying it. He’s at an ADP of 59, which is way too high when hoping for 20-25 homers and a .270 average with five to 10 SBs. Eduardo Escobar could realistically give you that with an ADP of 175. You won’t find me paying Torres’ premium on draft day.
Garrett Hampson has an ADP around 210, yet he’s ranked in the same tier as shortstops getting picked 12 rounds ahead of him. What gives? If he can land a regular role for the Rockies, we could have a fantasy breakout on our hands. That’s a pretty big “if,” but I’m willing to take a stab on Hampson later in drafts while keeping my fingers crossed for regular at-bats (a premium lineup spot wouldn’t hurt either). He’s ranked highly in this article to represent where he’d land if granted a full-time role, so keep that contingency in mind.
Jonathan Villar and Hampson are explained in further detail in the Second Base Ranking Tiers article.
Tier Six – The Fallback Guys
We can find infield depth in this tier, and most of these players are falling deep in drafts with ADP between 175 and 235. Jorge Polanco represents intriguing value at the tail-end of that. He was suspended for the first half of 2018, which was a bummer considering his emergence over the last two months of 2017. The switch-hitter could get back to those ways with a projection of 15 HRs and 15 SBs with a solid .275 average. That’s nothing to shake your head at when considering the ADP.
Eduardo Escobar will likely hold a premium lineup spot for the Diamondbacks this season. While the offense around him doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, Escobar will have a full season of taking swings in hitter-friendly Chase Field. He has proven himself capable of power with 20+ HRs in each of the past two seasons. That’s certainly valuable with an ADP around 175.
Tier Seven – The Others
To be completely honest, I’m not seeing any of these guys making my team. In-season developments may change that, but none of these six players are on my radar while drafting.
Chris Taylor is a depth candidate who is eligible at second base, shortstop, and outfield – but that’s really his biggest selling point. I’d rather take the upside of shortstops listed in the previous tier.
The only real sleeper candidate in this tier comes from Willy Adames. Even then, he’s probably better served as a wait-and-see watch list guy in standard leagues. He’s 23 years old with capable power for a middle infielder. He smacked 10 HRs with six SBs and a .278 average in half a season last year. I’m not expecting that average to hold, but there’s legitimate 20-HR and 15-SB upside if things fall his way.
- Every player in the first two tiers makes for a strong choice at their current ADP level. However, Javier Baez represents the best value of that group, in my opinion.
- Adalberto Mondesi is a risk/reward pick with upside that could resemble Trea Turner’s stat line. He’s a young player without much plate discipline, so you are essentially betting on upside with the Kansas City speedster.
- Potential breakout candidates include Garrett Hampson and Willy Adames. Keep your eye on them toward the later rounds of your draft.
- The sixth tier is loaded with infield depth, while Eduardo Escobar and Jorge Polanco are my favorite value lifts based on ADP.
Spencer Limbach is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Spencer, check out his archive and follow him @spencer_jl.