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2021 Shortstop Ranking Tiers (Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Mar 16, 2021

Shortstop is once again loaded for fantasy this year, and you can, conceivably, have three in your lineup at SS, middle infield, and utility.

That doesn’t even include the other options who have eligibility at other position.

You’ll see below, within the tiers, that the first three tiers are absolutely loaded with talent, as there are three sure-fire first-round shortstops. 

Tier 2 isn’t far behind, though, as there are elite options – some category specific – that you can grab in the first four rounds of the draft.

As always, when it comes to rankings, tiers are the best way to go about them, as it allows you to group a set of players together so that you know when you need to take a specific player at a position before that tier runs out.

We’ll take a look at third base ADP based on FantasyPros composite ADP and break them down into tiers for you, so you know when to grab the guy who you like.

We should note that these tiers are based on a 12-team standard roto league, so adjust accordingly for your league scoring.

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Tier 1: The elite, elite

It should be no surprise that Tatís is at the top of the tier, as he’s a lock to be a top 5 pick, at very worst. Tatís should probably be the first overall pick in a three-outfielder league with his power/speed combo.

Turner was fantastic in 2020, and while 40 steals is the desire for him, he does enough in the rest of the categories that he’s still super valuable even if he only steals 25-30 bases. There’s an argument for taking him sixth overall.

Will he be traded from Colorado? Will it matter? Elite speed and power will play anywhere, but losing Arenado hurts him a bit.

Tier 2: The other elite

The Mets lineup is a big upgrade for Lindor. Good production in all categories without standing out in one. He kind of reminds me of a (better) version of Adam Jones when he was a fringe first-rounder for much of his career. 

Machado looked like the player of old in his second season in San Diego, but it’s kind of odd that we are just throwing 2019 out the window. His peripherals looked good in 2020, and while you won’t get the speed you got in the past from him, he warrants a second-round pick if you have concerns about the players in tier 3.

Bichette has only played 75 career games, but it doesn’t matter. He’s a stud. He reminds me of a Lindor-type player with his good production all around. The lineup is insanely loaded, and his numbers should be even better in Florida. 

I have to have Mondesi here because that’s where he falls on ADP. I also totally understand the argument for him going here. I just prefer players who are good at baseball to be on my fantasy roster.

Bogaerts seems to have gone back to being underrated like he has for the majority of his career. He could benefit from a J.D. Martinez bounceback, as well as some other surrounding pieces in his lineup breaking out.

It turns out Seager is pretty good! He looked like the rookie version of himself two years removed from his Tommy John surgery. Seager could easily be in Tier 1 at this point next year.

Bregman was a borderline first-round pick heading into 2020 drafts, but we’re just going to let him slide? This tier is all about getting value at the position, and Bregman follows suit with Arenado and Rendon here. You’ll still get the “Houston is cheating” discount with him.

It was easy to think that Anderson would regress in 2020, but all he did was put up elite-level numbers again. We kind of have to buy in at this point, no? Great batting average and great production in a loaded lineup.

Are we forgetting that Torres is a 35-homer guy in a great lineup? Let’s stop overreacting to 2020, OK? He’s one of my main targets in redraft leagues.

Tier 3: Still really good

Marte is a prime rebound candidate, but the deadened ball could make his power slightly decrease from his 2019 breakout year, which has been an outlier as of now. He’s still crushing the ball in Spring Training for what it’s worth.

Báez’s ADP suggests that 2020 is the real him and that we should ignore the previous four years of his career. He’s always needed everything to break right to reach his ceiling, but we are overreacting a bit to 60 games with Báez.

Everything finally came together for Swanson last year, but it did come with a career-high .350 BABIP (ignoring a small rookie sample).

Fantastic postseason numbers that he’ll look to carry over. I’ll die on the hill of Correa as a potential MVP candidate. He’s the shortstop I end up with the most in leagues.

Semien is shifting to second base, which is big for his fantasy profile. He’s somewhere between the player we saw in 2019 and 2020, but he should produce well at the top of a stacked Toronto lineup. 

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Tier 4: The drop-off

There were skeptics on Edman heading into 2020 – myself included – but he backed up his 2019 season pretty well. I’m still on the fence with him this year, but I get the appeal with his multi-position eligibility and safe profile. 

Moore was red hot at the beginning of the season and after returning from injury. His peripherals back up the play, and his speed is much-needed for fantasy managers, but there’s always a reason to be skeptical about late-age breakouts who didn’t have a ton of pedigree. 

Gregorius only pulls the ball. He’s kind of home run or bust, but next to Yankee Stadium, re-signing with the Phillies is the ideal spot for him to land.

Cronenworth would be higher, but he doesn’t have everyday plate appearances guaranteed to him with Ha-Seong Kim and Jurickson Profar on the team. He could play some first base if the Padres sit Eric Hosmerr against lefties.

Kim should be higher than Cronenworth as the everyday starter, or as close to one as we’ll see for the Padres … right? How will his game translate?

Villar is going to be a utility guy who won’t play enough to matter outside of deeper leagues. He’ll top out around 400 plate appearances or so.

Giménez will play every day thanks to his defense, but there’s no power to speak of. He’s a nice steals source late, though his ADP is going to go up since he was all but announced as the everyday option at short.

Segura is starting at second, which is fine, I guess. He’s someone you can wait on if you miss out on Moore earlier. The speed isn’t what it once was, though.

Tier 5: The others

It sucks if Taylor plays a lot for the Dodgers, because that means that Gavin Lux will be sitting. Taylor had a fine season, and while he’s better than Josh Reddick was in Houston, it’s a similar situation where Reddick was blocking the more talented Kyle Tucker from playing.

Fletcher is a bargain version of McNeil who goes much, much later. He’s a great batting average boost late in the draft.

Polanco shifts to second base for the Twins, which helps his value, too. Better corner infield option, but he’s the last of the startable options if you wait. Remember, he was absolutely fantastic in 2019.

It was a fun three-month stretch for DeJong in 2019 where it looked like he knew how to hit. Pretty much avoiding him entirely.

It looks like Castro will be the starting shortstop for the Tigers. He’s a poor man’s Polanco, but he’s opened some eyes during Spring Training.

Key Takeaways

  • You can’t go wrong drafting one of the guys in the first round or even double-tapping them in the first two rounds, if you want. You’ll get a nice base for your offense, and you’ll set yourself up for success in steals, too. 
  • I typically live in Tiers 2 and 3 by targeting Torres and Correa as bounceback options. Both have top 5 upside but aren’t even coming close to costing you that in drafts.
  • Tier 4 is one that I usually ignore but there are some good middle infield options there if you’re looking for speed with Edman and Giménez.
  • If you are in a deeper league or just want to wait as long as you can at the position, there are some guys outside the top 30 who are great values this year. Wander Franco should get the call at some point if you want to hold the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball. There are also a lot of sneaky speed options available late, too, such as Jon Berti, Elvis Andrus, Myles Straw, Garrett Hampson, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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