Fantasy Baseball: Shortstop draft strategy, sleepers, prospects and more
Fantasy Baseball: Shortstop draft strategy, sleepers, prospects and more
Five of the top 11 position players in fantasy baseball last season were shortstops, and there's little reason to believe the position won't produce big numbers again.
Five of the top 11 position players in fantasy baseball last season were shortstops, and there's little reason to believe the position won't produce big numbers again. Six shortstops have an average draft position (ADP) in the top 25 according to FantasyPros. That list doesn't include notable names like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, or high-upside players like Adalberto Mondesi. Trea Turner, who finished ranked fifth at the position last year, is the only shortstop with a first-round ADP. Francisco Lindor, Alex Bregman, Manny Machado and Trevor Story aren't far behind with each player having an argument over the other. Deeper down the rankings are players like Gleyber Torres and Mondesi looking to build off impressive debuts in 2018. Chris Mascaro and Tommy Stokke break down the position with opinions on draft strategy, sleepers, prospects and the player you're reaching for below. __Fantasy baseball previews:__ [Catcher](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-catchers-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) | [First base](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-first-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) | [Second base](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-second-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) ## Draft strategy __CM:__ I think both Tommy and I generally preach patience, realizing you can often find gems in the later rounds. This isn't one of those spots -- Jose Peraza as a top-15 shortstop, anyone? It also might not be a bad idea to to stash a guy like Didi Gregorius, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and is a top-10 (if not top-five) talent at the position who should be back by June or July. __TS:__ I'm doing whatever I can to land one of Turner, Bregman, Machado, Story or Correa, not neccessarily in that order. There is potential for value later, but the upside of those five players is enough that I'd consider any of them starting near the end of the first round, with Correa more toward the end of the second or third round. Playing in many Chicago leagues makes Baez hard to get at the right value, but I'm still a believer in him, too. If I miss out on them and Gleyber Torres gets drafted a little higher than I like, I'm looking at specialists or high-upside plays late. ## Auction strategy __CM:__ You may not want to blow all your money on a limited power threat like Trea Turner, but if you're making a list of guys who had at least 40 steals and 100 runs last season, he's the only one on it. He was also one of seven players to play all 162 games last season (Manny Machado also was), and if he can continue working walks (.344 OBP last season), he'll be worth it. __TS:__ I'm interested in forcing the bidding on players like Lindor and Mondesi while targeting the aformentioned five players. My plan would be to spend 25-40 dollars on shortstop. If the bidding gets out of control for any of them, there are enough high-caliber options that I should still get one. If not, I'll settle for fliers on Asdrubal Cabrera, Ketel Marte or a healthy Dansby Swanson. ## Player going too high __CM: Carlos Correa, Astros (7 SS, 44 OVR):__ He should bounce back from a subpar 2018, but he's never hit more than 24 home runs in a season or knocked in 100 runs, and he's played more than 110 games only once in four seasons. His postseason resume is stellar, but that doesn't help fantasy owners. Until the hype meets up with the production, only take him if he falls. __TS: Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals (11 SS, 65 ADP):__ It took only 75 games for Mondesi to take the fantasy baseball world by storm, hitting 14 homers and stealing 32 bases with the Royals in 2018. The question is whether those numbers are his peak performance or just the start. Mondesi never had a season in the minors with 14 homers or 32 steals, but that pace has expectations sky high. His ADP is 65, but he's going inside the top 40 at some places. If reaches his apparent potential, he's the best fantasy shortstop in the game. I'm not willing to take that risk that early for a player with a 3.8 percent walk rate in the minors and a low OBP. ## Player going too low __CM: Francisco Lindor, Indians (2 SS, 13 OVR):__ I know, I know -- how much higher can he go? But the 25-year-old is definitely a top-10 talent as he comes into his prime. He's the model of consistency the last two seasons, with 1,468 plate appearances (most in baseball), 71 homers, 181 RBIs, 228 runs, 130 walks, 40 steals and an .857 OPS. He's as can't miss as they come this side of Mike Trout, and there's very few transcedent talents at his position. __TS: Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays (34 SS, 284 OVR):__ Adames is being drafted after Fernando Tatis Jr., who doesn't have a specific time frame for a promotion and Didi Gregorious, who is out until the summer. Adames will be the starter for Tampa Bay with double-digit homers and double-digit steals. He'll hit for a decent average and won't kill you in any category. Plus, there's upside for more. ## Player you won’t draft __CM: Jean Segura, Phillies:__ This is no disrespect to Segura, but he's a much better real-life player than fantasy. He's a .300 hitter, and he should steal 20 bases. But he doesn't bring much else to the table. His career OPS (.731) is pedestrian and outside of a big power year his one season in Arizona, he has 44 career homers in six seasons. He'll contribute in most categories, but he won't singlehandedly win you any like others can. __TS: Francisco Lindor, Indians:__ When healthy, he's likely a top-five pick in fantasy baseball. But he's not, and leg injuries are a scary, lingering thing for someone who uses his legs like Lindor. The Indians' shortstop will likely miss all of spring training and Opening Day due to a calf injury. Starting behind isn't as big an issue for position players as it is pitchers, but it's still enough to keep me away. Josh Donaldson was limited to 52 games last year with calf injuries. I can't make the kind of investment it'll take to draft Lindor knowing health could be an issue in 2019. ## Player I keep drafting __CM: Chris Taylor, Dodgers:__ Really like his versatility, and despite wayyyyy too many strikeouts (a league-high 178 in 155 games last year), you can do much worse than a .775 OPS, 17 homers and 85 runs with a pick outside the top 200. __TS: Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks:__ Players like Escobar get overlooked because there's nothing about him that stands out. I'll take the 20 homers and solid counting stats with positional versatility. He's safe, which is why I keep targeting him late. Not everyone on your team has to have a career year for you to win your league. ## Prospect to watch __CM: Bo Bichette, Blue Jays:__ The 21-year-old son of four-time All-Star Dante Bichette is going to anchor Toronto's left side of the infield with Vlad Guerrero Jr., the son of the Hall-of-Famer with the same name, for years to come. Bichette can also play second base, which makes him a likely candidate to be up with the big club soon, since the Blue Jays' middle infield is pretty weak. __TS: Fernando Tatis, Jr, San Diego Padres:__ Not going out on much of a limb here, but there is some unknown with this top prospect. He's not a lock to be two weeks away from a promotion. He's only 20 years old and has never played above Double-A. He could be held back until May or June. He's still worth a stash with his combination of power and speed. ## Bold prediction __CM:__ Lindor will finish as a top-five fantasy player this season. __TS:__ Willy Adames finishes as a top-15 shortstop.2019-03-11T02:53:02.756Z2019-03-10T19:54-07:00