Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy, Rankings Tiers: Shortstop


first_imgDOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: 2019 ultimate cheat sheetFor shortstop, those types of decisions start early and last throughout the draft. Fortunately, you should walk away from things with more than a couple strong MIs, which isn’t something you could say even five years ago. 2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300Who are the best fantasy baseball SSs?Eligibility based on Yahoo default settingsWe always start by pointing out that Tier 1B doesn’t necessarily feature players “worse” than Tier 1A or “better” than Tier 1C, just different. For many, Trea Turner is the top SS this year. We still like Francisco Lindor a little more even with the strained calf, but Turner seems to be a consensus top-10 pick, with Lindor right around the same spot. As such, you could argue they’re really in a tier of their own, but the other four guys we have listed here are studs in their own right. Still, Lindor’s near-40/30 production last year is one few players can match, and Turner’s 20/50 upside can’t be ignored, especially when you remember he’s still shy of his 26th birthday.Trevor Story actually had one more combined HR/SB than Lindor and hit 14 points better. The combined Rs/RBIs were 221-196 in favor of Lindor (16 more runs for Story but a whopping 41 more runs for Lindor), but the bottom line is these players can produce at similar levels despite Story’s perceived inferiority. Undoubtedly, 2017’s mediocre campaign is why some are leery of Story — and rightly so — but at 26, we still see him a solid second-round pick you can build your team around.The same is true for Javier Baez, Alex Bregman, and Manny Machado, who will all likely go in the second round of a 12-team draft. All of these can hit 30 HRs and steal at least 10 bases. Baez likely has the most speed, but Bregman has the most all-around upside given the minor worries about Machado’s new home park (and career road splits).TIER 1AFrancisco Lindor, IndiansTrevor Story, RockiesJavier Baez, Cubs (also eligible at 2B, 3B)TIER 1BTrea Turner, NationalsTIER 1CAlex Bregman, Astros (3B)Manny Machado, Padres (3B)More Fantasy Baseball Rankings Tiers, Draft StrategyCatcher | First | Second | Third | Outfield | Starter | Closer2019 Fantasy Baseball SS Rankings: Tier 2Admittedly, this is a pretty wide net to be casting for this high of a tier, but these players are all studs (or at least highly likely to be studs), so it’s tough to downgrade any. Adalberto Mondesi and Jonathan Villar join Turner as legit 20/50 candidates, and while it’s unlikely all (or even one) will hit that plateau, the fact it’s realistically on the table is pretty remarkable. Of course, fantasy owners have been down this road with Villar before, and Mondesi’s career minor league numbers (.258/.303/.410) aren’t exactly inspiring. Still, that kind of steals volume makes them tough to pass on in the sixth or seventh-round, especially if you have a slugger-heavy team. It’s entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that all of the guys in Tiers 2B, 2C, and 2D get drafted ahead of Mondesi and Villar, but, again, it really depends on the way you’re building your team. Carlos Correa is coming off a major down year that saw him miss significant time because of back and oblique injuries. We’re still waiting for that 35-HR breakout, and it could come at any time. The ceiling for Bogaerts seems little lower even though he’s only 26, but considering we’ve already seen him bat .320 (2015), pop 23 HRs (’18), score 115 runs (’16), drive in 103 (’18) and steal 15 bases (’17), it’s tough to say how big of a season he could have. The same goes for Torres, who has the potential to steal more bases but might not be asked to run much.That’s why we put Bogaerts and Torres in a different sub-tier than Correa and Corey Seager, as the latter two likely won’t run much at all, but he former two could get you 10-15 swipes. Overall, they’re very similar.Seager is a bit of a wild card given last year’s lost campaign due to elbow surgery. He always seems like a slightly better “real-life” player than fantasy player since he doesn’t run much, hit a huge amount of homers, or drive in a ton of RBIs, but at 24, there’s still upside here, especially if he moves down in the order. He’ll likely be locked in a tight battle with Jean Segura for the highest batting average of this whole tier.Segura gets his own sub-tier because he’ll likely top out around 15 homers, even in his cozy new park, but he’ll steal 20-30 bases and score a ton of runs. He’s a nice “in-between” player if you don’t want to chance it with Mondesi or Villar but want more steals than the Seager or Bogaerts sub-tier will give you. All of these players should go between the fourth and eighth rounds of a 12-team draft, and all make for excellent starting shortstops.TIER 2A Adalberto Mondesi, Royals (2B)Jonathan Villar, Orioles (2B)TIER 2BCarlos Correa, AstrosCorey Seager, DodgersTIER 2CXander Bogaerts, Red SoxGleyber Torres, Yankees (2B)TIER 2DJean Segura, PhilliesSLEEPERS & BUSTS: All-Breakout Team | All-Overrated TeamFantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Middle-round SSs to targetThis might be the weirdest tier for any position we’ve done, but the takeaway is just how top-heavy SS is. Once you get past the top 13 (some of which will undoubtedly be drafted as 2Bs or 3Bs), it gets thin, at least in terms of proven producers with any level of upside. Tim Anderson is coming off a 20/26 season and is only 25, but his average has really dropped the past two seasons. He was a career .301 hitter in the minors, so if he can find that stroke, he’ll be a Tier 2 player next year. He’s a solid “consolation prize” if you miss out on one of the top 13, and you could argue he’s a better target (certainly in terms of value) than some of the above guys who don’t steal bases.Jose Peraza surprised with 14 HRs last year, but that number could easily come down. He’s only 24 and playing in a great home park, but Peraza is more of a good-average, low-power, 20-plus-SB guy. That’s not that much different than Segura, and Peraza can be had some 50 picks later.Dee Gordon is one of the few pure speedsters left, and even after a down year, he figures to get one more chance as a pick in the first eight rounds. Getting on base was a challenge last season — and is obviously a major issue for a guy who primarily gains value through runs, average, and steals — but Gordon is still a worthwhile target if you’re sitting there in Round 8 or 9 and your top/only steals guy is Charlie Blackmon.TIER 3ATim Anderson, White SoxTIER 3BJose Peraza, RedsTIER 3CDee Gordon, Mariners (2B, OF)2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Each teamFantasy Baseball Draft Advice: Boring (but reliable) SSsYou could make a case we expand Tier 3 and throw these guys in (or add more guys from Tier 5), but there does seem to be a distinction between these players and the rest. None are exciting names, with the possible exception of Jurickson Profar, but all should be there with decent stats at the end of the year. Tier 4A features guys who could pop 20 HRs and steal 10-plus bases (except for Andrelton Simmons, who has lower HR upside but slightly higher SB upside). Don’t expect much in terms of batting average (except for maybe from Simmons), but these are nice guys to have at MI.Tier 4B features two actual needle movers in SBs, thus making them more attractive for many. Andrus really disappointed in his injury-shortened 2018, he turned in a surprise 20/25 season in ’17, plus hit .302 and .297 in ’16 and ’17, respectively, so it’s possible we’re greatly undervaluing him. Rosario had a woeful .256/.295/.381 line last year, but he did manage to hit nine homers and steal 24 bases. Those numbers might be similar to what Peraza does this year, though they’ll likely come with worse runs, RBIs and average. Still, at 23, Rosario could easily still improve, especially if he moves up in the Mets order.Tier 4C feature guys who will likely hit around 25 HRs. If things break right, 30 isn’t out of the question. None really hit for average, though, and the rest of their numbers will depend greatly on their spots in their respective orders.Because most of these players will be drafted as backups, it’s tough to say when they’ll start coming off the board or how long they’ll last. Many owners will skip this tier entirely (with the possible exceptions of Andrus and Rosario) and instead mine of younger sleepers in Tier 5. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if these guys are hanging around for too long, don’t be afraid to clean up some mistakes and the guaranteed production.TIER 4AJurickson Profar, A’s (1B, 2B, 3B)Chris Taylor, Dodgers (2B, OF)Marcus Semien, A’sAndrelton Simmons, AngelsTIER 4BElvis Andrus, RangersAmed Rosario, MetsTIER 4CPaul DeJong, CardinalsEduardo Escobar, D-backsAsdrubal Cabrera, Rangers (2B, 3B)Jonathan Schoop, Twins (2B)Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: SSSome of these guys have been tabbed as “sleepers” before and disappointed; others are getting their first chance to disappoint. Undoubtedly, at least one will have a good year, but all come with obvious risks.The guys in Tier 5A are your moderate power-speed threats. The most interesting name on the list is Fernando Tatis Jr., but he likely won’t be up for at least a couple months, if not later, so you don’t necessarily need to stash him. Orlando Arcia (24), Dansby Swanson (25) and Jorge Polanco (25) are all young enough to still have breakout campaigns, so it would be silly to completely write them off.Tier 5B features moderate-to-good power guys, though Didi Gregorious (elbow) won’t be back until around the All-Star break.Garrett Hampson is a true wild card because he could steal 30-40 bases, but playing time will be an issue. Still, his dual-eligibility at the MI spots would come in handy.Grabbing one of these guys in the late-middle/late rounds is smart, especially Adames, Gurriel, or Hampson, who have the most upside and multi-position eligibility.Tier 5AOrlando Arcia, BrewersJorge Polanco, TwinsDansby Swanson, BravesWilly Adames, Rays (2B)Fernando Tatis Jr., PadresTier 5BLourdes Gurriel Jr., Blue Jays (2B)Didi Gregorius, YankeesTIER 5C Garrett Hampson, Rockies (2B)Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers: SSWe’re not going to break these guys up, but they don’t all do the same things. Joey Wendle can hit for average, while Niko Goodrum could go 15/15. Hernan Perez can steal bases, while several of these guys, including Marwin Gonzalez, Enrique Hernandez and Tim Beckham, have had 20-HR seasons in the past two years. The issue with most is playing time. Gonzalez is interesting because he’ll start the season as an everyday player while Miguel Sano (heel) is out, so he’s a good candidate for short-lived early-season success. Our SS rankings tiers breakdown is pretty similar to our 2B breakdown. Not only are many players eligible at both positions, but even those who aren’t do the same types of things for fantasy baseball owners. As with second base, shortstop is a position where you can find high-SB guys, 30-HR sluggers, 20/20 (and some 30/30) threats, high-upside sleepers and potential breakouts, and just about everything else. As such, developing a draft strategy and highlighting targets on your cheat sheet is going to vary depending on the owner (and the draft).The top of this year’s SS rankings is stacked and rivals any other position, but owner philosophy could really shake up how the top players go off the board. That’s true throughout the rankings, of course, and that’s why our tiers, which we call “True Tiers”, group players by type of production as opposed to overall production. If you already have an SB-heavy team, targeting Elvis Andrus or Amed Rosario over Jonathan Schoop or Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doesn’t make as much sense despite Andrus and Rosario likely be ranked high on most sites. If you want to take one of these guys late, go for it. The multi-position eligibility of most really comes in handy, especially in daily transaction leagues.TIER 6Luis Urias, Padres (2B)Zack Cozart, Angels (2B, 3B)Hernan Perez, Brewers (2B, 3B, OF)Johan Carmargo, Braves (3B)Enrique Hernandez, Dodgers (1B, 2B, OF)Marwin Gonzalez, Twins (1B, 2B, OF)Joey Wendle, Rays (2B, 3B, OF)Ketel Marte, D-backs (2B, OF*)Niko Goodrum, Tigers (1B, 2B, 3B, OF)Nick Ahmed, D-backsTroy Tulowitzki, YankeesTim Beckham, Mariners (3B)Brandon Crawford, GiantsJ.T. Riddle, MarlinsJordy Mercer, TigersErik Gonzalez, Pirates* = Not eligible at that position on draft day but expected to play there throughout the seasonlast_img

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