2015 Shortstop Bounce Backs

Bounceback Players LogoOutside of Ian Desmond, nearly the entire collection of MLB shortstops need to bounce back in 2015. Okay, so maybe that’s a bit harsh. Jose Reyes was impressive in that he managed to stay healthy and productive all year, Alexei Ramirez played about 20% better than he was expected to, and Danny Santana came out of nowhere to post a top 10 SS season. Then again, Alcides Escobar managed a top 5 SS season spending a majority of his time in the 8th and 9th slots of the KC lineup. How does that happen?

As the collection of us at Fantasy Assembly went through our SS Dynasty/Keeper Rankings it became conceivable to rank this guy named Punt. No, I didn’t forget the o in Punto. You read it right the first time; that’s Punt as in Punt the position and take whatever scraps your league opponents leave for you. Now that’s harsh!

Since punting the position really isn’t a good solution maybe we could at least uncover some ADP value as we head into 2015 drafts. Let’s jump into these shortstop bounce back candidates:

Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox – Just turned 22 on October 1st)
2014 Stat Line: .240/60/12/46/2

Xander Bogaerts represents the risk in buying into a young player and expecting the world from jump. Dude is 22. T..w.e..n..t..y….T..w..o! Hell, he was 21 the entire 2014 regular season and people will probably draft him later next year than they did this past season simply because he wasn’t ARod out of the gate. My belief that Xander will bounce back has as much to do with Xander himself as my belief that the Red Sox have to bounce back as a whole. The Red Sox led the league in scoring in 2013 and then followed that up by scoring 219 fewer runs in 2014 to finish 18th overall in the category. The Red Sox could easily find a middle ground between their World Series winning offense in the 2013 season and their 2014 flop. Bogaerts could see gains across his entire stat line as the Red Sox exact revenge in 2015.

Heading into the 2015 season, Bogaerts needs to get his .296 BABIP back in line with his minor league BABIP numbers that were almost always over .320 at his various stops on the farm. Lowering the 23.2% K rate he posted in 2014 would go a long way to helping Bogaerts bounce back as well.

I’m betting on the pedigree of Xander Bogaerts while keeping my expectations in check. For dynasty formats you want Bogaerts wherever you can get him. For 2015, I think we could see a sizable dip in his ADP and perhaps a good buy low opportunity. Bogaerts had an ESPN ADP of 168 in 2014. If he slips to the 190-200 range in 2015 drafts, take him.

Bounce Back Potential: You know how Italian food is always better the next day? Bogaerts is like that lasagna you ordered last night at your local hole in the wall Italian joint. Fill up on the fresh bread, minestrone soup, and salad (Can you really fill up on salad?), take a few bites of your lasagna and doggy bag it. You’ll like it a lot better the next day much as you’ll like Bogaerts a lot better next year.

Elvis Andrus (Rangers – 27 in August 2015)
2014 Stat Line: .263/72/2/42/27

Most of Andrus’s value is tied up to his ability to steal bases and score runs. After reaching 32+ SBs and 85+ runs in four of his first five MLB seasons, Andrus left a lot to be desired in 2014. He fell right in line with the collective disappearing act of the entire Texas offense.

Most alarming wasn’t that he only had 27 SBs but that he was caught 15 times. That 64% success rate won’t cut it. The reduction in runs scored could largely be attributed to the ineptitude of the entire offense but Andrus was part of the problem as well. His OBP is on a three-year decline from .349 in 2012, to .328 in 2013, to .314 in 2014. This trend has to stop in order for Andrus to get back on track. You’d think that as a player enters his prime as Andrus is, this would not be a problem.

So we are left to determine if Andrus is young enough to make corrections to his game and if the Rangers can get back on track to being an offensive juggernaut in 2015. Going into 2014, I always felt Andrus was overrated based on his ADP and haven’t really made him a part of my draft plans over the years. The way I approach him 2015 might be different though and it’s largely based on his age, the likeliness of a Texas bounce back, and most of all the expectation that Andrus’s ADP might finally align with his actual value. If Andrus slips beyond pick 100 and I have gone with a power approach early on in my draft, I’ll consider making his potential of reaching 85 Runs and 35 SB a part of my 2015 plans.

Bounce Back Potential: Throw a tennis ball against a pillow and it’s going to get absorbed. Throw it against a concrete wall and it’ll bounce back nicely. In 2014 the Texas offensive woes were like that pillow and everyone got absorbed into the problem, Andrus included. I’m not fully convinced the offense will be a concrete wall in 2015, allowing everyone to bounce back to full potential but it certainly can’t be as bad as it was in 2014. Just the fact that Prince Fielder will have a presence in the 2015 lineup, Jurickson Profar may contribute, and a healthy Shin-Soo Choo will return to a leadoff role should go a long way to helping Andrus rebound.

Jean Segura (Brewers – 25 in March 2015)
2014 Stat Line: .246/61/5/31/20

Segura and Andrus can almost go hand in hand for how disappointing they both were in 2014. I made my share of mistakes in 2014 but Segura and Andrus fortunately were not among them. Like Andrus, Segura also saw his theft rate on the bases fall in 2014 (77% in 2013 to 69% in 2014). One thing Segura can’t blame things on was his surrounding lineup. The Brewers had virtually the same overall production from their offense in 2014 that they had in his 2013 breakout.

At this point, it’s safe to say the hype surrounding Segura was out of control. The red flags were there heading into 2014 and yet many chose to disregard them. His OBP left much to be desired and made it unlikely he’d be able to hold down a spot at the top of his team’s lineup. MLB teams aren’t easy on young players. They will find a way to expose a young player who breaks out early on and reduce them back to reality. Aside from his OBP and SB% heading in the wrong direction, Segura’s HR/FB% took a fall as well. The fact he posted a HR/FB rate of 10.4% in 2013 was fool’s gold. Throughout his time in the minor leagues there was never really a reason to believe much power would translate to his game at the MLB level. Between his minor league and major league time in 2012, Segura had exactly ZERO HR in 555 ABs. Of course his 12 HR breakout in 2013 was a fluke. Much of his 2013 success came early on and people should have seen that he was exposed in the second half.

Bounce Back Potential: I’ve already mentioned fool’s gold in this blurb. Jean Segura is like a jewelry box full of fool’s gold that you inherit from a deceased relative. It looks all shiny and dollar signs dance in your head until you try to cash it in only to be told your inheritance is fool’s gold. I think Segura’s final line in 2015 will look slightly better than what he produced in 2014 but I have a feeling his ADP will once again be too high for my liking. Whereas Andrus is likely to enter the 2015 season with his name etched into the second slot of the Rangers’ lineup, I don’t see that happening with Segura. Instead, he will have to prove his worth from the 7th or 8th slot of the Brewers’ lineup.

Andrelton Simmons (Braves – 26 in September 2015)
2014 Stat Line: .244/44/7/46/4

Ever seen the movie Contact? Like Contact, this bounce backs write-up is like a movie with great promise and a horrible ending. I got you all giddy with the talk of Bogaerts taking a step in the right direction and perhaps an ADP that matches the true value of Andrus. Next I hit you with the fool’s gold comment on Segura and now I’m here to tell you that Andrelton Simmons should be left for the plays of the week highlights.

Through 1,224 professional at bats heading into the 2013 season, Simmons had hit 9 total home runs. 9! NINE! IX! He went on to hit 17 in 658 2013 ABs and suddenly people thought we had a power bat in the making at the SS position.

Unless you play in a 20 teamer or your league gives a massive bonus for having a guy who wins a gold glove, there’s no reason to chase Simmons.

2015 Bounce Back Potential: Is there an object that has negative bounce? Maybe a meteorite! Those don’t bounce at all; they just leave a large, unfilled void much as Simmons will do to your lineup if you bank on him in 2015.

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