After each week of positional coverage, we will wrap things up here on Sunday with our 2016 dynasty/keeper rankings.
Players are ranked with the next five years of production in mind, so when you see Addison Russell ranked ahead of a player like Troy Tulowitzki – that does not mean that we believe Russell will be the superior short-term option.
Also, we ranked players at what we believe will be their primary position moving forward, so you will not see players like Manny Machado or Jedd Gyorko despite their eligibility. Those players will be included at whichever positions they may qualify for in our 2017 rankings which come out in January.
Taking part in our dynasty rankings will be Paul Hartman, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Josh Coleman and Mike Sheehan. Our six experts each ranked their top 20 Shortstops. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 20 by that particular person.
Is Correa better than Seager? Let the debates begin! Is Lindor better than Bogaerts? This will be another debate that I’m sure will come up numerous times before the start of the season. One thing that will not be disputed is the fact that these four men are the top four shortstops in the league. All four players received a top-five ranking here, and odds are it will be the same story regardless of which publication you peruse. Given their age, they should each be a staple in keeper/dynasty leagues for years to come.
As for the remaining players, our panel shares their thoughts on each below.
5. Addison Russell – Cubs
- Josh: The 22-year-old hit 21 home runs and 95 RBIs (2nd among SS), along with a .238 average in 2016. His K% improved by 6 percentage point to 22.6. That growth suggest to me he could hit between .260 and .280. The power is legit and the lineup will be a force for the foreseeable future. .270/25HR/100RBI is a top-50 overall player.
- Kevin: I’m a Cubs fan who just saw Addy hit a grand slam in the World Series. But I also realize he’s not yet at the level of the top-4 or so. Second half bad luck in BABIP hid some of his gains: improved contact, hard hit rate, and FB%. As soon as 2017, don’t be surprised if he hits .265 with 25 HR. You can’t go wrong here for dynasty.
6. Trevor Story – Rockies
- Ron: You’ll live with the strikeouts because when contact is made, beautiful things happen. The last time a Rockies regular hit below .250 was 2009. 30 homers and 10 SB’s with an average you can tolerate should be in play each year for the next five seasons.
- Mike: Struck out 31% of the time, went down with an injury, and an elite SS prospect (Rodgers) is knocking on the door – otherwise he’d rank higher. He hit 27 HRs in just 97 games, has Coors Field as a home park, and a very good lineup around him. The average will probably dip a little, but the power and speed will make him elite.
7. Aledmys Diaz – Cardinals
- Jim: While his 2016 season was cut short, I was impressed with what I saw over the first four months. Diaz can hit for a high average and has enough power to hit 20 or more home runs. While he spent his first year batting second, I can see him batting third which would bump those counting stats up.
- Paul: Diaz has outstanding plate discipline to go with some surprising pop. There isn’t any speed and the power probably isn’t enough to really boost your chances in those categories. He’s a nice player, possibly more valuable in a points format.
8. Troy Tulowitzki – Blue Jays
- Paul: Tulowitzki had a tough start, but hit .280 after June with 16 home runs in 325 at bats. He’s in a great ballpark and obviously can still put up big power numbers when healthy.
- Ron: It seems like Tulo has been around forever, but he’s only 32. Barring a trade he is still going to have the opportunity to hit in a favorable home ballpark. Injuries will always be a concern but with some of the luster knocked off his name, now might be a good buy-low opportunity if you have middle infield depth to cover his time on the DL.
9. Dansby Swanson – Braves
- Kevin: Bright future, but expect some bumps. Showed league average power via HR/FB, but a current ground ball tilt may limit his homers. High BABIP may be unsustainable even with his speed. Contact dropped as he was exposed to major league pitching. That said, his walk rate improved, and if he starts running more, he has a chance to be a dynamic player.
- Jim: My top-12 ranking is more a leap of faith than stat based. Swanson doesn’t strike out much, knows how to draw a walk, can hit for average, and has double-digit power and speed. I don’t know if all that will translate to the majors, but I’m cautiously optimistic.
10. Marcus Semien – Athletics
- Josh: 27 HR ranked 3rd among shortstops in 2016. His HR/FB rate was a career high, but 14.7% isn’t outrageous so a repeat can’t be ruled out. His FB tendencies likely eliminate any shot at .300, but a BABIP correction will improve the .238 mark from 2016. In 5 years 2016 will be identified as the year Semien began fulfilling his potential.
- Mike: A popular sleeper pick from 2015 made good in 2016. He went 27/10 in a pitcher’s park. I’ll take that from my SS any day. He’s going to K too much to help with average, but enjoy the power and modest speed.
11. Brandon Crawford – Giants
- Mike: He’s just a solid player in a solid lineup. He may never be an all-star again like in 2015, but I expect him to be around the top 10-12 for the next few years. With a bit of HR/FB luck like he had on 2015 or a venue change – he might be able to do even better than that.
- Kevin: I left him off the rankings last year despite his top-5 finish in 2015, and he was the 20th best SS this year (10 game eligibility). This year I ranked him, but I’m still the lowest. His power dropped right back to where it was before his career year. A career best average was a result of a career best BABIP. He’s perfectly serviceable, but you can’t expect anything more than 2016.
11. Elvis Andrus – Rangers
- Ron: Selecting Elvis Andrus as your shortstop might be the most boring selection you can make inside the top 200 overall picks. Bank on .280/75/5/65/25 and build the rest of your roster with confidence that Andrus will come through with what you plugged him in for.
- Josh: I tend to believe the perception of Andrus as a desired SS has come to an end. His 2015 and 2016 were mirrors of each other with the exception of AVG (.258 in 2015, .302 in 2016). For me Andrus is more likely to reproduce the 2015 average, and that loss make him a SB source and nothing more.
13. Jose Peraza – Reds
- Jim: He hit .288 or higher at every level and has the ability to steal at least 40 bases annually. If Peraza can learn the art of walking he could be a dangerous leadoff hitter. I would still like him as an OF3 should he not stick in the infield.
- Paul: Jose Peraza meet Elvis Andrus, Elvis meet Jose. I don’t particularly care for either player as they are completely dependent on batting average to be successful. The speed sure plays though in roto leagues.
14. Asdrubal Cabrera – Free Agent
- Josh: The middle to back-end of the position tends to offer little upside. At 30 Cabrera’s skill set is established and devoid of upside. Despite his age Cabrera’s mid to upper tier power along with respectable AVG provides you with a safeness that many back-end SS do not offer. Health permitting his counting stats put the top-10 in play.
- Mike: I didn’t want to rank him, but he was the Mets best hitter in the 2nd half so I dug a little deeper. Consider some of these 2nd half stats: .240 ISO, .384 wOBA, and a 145 wRC+. He’s only 31 even though he feels older, and there’s a decent chance this is legit. Worth a late round flyer to find out for sure.
15. Didi Gregorius – Yankees
- Kevin: He found a way to utilize Yankee Stadium a bit. I’m not sure the 20 HR will stick, but he’s established himself as a full-time bat, and a .270, 15 HR baseline deserves a ranking.
- Ron: The 20 homers Didi hit in 2016 may turn out to be a career high. I wouldn’t bank on more than 12-15 jacks moving forward to go with 5-8 steals. For a deeper league, Gregorius is start-worthy, otherwise he’s just roster depth at best.
16. Orlando Arcia – Brewers
- Paul: Arcia is my favorite buy-low candidate for dynasty leagues. Unfortunately I own him in all of mine. Regardless, he has enough pop to produce 10 home runs per year and enough speed to chip in 20+ stolen bases. He’s 22 years old and has a bright, bright future.
- Jim: I see Elvis Andrus type upside with Arcia. Unfortunately I also see several years of struggles before he gets to that point. There are plenty of players with similar upside already producing in the majors.
17. Tim Anderson – White Sox
- Paul: Anderson has a nice power/speed combo and could skyrocket up this list next year. The BB/K rate is all that could hold him back from putting up 15/30 seasons.
- Kevin: There are a few high-speed, ground ball shortstops developing right now. Anderson has more power than some, but higher risk due to low contact rate. For more on Anderson,see my shortstop stock watch article.
18. J.P. Crawford – Phillies
- Josh: His perceived value is more defense related despite the top prospect label. His minor league .270 average without double-digit pop or speed offers little for fantasy owners to salivate over, but I feel there’s reason for optimism. Strong BB% and good contact rates suggest a solid OBP skill set leading to prime lineup placement and a built-in counting stat advantage.
- Jim: His time in AA and AAA have been disappointing, and Freddy Galvis is doing an admirable job at shortstop right now. Maybe I’ll rank him next year if he shows me something or Galvis falters.
19. Jose Reyes – Free Agent
- Mike: He’s getting older, but he still produced at a better than 20-20 pace in just 60 games. The Mets plan to bring him back so he figures to be a good bet for runs again as well. Expect an injury or two, but he should be solid while he’s in there.
- Ron: Reyes can still play a bit and usually finds his name near the top of his team’s lineup. I would expect him to progressively tail off as his career reaches an end in the coming years. That doesn’t mean he can’t still be somewhat productive. Something to be concerned about was his bump in K% from 11.9% in 2015 to 17.6% this past season.
20. Freddy Galvis – Phillies
- Ron: J.P. Crawford is looming. Stats for Galvis will probably never again be as strong as they were in 2016, and that was with a .241 batting average. It’s the 20 homers that you simply cannot count on ever again. Galvis can be used as roster depth or a placeholder if you also happen to own shares of J.P. Crawford.
- Mike: He had a great 2016, but the underlying statistics don’t suggest that he’s any different than he’s ever been. The batted ball profile is almost identical to the rest of his career. I expect JP Crawford to take his job as soon as he turns back into a pumpkin.
20. Wilmer Flores – Mets
- Josh: On the positive side Flores is just 25, makes good contact and has managed 2 straight seasons of 16 HR. On the bad side the majority of his success has come against LH pitching and Mets management seem to have little faith in him. Do the Mets let him work out the issues vs. RH pitching or continue to apply short-term fixes at potential Flores positions? Give Flores 600 PA and you could very well be looking at 25 HR with a .250-.265 AVG.
- Jim: I love Flores for his multi-eligibility and bat. Unfortunately the Mets don’t like him at shortstop and look for every reason to play someone else there. Great bench player, but not an everyday player.
Franklin Barrato, Brendan Rodgers and Amed Rosario represent the rookies who were ranked on at least one list that did not make the cut. Chris Owings and Matt Duffy also appeared on multiple sets of rankings, but neither was ranked high enough to warrant top-20 consideration.
That wraps up our shortstop rankings. Next week begins our outfield coverage which will last two weeks and wrap up Sunday with the top 60 outfielders.
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