Jean Segura and Tim Anderson at SS: Who’s excited?

I’m not, particularly… excited that is. Shortstop is deep this year. However, I’m inclined to let everyone else overpay for names like Correa, Bogaerts, and Seager (depending on where he is drafted in your league) if you league-mates are doing so because of what the position used to be in fantasy. If you intentionally held out or were just priced out of the top 6 shortstops, I’m going to give you some info on two shortstops who could help your team; in very different ways. They may not deliver the same value as those at the top, but when you factor in what you could have instead of those top shortstops combined with these men… you’ve got some strong value.

Jean Segura SS Philadelphia Phillies
Fantrax ADP: 75 (SS 7)

Full disclosure, I think this ADP is a little too pricey. However, team context is everything when you’re considering Segura. In season long roto he is a legitimate 3 category contributor. In points or head to head to categories, I don’t think he’s much above average. However, Segura is a very consistent hitter who will provide much-needed help in batting average, steals, and runs.

Segura is a high BABIP guy – .339 and .327 the last two seasons with the Mariners. This is partly due to speed, but also because he has one of the strangest hitting profiles in the majors. He does NOT strike out… or walk much. He walked 5.1% of the time in 2018 and struck out just 10.9%. But, that’s not the weird part. Segura hits the ball softly and on the ground. I buy his .310-.330 BABIP every year, and with making as much contact as he does, this will support at least a .290 BA which is very hard to find in this range of the draft. However, a 53% medium contact rate and only 25% hard contact means that Segura is a singles hitter.

In a new lineup in Philly, I expect Segura to be a lock for 90-100 runs. Also, the Phillies philosophy on running is a bit more liberal than some organizations. However, don’t expect more than 20 or so steals from Segura. This number doesn’t seem exciting on its own, but with the lack of steals available across the board it’s something you can work with. Segura has seemingly been around for a long time and he has lost a little bit of speed, but his Fangraphs speed score is still a 5.5 which is well above average. He ranks around the likes of Lorenzo Cain and Yoan Moncada in the top 40 in the majors last year.

  • My Advice

If you are drafting Segura in the first 7 picks of a 12 team league, just know what you’re getting. If you took guys like Harper, Judge, Hoskins, Suarez, or other productive power guys with batting average limitations, Segura might be a nice plugin at shortstop. If you need runs and steals to go with a strong pitching driven start to your draft (maybe you have deGrom and Carrasco or Scherzer and Nola) and will try to find power in rounds 4-6, then I think Segura could be a nice fit. If you are uncomfortable with taking a top 100 player with this little HR upside, particularly in points leagues, Andrelton Simmons could be a cheaper fallback option later in the draft. Depending on eligibility requirements in your league, if you need steals with this pick, look into Mondesi or Peraza.

Tim Anderson SS Chicago White Sox
Fantrax ADP 126 (SS 10)

Tim Anderson is a valuable player. A flawed player? Absolutely. But, he is a roto standout. In points leagues or head to head categories, his strikeouts and lack of walks will lead to inconsistency and some lost categories. However, at season’s end, his blend of power and speed is worth something as the 10th shortstop off the board. This could be your poor man’s Mondesi or even Peraza depending on where he goes in your draft. Know the rosters of your league-mates in the draft room! If you are in the early 100s and only 3 teams need a shortstop, don’t panic. As you get closer to pick 120, the end of Round 10 in a standard 12 team roto draft, Anderson becomes a great source of speed.

Tim Anderson walked at a 5% clip in 2018, and that was actually an improvement from 2017. He struck out 24.6% of the time, and that was a 2.1 point drop from the previous year. It doesn’t sound like much, but if he can sustain those gains Anderson should actually experience slightly better luck in 2019. He had a .289 BABIP, but this is the profile of a .320 BABIP player. He has top 20 speed scores on Fangraphs, had a .328 BABIP in 2017, and as mentioned, made more contact. Now there’s a trade-off, but I think you’ll take it. He decreased his ground ball rate which brought down the BABIP slightly in exchange for 33.5% fly ball rate with a HR/FB% that stayed constant from 2017-2018. Let’s just cut to the chase; Tim Anderson went 20/26 last year and can do it again even if he does not improve his batted ball profile.

  • My Advice

I am not trying to shortchange Tim Anderson and end the discussion of him prematurely, but let’s not overthink this, ok. You’re one of the last people in your league to draft a SS, maybe the others in your draft room overpaid for the big names. You have a legitimate 20/20 candidate who could see a batting average correction that pushes him to .260. His speed is legit, his fly ball gains were intentional, and he’s a 25-year-old under contract who could get better. Roll the dice around pick 120 in a roto league, especially if you drafted batting average studs like Freeman or Altuve early and can afford the hit from Anderson… he will deliver.

It won’t be pretty on a week to week basis, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the year-end statline. I’m not comparing the two, but if everything goes right like what we saw with Javy Baez in 2018, this power speed combo could legitimately win you a roto title. He’s cheap, he’s fast, and he’s got some pop. Keep it simple.

 

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Colin Dinsmore

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Avid Fantasy Baseball player, Yankees fan, amateur gambler, dog-lover. @AssemblyColin

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