There is some new blood at the shortstop position along with some much-needed depth compared to years past. Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Jung-Ho Kang, Addison Russell, Ketel Marte and Eugenio Suarez all made their debut this season, each with varied success. In addition to the rookie class of 2016, shortstop is not short on veterans. Bogaerts – now a veteran with two years under his belt – is a five category player on the rise. Tulowitzki, Reyes and Desmond all have the ability to produce above average numbers. Segura and Andrus can help owners in the speed department; Crawford and Peralta with power, and Semien, Miller and A.Ramirez can give you a little of both. That’s 17 shortstop mentioned already without having to dig, and all but five of them can be had after the first 100 players are off the board according to NFBC drafts. So where do we rank these players? Let’s find out.
Taking part in our rankings will be Tommy Landseadel, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Michael Zakhar and Neil (Mister DFS). Our six experts each ranked their top 25 shortstops for the 2016 season. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 25 by that particular person. We used a 10 games started minimum requirement for eligibility so you may need to check your league settings for some players.
If you feel we overlooked someone or would like to debate a player’s ranking, feel free to do so in the comment section below.
Andrelton Simmons, Wilmer Flores and Jimmy Rollins did not make the top 25, but they were each ranked on two sets of rankings. Additionally, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jedd Gyorko, Zack Cozart, Chris Owings, J.J. Hardy and Jed Lowrie each received one ranking. The players that did not make the top 25 all have one thing in common; with the exception of Simmons with one ranking of a 19, none of them had a ranking in the top 20. That makes them all waiver wire considerations who fantasy owners should not be looking to draft except for AL/NL only and larger deeper leagues.
Players that you would Reach for
Tommy: I like Correa, but I think he gets overdrafted this year. I think most of the young studs are going to be drafted a little too early for my liking, and I don’t see a single player on the board worth reaching for. There are plenty of solid values in the mid-late rounds.
Kevin: No reaching for SS this year. There is a lot of potential young talents, but there’s inherent risk with all of them. You can’t pay for Correa in the first round on the hopes that he doesn’t skip a beat.
Jim: Considering where guys like Correa, Seager & Bogaerts are being taken, I’m not reaching at this position (technically). Currently in NFBC drafts, Jose Reyes is the 138th player off the board — that’s round 12 in a 12 team league, and that’s a great value to me so I guess Reyes would be my reach if I jumped a round early.
Ron: I would reach as high as 6th overall for Carlos Correa. We may all be a year too early on his first round status, but nobody else even has a chance to reach his ceiling at the shortstop position.
Zak: After Trout, Harper, and Goldschmidt are gone, it’s time to strongly consider Carlos Correa. It won’t feel like a reach by this time next year. Addison Russell made some quiet strides as last year went on. I am repeating myself (he was my pick at second base), but it’s even better to slot him at shortstop, where top talent is even more scarce.
Neil: Francisco Lindor. He hit .345/.386/.544 in the 2nd half of the season and is 22 years old. Power numbers could improve with improved strength and could steal you 20 bases. If anything, I don’t think he’s going high enough.
Players you will avoid drafting
Tommy: Addison Russell is the obvious one for me. He bats 9th and will not get enough counting stats to justify the prospect hype which pushes his draft price upwards. I am also avoiding the glove only players like Andrelton Simmons, Jose Iglesias and Didi Gregorius. I would much rather gamble on a young, unproven player than take a player who might not have enough upside to be a top 20 SS.
Kevin: Middle infield, particularly shortstop, is hard to fill with solid and reliable players. The injury history for Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes make them tough to buy.
Jim: I think Addison Russell has future value, but that future is not in 2016. The top players consisting of Tulowitzki, Correa, Seager & Bogaerts are too expensive for my taste; I can get much better numbers from players at other positions where these guys are being drafted. I’ll also avoid any player I ranked below 20 (Alcides Escobar, Brad Miller, Asdrubal Cabrera, Didi Gregorius); there is better talent at second base for your MI slot so no need to dig here.
Ron: Between the nagging injury issues and the unknowns surrounding the off the field matters for Jose Reyes, I’m just going to avoid him altogether.
Zak: Troy Tulowitzki might drop to a point where he might feel like a bargain, but you will be better off letting him pass now that he’s out of Coors. The mid-tier vets at this position have long carried a premium, and I cannot understand why there should be any tax on players the caliber of Elvis Andrus or Alcides Escobar.
Neil: Jose Iglesias. I actually like Iglesias as a real life player, but he isn’t much of a fantasy player. At best, he could get you two homers and 10 steals with a middling to above average batting average. Leave him for someone else.
Top MI target once your shortstop slot is filled
Tommy: There is a nice group of steady veterans who can be acquired rather cheaply with all the attention focused on the young studs near the top. Give me any of the following: Jhonny Peralta, Alcides Escobar, Alexei Ramirez, Brad Miller or Marcus Semien.
Kevin: Andrelton Simmons will play due to defense, so he’ll be in the lineup to accrue at bats. Youngsters who aren’t stars (Ketel Marte) are also fine bets.
Jim: Marcus Semien had his ups and downs, but I think the majority of the growing pains are over and he could take a nice step forward – potentially into the top 12.
Ron: For position flexibility I like Starlin Castro. If you need a little pop, good old Jhonny Peralta can still give you that. If speed is what you need, a guy like Alcides Escobar can still give you a little boost in the SB column. Or if you just need to stay balanced, Brad Miller or Marcus Semien are worth a look.
Zak: You would be better served having your middle infielder come from second base. I’m looking at my ranks for the two positions side by side: Dustin Pedroia or Ketel Marte? Daniel Murphy or Alcides Escobar? I might take two second basemen before I fill up shortstop.
Neil: Jung-Ho Kang. Kang was on his way to a monster 2nd half with a .392 wOBA and 154 wRC+ until he suffered a catastrophic leg injury. He should be able to regain his form, and is pretty low on draft boards due to the possibility of him missing the beginning the season. He is high on my list of targets.
Late round picks that could make an impact
Tommy: There are four young guys that will not be drafted universally, but each has the upside to be a top 15 SS. I love Ketel Marte and Trea Turner for some cheap speed. I have Marte ranked ahead of Turner because Turner does not have as clear a pathway to everyday at bats. Turner’s upside is higher, however. Eugenio Suarez is penciled in as the everyday third baseman for the Reds and did some decent things last year. Cesar Hernandez is another cheap source of speed who could push for 30 stolen bases.
Kevin: It all depends on playing time, but prospects like JP Crawford, Trea Turner, Trevor Story, and Tim Anderson could make impacts. That said, I’m only putting money on Crawford and Turner to make a large impact in 2016.
Jim: None of the current major league players at short intrigue me enough to consider wasting a late round pick on, so I’ll look to the minors for my late round shortstop picks. Trea Turner has some buzz around him so he probably won’t be a late round pick, but I still like the potential here. J.P. Crawford and Orlando Arcia will not start the year in the majors, but I like both as potential stash players for mid-season if you have a few minor league slots.
Ron: If he gets to hit near the top of the Mariners’ lineup, Ketel Marte could produce a line worthy of what one might hope for from Jose Reyes at a fraction of the cost. Marte could also be the second coming of Alcides Escobar which would be a slight disappointment. Thankfully, it won’t cost much to find out what he can do for your fantasy roster in 2016.
Zak: There are quite a few players who should come cheap and might make a bigger contribution than veterans being taken in the middle rounds. Brad Miller should receive ample playing time in Tampa Bay and has the potential for double-digit homers and steals. Didi Gregorious hit well in the second half of the 2015; he’s young so this may be actual growth. Eugenio Saurez is an under the radar power source where power is scarce indeed.
Neil: Shortstop is a bit of a fantasy wasteland, but I like Ketel Marte as a late round flyer. His batting average is usually pretty solid and his slugging was trending upward in the minors and in his stint in the majors over the last few years. He also stole 28 bases over 2 levels last year. A 275 batting average with seven homers and 30 steals would not be a terrible get for a late round shortstop/middle infielder in deep leagues.
That Wraps up our Shortstop rankings. Check back in two weeks as we bring you our top 75 Outfield options for the 2016 season.
Still need more rankings, head on over to Fantasy Rundown where Goose has been compiling rankings for the 2016 season as well as prospect rankings and the best baseball links available this off-season.