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Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL SHORTSTOP RANKINGS: A FIRST LOOK

We continue with our initial look at all the positions around the diamond as we start to look toward 2017 fantasy baseball.  Let's see how the always shallow but suddenly percolating shortstop position looks.

1.  Manny Machado:  Retains shortstop eligibility after filling in for an injured J.J, Hardy last season. A blockbuster hitting talent who is a mid-first round pick in all leagues and ta either shortstop or third base.
2.  Carlos Correa:  Clearly the hype was a bit over the top for Correa heading into last season and that is why there was more than a little criticism when he hit "just" 20 home runs and stole 13 bases despite amassing an extra 228 at-bats.  Also the .274 average was not so hot either and in fact should have been worse if not for a lucky .328 BABIP.  Despite all that, we have seen countless sophomore slumps with ultra-talented players before and Correa's ceiling is as high as it gets.  Don't let him slip past the mid-second round.
3.  Corey Seager:  You can make the argument that Seager can be picked ahead of Correa after the Dodgers shortstop showed he already is one of the best pure hitters in the game last season.  Seager hit .308 with 26 home runs at the age of only 22 and a batting title is going to be in grasp real soon.  A real gem.
4.  Trea Turner:  Already getting first round hype as Turner was insanely impressive as a five-tool star in his debut last season.  Will be the Nats' shortstop for 2017 where Turner will challenge for the stolen base title, bat well over .300, and crack 15 home runs or more.  Incredibly talent who is going to be fiercely fought over this spring at your draft.
5.  Jonathan Villar:  Talk about a post-hype sleeper.  Villar bombed out of Houston amid a string of .230 averages but exploded in Milwaukee last season to the tune of putting up first round numbers for the price of a waiver claim . 62 stolen bases was a ridiculous number for Villar but he also batted .285 with 19 home runs.  There could be some outlier at work here in the power department but Villar has speed to burn to maintain his top tier shortstop status.
6.  Trevor Story:  From the start of spring training, the Rockies' Trevor Story did nothing but hit and hit for power.  In fact if not for a season-ending torn thumb ligament in August, Story would have sailed past 30 home runs which is insane power for a shortstop.  While the average may not go much above .280 if at all, Story is the new Troy Tulowitzki in terms of power.
7.  Jean Segura:  This was yet another monster shortstop value last season as Segura found new life in Arizona where he re-established himself as a star at the position.  Finding consistency at the plate again, Segura reached career-bests in averages (.319) and home runs (20).  He also ran wild again to the tune of 33 steals.  The only negative though was the D-Backs dealing Segura to Seattle where he will lose a few home runs and RBI.  Other then that, the value here compared to the guys above him make Segura a swell buy.
8.  Xander Boagerts
9.  Francisco Lindor:  Doesn't have the 20-home run pop that Corey Seager or Trevor Story have, Lindor's 12.9 K.9 rate (an insane number) shows how good a hitter a he is.  Could challenge Seager for the batting title while swiping 20-plus bags.
10. Eduardo Nunez:  It truly was a remarkable year at shortstop in 2016 as even Eduardo Nunez joined Jonathan Villar in literally coming out of nowhere with a career year.  Nunez' ran like a track star as he swiped 40 bases and even chipped in 16 homers.  He too is in the outlier bin for 2017 and even more so than Villar since Nunez had been a mediocre bench guy for years.  Still you can;t argue with the power/speed game last season.
11. Elvis Andrus
12. Aledmys Diaz:  The Cardinals had to be pleasantly surprised at how quickly this Cuban adapted to the MLB game.  Diaz was around .300 almost all season and added 17 homers.  More towards the bottom of mixed league starting status but a solid player nonetheless.
13. Dansby Swanson:  Reminds many of Corey Seager so get ready to reach for this future star.
14. Asdrubal Cabrera
15. Didi Gregorious
16. Marcus Semien:  Be sure not to overlook the nice development of Marcus Semien as he comes of a 2016 where he hit 27 bases.  Alas the average is ugly (.238) due to a high K rate.
17. Troy Tulowitzki:  Been saying for years to avoid Tulo and now that is especially true since he still can't stay healthy and his offensive numbers have sank to him being just a power specialist.
18. Orlando Arcia
19. Tim Anderson
20. Addison Russell:  Not my cup of tea at shortstop as Russell doesn't run much and his average is also not great.
21. Jung-Ho Kang
22. Freddy Galvis
23. Danny Espinosa
24. Zach Cozart
25. Brandon Crawford
26. Cesar Hernandez
27. Chris Owings


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