Last week we discussed the ugly, top-heavy mess that is the third base position, and this week we go to the still top-heavy, but much less messy, world of shortstops. As I mentioned last week, for the time being we will be looking through a medium lens when it comes to grid construction and who to target; there will be a lot of deep-league talks as the season approaches, but for now, I’ll base most of my thoughts on my 15-team mixed leagues that have already been drafted.
As a third base, I feel that approaching the short stop position justifies some planning for this year, but basically for the exact opposite reason. While 3B offers some studs, followed by a lot of potential disappointment, the short-stop pool with value swims from top to bottom. It’s really just a matter of how much you want to spend in terms of awarding your draft pick or auction dollars, and how you propose to put together your perfect roster. I’ve seen several teams early on shortstops for a super sexy SS / MI combination (Bichette / Bogaerts in one case, Turner / Lindor in another), and might have tried it myself if I had a concept choice had high enough to get one of the top 3 shortstop studs.
I’ve been a bit everywhere in terms of setting up shortstops this year, so this is a good time to take a step back and once again look at the position from a broader perspective. In at least some of my concepts, I felt like I was going back to a simpler time in our past, when giant, communal buffets of food were a thing. There was so much to choose from that, instead of ending up with a hearty cut of meat and a surprisingly tasty vegetable dish, I panicked and loaded up on cold, tasteless pasta salad and some old muffins. Time to regroup and explore the overall distribution before grabbing the first thing that catches my eye … and with it some of my thoughts on specific players.
Trevor Story. I’ve set him up once before, and that might be my only part. I can not decide whether he will eventually be a bargain at his current overall NFBC ADP (# 40), and whether he will be one of my bigger mistakes at that price, given all the enticing choices still on the way. board is when I set him up. However, even if he ends up in an unfavorable butcher park, I am optimistic that he will be more of a medium overpayment than a full bust. As disappointing as his .251 average was last year (after seasons of .291, .294 and .289), he still went 24/20, and Steamer is projecting even better (27/20) for this year. The ceiling may not be what it used to be, especially when we assume he’s playing outside of Colorado, of course, but for fantasy purposes, the floor is still pretty solid.
Tim Anderson (NFBC ADP # 35), Francisco Lindor (# 49), Corey Seager (# 77). I do not mind Anderson or Lindor in a vacuum, but all three in this group feel too expensive at their current prices for my personal taste: if I do not get a short stop in the first three rounds, I will probably attention to other positions up to at least round six. If I had to choose from this level, I would rather go with the excitement / youth / upside down Dwaal Franco (# 54), but will not feel the need to reach out to anyone at this point, given the options to follow.
Javier Baez (# 64). Well, I was going to beat Baez in the above group until I looked at his figures from last year again. He ran more than I realized; guy went almost 30/20! (31 HRs and 18 SBs). I know not to assume that what a guy did last year is what he will do this year – especially a guy who played for a contract, got that contract, and now changes teams again, among other things. . But … it’s also hard not to think about what he did last September in terms of plate discipline, mostly because it was so shocking to see (10 hikes that month, after previous monthly totals of 1, 5, 6 , 3 and 3). Add it all up and I’m 100% on board to take Baez if he’s available at the right time and price.
jorge polanco. Polanco was one of my top targets in any position entering the draft season, and somehow I don’t own him anywhere yet. Polanco went in the 6ste round of both my first two 15-team concepts, which is right in line with his # 83 ADP, but I was not prepared to reach out to him in the 5ste since I knew there would be good options later in the draft. Another reminder that it’s worth paying attention to ADP, but not letting it dictate your concept or deter you from taking who you want because you feel you ‘overpay’. .. (repeat mantra in head) use ADP as a tool to know when to get what you want, not to help you decide what you want. Next time I take him a round early if necessary: if he does close to what he did last year and also gets a little BABIP luck (BABIP has been .292 and .282 the last two seasons, after hitting .345 / was. .328 in 2018 and 2019), he is suddenly a solid 5-category player.
(Quick plug-in at this point for Rudy’s awesome draft room; those of you who already use it know how much it helps with when to pull the trigger on your draft targets by constantly updating your probability of being a certain player in the next round ( s) to get)!)
Jazz Chisholm Jr. (# 76): it feels a bit early until we see him tame the K’s on a more consistent basis, but given the power / speed combination you at least know that there’s a good chance he’s an apparent effortless 20 will set up. / 20, which of course is a great blessing for any fantasy team.
Bobby Witt Jr. (# 92). I’ll probably not end up with Witt in a team because I find I tend to be more rookie risk-averse than many of my peers, but he may end up being a good value if not ‘ an outright steal here.
willy adames (# 136), Chris Taylor (# 143). Adames and Taylor seem to have landed as my ‘middle ground’ for when I pass the elite shortstops, missing Polanco, but someone wants to grab before I join Nicky Lopez (see below). I will be honest; Taylor essay is a disappointment. The floor is not crazy high, the ceiling is not crazy high, and he never even has a starting job. I am encouraged by his pre-exclusion agreement to return to the Evaders, however, in terms of both opportunity and potential production level, and I’m going to hope he has another year to hit more homers and steal more bases than he seems to have in him. Meanwhile, I was excited to get Adames at pick # 159 in a mid-December draft, but get the feeling that he might be on the rise in the eyes of cartoonists – just one data point, but in my last draft, he added # 116 gone. , a full 20 places ahead of his ADP.
Gleyber Torres (# 153). I have never led the wagon here, but already own a share for 2022. Do I get my hopes up that we will see something close to 2019? Big No. But I feel that everyone is so focused on his (though notable) power outage, that some forget to consider what he could / might have done, rather than what he did, and realize that he can still be valuable in this. cost. For what it’s worth, Steamer projections are incredibly optimistic about Gleyber (23 HR / 14 SB).
Luis Urias (# 162), Amed Rosario (also # 162 !?) both of these guys targeted and thought I would now have at least a part or two of each. Instead, zero on both fronts. They were both ranked higher than I expected based on ADP, and although I like both of them at # 162, I was not prepared to reach for both of them much earlier. I suspect they’re both getting more sleep hype out there in the (panting!) Fantasy universe outside of Razzball than I realized, so I might have to revisit my initial thoughts on both to decide if it’s worth it to to move my draft sheet. I’m very attracted to Urias’ 2B / SS / 3B triple fitness, but given that even if he has a breakout season, it probably won’t involve more than 5 or 6 thefts, I’m reluctant to trust him for short to start for me in a 15-team league. I feel like I’ll be grabbing Rosario sometime before the draft season is over, even if it’s a round or two earlier than I’ve hoped, but I know in my head that it should be more of an MI than a mine. start card stop. I optimistically envision a 15/15 season with a sneaky helpful .275-.280 average.
Nicky Lopez (# 227). Here’s one of the problems with passing a leading shortstop early: you can not forget to actually set up a halfway decent one later one. It was harder than I thought it would be for me, as during the rounds where I knew I finally had to pull the SS trigger, there were many other things to divert my attention, especially intriguing starting throws and potential approaches. bargains. This is how I ended up with Lopez as my starting shortstop in one league. (Long head and take off ‘fantasy analyst’ cap despondently). I believe Gray even referred to how ridiculous it would be to put yourself in the position of waiting so long for short and ending up with Lopez starting for your team in his Top 20 Shortstop position. Lopez had a strong second half last year (including an absolutely ridiculous August: .317 AVG / .366 OBP, with 10 steals), and he certainly has a sleepy buzz and appeal going into 2022. In the most aggressive Lopez rankings I’ve ever seen, Justin Mason at Rotographs put him at shortstop # 19, ahead of people like Dansby, Luis Urias, and Gleyber. This seems especially odd given the fact that Steamer and THE BAT both hate Nicky in terms of projections, giving him a low average and stealing 13 or 14 on the year. Anyway, I love him as a late midfield (or AL-only) option and, but I do feel a little uncomfortable counting on him as a mixed league beginner.
With the ridiculous myriad of choices at all price points this year (in one of my drafts there was at least one SS taken in each of the first 11 rounds!), This post could have lasted forever (and yes, I know it feels that way already as if it was on after that novel Nicky Lopez, of all people). If you have someone you think is particularly overrated, underrated, or generally worth discussing, feel free to drop a thought in the notes!