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Fantasy Baseball 2017: Top 20 Shortstop Rankings

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Ray takes an early look at his 2017 Shortstop rankings. Check out where he ranks Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Jonathan Villar and others.

Before I take a look at my early 2017 shortstop rankings, here are my early catcher, first base and second base rankings, along with early 2017 projections from Dave Morris:

2017 Top 20 Catcher Rankings

Projecting Gary Sanchez for 2017

2017 Top 20 First Base Rankings

Dave Morris' 2017 First Base Projections

2017 Top 20 Second Base Rankings

Dave Morris' 2017 Second Base Projections

Projecting Trea Turner for 2017

Quick Thoughts

A quick glance at my rankings below and you can see I am high on Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. Story played in only 97 games in 2016 due to a thumb injury. The injury could impact his production in 2017, so if there are reports or any signs his thumb isn't 100% healthy, I will drop him down in my rankings. But, what has me so positive on him is that he hit 27 home runs and drove in 72 runs in just 415 plate appearances. According to Baseball Reference, he was on a 162 game pace to hit 45 home runs and drive in 120 runs. He made hard contact in 45% of his batted balls, and his 47% fly ball rate, if repeated, should result in 30+ home run season from Story in 2017. That and the fact that he lowered his strikeout rate in the second half while improving his walk rate. I could see him running more under a new manager next season as well.

Orioles shortstop Manny Machado is still my #1 shortstop as he does everything well, yet he completely stopped running in 2016, so it appears the Orioles want to keep him healthy and win with the long ball. He improved his counting stats in the other four categories in 2016, and a 40 home run season is a possibility in 2017.

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager is my third ranked shortstop as he is the clear favorite to win the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year award in the coming weeks. Seager enjoyed an excellent rookie campaign, hitting .308 with 26 home runs, 105 runs scored and 72 RBI. He makes a lot of hard contact (~40%) but will have to hit more fly balls to reach the 30 home run club in 2017 and beyond. He is a good enough hitter that he can work on adding more loft to his swing and not sacrifice too much in the batting average category. He has MVP potential, but some adjustments are needed before he can achieve that potential.

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was all the rage in the offseason after his spectacular rookie season, but he failed to live up to expectations in 2016, hitting .274 with "just" 20 home runs while driving in 96 runs and stealing 13 bases. Many, including yours truly, expected him to put up a 30 home run, 20 stolen base season after he hit 22 home runs and stole 14 bases in just 432 plate appearances in 2015. He still has the potential to put up a 30-20 season, but like Seager, he will need to put more balls in the air, as his fly ball rate was a very low 27% in 2016.

The three shortstops with the most questions heading into 2017 are Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar , Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, and Diamondbacks shortstop Jean Segura. Here is what I wrote about Segura and Turner in my second base rankings:

One of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season has to be the performance of Diamondbackssecond baseman Jean Segura. Segura put up the best season of his career, hitting .319 with 20 home runs, 102 runs scored, 64 RBI and 33 stolen bases. After two sub-par seasons, Segura showed us that he still owns the skills he showed us in 2013. The big question for fantasy owners is whether he can repeat, or come close, to his 2016 performance at the plate. I am not sure he can repeat the .319 average, but he could put up another 15-20 home run season with 30+ steals hitting atop the Diamondbacks lineup.

What to do with Nationals second baseman Trea Turner? i rank him as my 8th ranked second baseman, but that could prove to be too low after he hit double digit home runs and stole 33 bases in 324 plate appearances. Is he a 20 home run, 60 stolen base hitter? I doubt it, but 12-15 home runs with 45-55 stolen bases appear to be a solid projection for the speedy second baseman. He has the speed to repeat as a .300 hitter once again in 2017 as well.

The same can be said for Villar, who is coming off the best season of his career where he hit .285 with 19 home runs, 62 stolen bases and 92 runs scored. I doubt he can repeat in any of those three categories, but he does play in a hitter-friendly ballpark, and should continue to have the green light on the base paths in 2017. He made it to first base 189 times in 2016 and attempted 80 stolen bases, so he had the green light quite a bit.

Early 2017 Shortstop Rankings

Note: stats are courtesy of FanGraphs.

Rank

Name

Team

League

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

1

Manny Machado

Orioles

AL

157

696

37

105

96

0

0.294

0.343

0.533

0.366

129

6.5

2

Trevor Story

Rockies

NL

97

415

27

67

72

8

0.272

0.341

0.567

0.380

120

2.8

3

Corey Seager

Dodgers

NL

157

687

26

105

72

3

0.308

0.365

0.512

0.372

137

7.5

4

Carlos Correa

Astros

AL

153

660

20

76

96

13

0.274

0.361

0.451

0.349

122

4.9

5

Jean Segura

Dbacks

NL

153

694

20

102

64

33

0.319

0.368

0.499

0.371

126

5.0

6

Trea Turner

Nationals

NL

73

324

13

53

40

33

0.342

0.370

0.567

0.395

147

3.2

7

Jonathan Villar

Brewers

NL

156

679

19

92

63

62

0.285

0.369

0.457

0.356

118

3.0

8

Francisco Lindor

Indians

AL

158

684

15

99

78

19

0.301

0.358

0.435

0.340

112

6.3

9

Xander Bogaerts

Red Sox

AL

157

719

21

115

89

13

0.294

0.356

0.446

0.348

113

4.7

10

Addison Russell

Cubs

NL

151

598

21

67

95

5

0.238

0.321

0.417

0.316

95

3.9

11

Aledmys Diaz

Cardinals

NL

111

460

17

71

65

4

0.300

0.369

0.510

0.370

132

2.7

12

Brad Miller

Rays

AL

152

601

30

73

81

6

0.243

0.304

0.482

0.333

111

2.0

13

Javier Baez

Cubs

NL

142

450

14

50

59

12

0.273

0.314

0.423

0.316

94

2.8

14

Troy Tulowitzki

Blue Jays

AL

131

544

24

54

79

1

0.254

0.318

0.443

0.327

102

2.8

15

Brandon Crawford

Giants

NL

155

623

12

67

84

7

0.275

0.342

0.430

0.327

107

5.8

16

Marcus Semien

Athletics

AL

159

621

27

72

75

10

0.238

0.300

0.435

0.315

100

2.5

17

Tim Anderson

White Sox

AL

99

431

9

57

30

10

0.283

0.306

0.432

0.315

95

2.4

18

Didi Gregorius

Yankees

AL

153

597

20

68

70

7

0.276

0.304

0.447

0.319

98

2.7

19

Elvis Andrus

Rangers

AL

147

568

8

75

69

24

0.302

0.362

0.439

0.344

112

2.1

20

Eduardo Nunez

Giants

NL

141

595

16

73

67

40

0.288

0.325

0.432

0.324

102

2.7

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