On Monday, we published our Consensus Top 15 Fantasy Shortstops for 2016, and today we bring you shortstops ranked 16-30. We used a points system for each of the 30 shortstops ranked by each of the Fake Teams writers who participated in the consensus rankings series.
The writers who participated in this series are the following:
We feel that by providing you our consensus position rankings, you get an average ranking from the Fake Teams writers, rather than one writers' opinion, which inherently may include some bias. You will see some players ranked higher by one Fake Teams writer than the others, so this helps the reader see both sides of the argument for/against a certain player who might be getting too much love this offseason.
Each of the position rankings will be split into two parts, rankings and player profiles for shortstops ranked 1 - 15 in part 1, and rankings and player profiles for shortstops ranked 16 - 30 in part 2 to be published on Tuesday morning. Consensus rankings should bring about discussion amongst you, our readers, and the Fake Teams writers who participated in this series.
In addition, our rankings are based on the standard 5 x 5 fantasy/roto baseball league scoring, including: batting average, runs scored, home runs, RBI and stolen bases for the hitters, and wins, saves, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts for the pitchers, relievers and closers.
Finally, we are using 5 games as our eligibility requirements to be ranked at a particular position. Your leagues may have more games played requirements to be eligible at a position, so keep that in mind when viewing our rankings.
Our Consensus Shortstop Rankings for 2016:
16. Alcides Escobar, Royals (LY: 14)
Alcides Escobar is essentially Elvis Andrus without the burden of a $100-plus MM contract. He'll score a good amount of runs as long as the Royals keep him at the top of the lineup, he should steal 20-plus bags, and he shouldn't sink your batting average. Escobar won't offer much in the power department, though, and, due to his manager's propensity to bunt, will drive in fewer runs than the Royals deep lineup would otherwise offer.
17. Jean Segura, Diamondbacks (LY: 17)
Segura has come under the microscope after being acquired by the Diamondbacks, and it is not too difficult to see his warts. He was excellent in 2013, batting .294 with 12 HR and 44 SB atop the Brewers lineup. Over the last two years, however, he has combined to hit .252 with 11 HR and 45 SB, and he only walked 13 times last season. Speed is his greatest tool, but he can't utilize it enough to have a great deal of value if he's only reaching base at a .281 clip. Segura has the opportunity to hit near the top of a strong Diamondbacks lineup in a great hitter's park, so a bounceback could be in order - an overhauled approach is badly needed, though.
18. Ketel Marte, Mariners (LY: NR)
Marte may not have come out of nowhere in 2015, but his production was a surprise nevertheless. The 22-year-old shortstop offers a good approach at the plate, the ability to make consistent, hard contact, and well above-average speed, and should score a good amount of runs if he continues to hit at the top of the Mariners lineup. His power is below-average at best, so asking for more than a handful of home runs may be out of the question, but he could hit around .280 with 75-plus runs and 25 SB. If the Mariners lineup improves, he could end up among the top-ten at the position.
19. Erick Aybar, Braves (LY: 12)
Aybar may be the model of consistency in fantasy baseball. He has hit between .270 and .278 with between 3 and 7 HR, 68 to 77 R, and 12 to 16 SB in each of the last three seasons, and his career averages in those numbers are .276, 6, 76, and 19. The Braves lineup is among the worst in the Majors, so his runs and RBI will likely slip, but he is as steady as they come otherwise.
20. Jed Lowrie, A's (LY: 19)
At some point in 2016, Lowrie should qualify at 2B, 3B, and SS and, if he's healthy, it could happen as early as late April. Health is the key to everything, though, as he has only played more than 100 games twice in his Major League career. When he is able to stick in the lineup, Lowrie offers a solid-average batting average and double-digit home runs. He's slated to hit near the top of the A's lineup, as well, so he could provide a surprising number of runs if the team can turn it around a bit.
21. Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets (LY: 21)
I am always surprised at how young Cabrera is - he just turned 30 in November - and my expectations are always colored by my skewed recollection of his age (I guess that's what happens when a player debuts at 21 in 2008). The new Mets shortstop is similar to Peralta in that he has a steady, unspectacular history (albeit with a couple of .240ish seasons thrown in), without standing out in any one category. Cabrera can be counted on to hit between .260 and .270 with 12-plus home runs, with a decent amount of runs and RBI in a strong lineup. He should chip in a handful of steals, too.
22. Eugenio Suarez, Reds (LY: NR)
Heading into the 2014 season, Suarez was widely viewed as a utility player lacking the bat to contribute on a regular basis - if not an all-glove, no-hit type, than something close to it. His power spiked in the minors in 2014, though, and that carried over to his first season with the Reds. Suarez hit .280 with 13 HR in just 97 games, and he hit the ball with authority. He reminds me of Asdrubal Cabrera or Jhonny Peralta, in that he should be a steady contributor in every category but SB (he's a career .265/.315/.403 hitter with 17 HR in 675 PA, which is incredibly similar to the seasonal average of Cabrera).
23. Brad Miller, Rays (LY: 25)
Despite being regarded as a bit of a bust (or, at the very least, a disappointment), Miller was a productive up-the-middle player in 2015. The new Rays shortstop hit .258/.329/.402 with 11 HR and 13 SB, good for a 106 OPS+. His run production left a bit to be desired, as Miller spent the vast majority of the season batting in the bottom-third of the lineup. With the added bonus of qualifying at 2B, SS, and the OF in most leagues (and potentially 3B), Miller has a fair bit of value as a player that gives you a little bit of everything.
24. Didi Gregorius, Yankees (LY: 28)
Much of Gregorius' value stems from the fact that he is an everyday player in a strong lineup, as he has never hit double-digit home runs as a professional, and has not had double-digit SB since 2011. He did hit .294 with 5 HR in the second-half, though, and Yankee Stadium could help him pick-up a few cheap home runs if he continues to pull the ball. Gregorius is still only 26, so some improvement shouldn't be out of the question, either. I think he can hit .275 or so with 10 HR and 60-plus runs and RBI, and cement himself as a middle-of-the pack fantasy SS.
25. Javier Baez, Cubs (LY: 15)
Baez has wowed scouts with elite bat speed for nearly five years now, earning comparisons to Gary Sheffield for how quickly he gets the barrel through the zone. Unfortunately, his approach at the plate leaves a great deal to be desired, and even the quickest of bats can't save you when you swing at most everything that comes near the plate (and his swing and miss rate is nearly double the league-average for his career). Baez has the power potential to hit 30-plus home runs, the speed to steal a dozen bases, and he may end up qualifying at 2B, 3B, SS, and OF this season - but it's a high-risk profile.
26. Alexei Ramirez, Padres (LY: 6)
The 34-year-old Ramirez is coming off of the worst season of his career, and is moving from hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field to pitcher-friendly Petco Park - and, to put it lightly, none of that sounds like a recipe for success. Due to his still strong contact skills, he was able to hit .249 even as his OBP collapsed, and he did hit 10 HR and swipe 17 bases. He'll probably hit towards the bottom of the Padres lineup, which, when combined with his approach, could doom his run production - but there could still be some bottom of the barrel value in traditional 5X5 leagues.
27. Jose Iglesias, Tigers (LY: NR)
Iglesias is the reigning king of the empty batting average, with a .302 batting average across his two full seasons, but only 43 extra base hits (including 5 HR) in 836 PA. He makes a great deal of contact and uses all fields, and he has enough speed to beat out some slow grounders, so it isn’t unrealistic for him to continue to hit .280 or better going forward. That being said, the rest of Iglesias’ value comes from staying on the field and hitting in a solid Tigers lineup, as he won’t contribute much in terms of power or speed (he had 11 SB last year, but was also caught 8 times).
28. Trea Turner, Nationals (LY: NR)
Turner struggled in his cup of coffee last year, batting .225/.295/.325 in 44 PA, and getting caught stealing twice in four attempts. He's only 22, though, and he has the potential to hit at the top of the lineup (meaning plenty of runs), and the ability to steal 30-plus bases. He doesn't have much power to speak of, which hurts his bottom line, but he could help everywhere else in time. For now, Turner's fighting for a starting gig.
29. Zack Cozart, Reds (LY: NR)
Prior to season-ending knee surgery, Cozart was enjoying the best year of his career, batting .258 with 9 HR and 3 SB in just 53 games (a pace of 25-plus HR and 10-plus SB). He has a high-contact approach and solid-average power, and he’s a smart base-runner. Cozart may not stand out in any one category, but nothing about 2015 seemed unsustainable. Recovering from a major injury, however, leaves his status going forward up in the air. If he’s healthy, however, he’ll hit near the top of the lineup, which could make him worth a flier.
30. Andrelton Simmons, Angels (LY: 20)
Simmons has a "swing at everything and let BABIP sort it out" approach, which may actually inhibit his natural power. He hit 17 HR in 2013, and that was no fluke - he was regarded as having average to slightly above-average raw power as a prospect. However, he stopped hitting fly balls these last two seasons (39.1% in 2013, 31.2% in 2014, 22.4% last year), and his offensive production has stagnated. It will be interesting to see if the Angels change his approach, as the Braves have a poor reputation for tinkering with swing mechanics. For the time being, Simmons should hit between .250 and .260 with a handful of HR and SB, and a solid number of runs and RBI in that lineup.
If you are looking for more fantasy baseball, football or basketballl coverage, look no further than Fantasy Rundown, which provides links to all of the best fantasy content on the internet.