When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a strategy before going into your draft. To assist you in your strategy, we have provided you with our Consensus Top 30 shortstop rankings for 2015, tiered rankings, and NL-only and AL-only rankings as well.
Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some shortstops to target and avoid, which we provide you today.
We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the shortstops they would avoid in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them along with their reasoning below.
Shortstops to Avoid in 2016
Francisco Lindor, Indians (Ray Guilfoyle)
In just under 100 games last season, Lindor was the second best shortstop in baseball last year, as measured by fWAR, hitting .313-.353-.482 with 12 home runs, 50 runs scored, 51 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Those are pretty good full season stats, and excellent for a player with just 438 plate appearances.
The problem I have with Lindor is that I don't see him duplicating the power output in 2016, as he has never hit for THIS much power in the minors, and he doesn't hit many fly balls (28.7%) or square up many pitches either (25% hard hit rate). I think he can be a very good hitter, hitting for a high average, stealing 20+ bases, but I think we will look at him as a better real-life baseball player than a fantasy player.
He is currently being drafted in the early fifth round of 15 team drafts right now, and I think those who draft him that early are going to end up disappointed with him at season's end.
Marcus Semien, Athletics (Daniel Kelley)
Through May of last year, Semien hit .283/.326/.444. The rest of the way, he slipped to .242/.301/.382. That four months of a .683 OPS after a .673 in 2014 and a .673 in 2013. The best you can say about Semien is he's a passable hitter. He won't destroy you. But add in his poor hitting with bad baserunning and a potentially bad Oakland lineup around him, and there just isn't a selling point. Last year, even including his strongish start to the season, Semien finished 15th in fantasy among shortstops (according to ESPN's player rater). That feels like his high point. Stay far away.
Having favorably compared our Consensus #6 shortstop Francisco Lindor to our #2 shortstop Carlos Correa, and then having recommended Lindor as a shortstop to target (Sorry, Ray!), I was tempted to avoid Correa (at his current price), but that felt like cheating, so instead I'll avoid another young shortstop, Corey Seager of the Dodgers. For one thing, Seager offers far less speed (6 SB each of the past two seasons) than I hope to get from my middle infield. Of course I can live with mediocre speed if I know I'm getting power, average, and run production, but with Seager I don't yet know that I'll get those things in the Majors--at least not in 2016. Remember how awful Joc Pederson looked from May 2015 onward? And Pederson was coming off a .303-33 HR-30 SB-1.017 OPS season (Albuquerque-aided, but still...) in 2014. By contrast, in a similar volume of Triple-A at-bats, Seager posted a yawn-inducing .278-13-3-.783--not exactly taking the Pacific Coast League by storm. At his current price I would have to overpay for Seager and his likely struggles, so I'll simply stay away altogether.
Jose Reyes, Rockies (Tim Finnegan)
This reason is pretty obvious. Reyes is in the middle of a domestic abuse case, and MLB just sent him home from spring training. Nobody knows if he will be suspended or not, but the fact that he is now on paid leave until his court case gets resolved is not a good sign for fantasy owners hoping he won't miss much time. MLB could look to send a message here if Reyes is found guilty with a very lengthy suspension.
Ian Desmond, Free Agent (Domenic Lanza)
At first blush, this may seem a bit too obvious; Desmond remains unsigned, after all. However, he was recently ranked as the 6th best fantasy shortstop by ESPN, and the 7th best here. With leagues beginning their drafts already, it seems questionable to take a shortstop without a job ahead of players that (1) have a job and (2) are getting into game shape with their teammates and under the watch of coaches. We are only two years removed from Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew signing late, and both were awful in 2014. It may be a bit lazy to assume the worst for Desmond as a result, but it isn't as if he's the safest target, either. His batting average is on a steep three-year decline, and, despite the attractive power/speed combination, not knowing where he will land leaves a great deal to chance insofar as run production is concerned. At this point, he is best-suited as a late round flier once you've already locked-up a shortstop.
Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays (Jack Cecil)
I feel like I write this every year. Tulo gets hurt, positional scarcity isn't as big a deal as people make out of it, do not take him in the first round. He's finally seeing his price drop this offseason, but i'm going to keep blowing the horn. In the past 8 seasons, he's played over 130 games twice. Over the past 3 seasons, his average season was 73R, 21 HR, 68 RBI, 1 SB, .306 BA. Obviously the average is huge, but does the rest really impress you? Now what if I told you 2.5 of those seasons were in Colorado where he was hitting for a much higher average. Extrapolating his output in Toronto is not sensible, but the fact that he was a below average offensive player there deserves mentioning. In 2016, as a 31 year old, he'll get hurt again, and I'd expect his average to drop while playing at sea level, outside of his average, I can't see him producing a line that you would expect Johnny Peralta to also have.
Orlando Arcia, Brewers (Rob Parker)
First of all, he is still just a AA minor leaguer as of today, so he won't be starting the season in the majors. Nobody is expecting that. However, I am seeing a lot of excitement around him being called up mid-season and being a fantasy star. Yes, the Brewers just have the mediocre Jonathan Villar at shortstop and shortstop prospects are always a hot commodity, but with the Brewers not contending at all this year and wanting to keep costs down long-term, I don't see them calling Arcia up at all this season, at least until September. That's why I am down on this guy's fantasy value this season. He's also been a defense-first prospect for most of his minor league career and most scouting reports I've seen still don't see him as a huge offensive threat. He hasn't shown much power yet and doesn't walk much, so there are some holes in his game. He's still very young, but I need to see him continue to hit in the upper minors this season to be convinced he can be a valuable offensive player. That all adds up to someone with limited fantasy value this season.
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