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2017 Fantasy Baseball: Shortstop - AL Only - Rankings

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It's time to turn our attention towards the only league managers with specific positional rankings for AL & NL only formats. We shift our attention towards the left side of the infield, with American League shortstops getting our attention today.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Hello fellow only leaguers, ready for an exciting position? It was only a handful of years ago that shortstop was the position you definitely punted unless you were the person who loved to draft Tulowitzki in the first round (how's that championship drought feeling?) Now the position has numerous early round talents, most of which are at ages where some growth could be reasonably projected.

If you're just joining us today, that's okay. I would recommend checking out our previous positions covered:

What comes below will be both 5x5 (batting average) & 5x5 (on-base percentage) rankings, along with a player I am targeting and avoiding. We'll continue this process through both the American League & National League, going position-by-position. I hope you enjoy it.

Reminder: For the purpose of these posts, we are using the traditional 20-games played the prior season to determine draft-day eligibility.

5X5 BA Rankings | 5X5 OBP Rankings

Rank Player Team Rank Player Team
1 Manny Machado BAL 1 Carlos Correa HOU
2 Francisco Lindor CLE 2 Manny Machado BAL
3 Carlos Correa HOU 3 Francisco Lindor CLE
4 Jean Segura SEA 4 Elvis Andrus TEX
5 Xander Bogaerts BOS 5 Xander Bogaerts BOS
6 Elvis Andrus TEX 6 Jean Segura SEA
7 Tim Anderson CHW 7 Troy Tulowitzki TOR
8 Troy Tulowitzki TOR 8 Tim Anderson CHW
9 Andrelton Simmons LAA 9 Brad Miller TB
10 Didi Gregorius NYY 10 Andrelton Simmons LAA
11 Jorge Polanco MIN 11 Marcus Semien OAK
12 Brad Miller TB 12 Jorge Polanco MIN
13 Marcus Semien OAK 13 Didi Gregorius NYY
14 Alcides Escobar KC 14 Alcides Escobar KC
15 Jose Iglesias DET 15 Jose Iglesias DET

My initial take away is obvious - insane top-end talent, with power and/or speed available deep into the draft pool. With relative depth available among AL second basemen as well, filling a MI roster spot in AL only leagues should prove to be much easier than in prior seasons.


Target:

Troy Tulowitzki: After blasting the 2010 fantasy owner(s) who consistently over drafted Tulo above, he's now my 2017 target at the position (if I don't take an elite option early). While the Coors Field Tulowitzki production level is in the rear view mirror, he's still a valuable asset with skills to ensure a decent enough floor. The ability to make contact with a league average(ish) eye, creates a strong base for Tulo's batting profile. A strong fly ball approach and slightly above average power metrics set a strong 20ish home run floor for Tulowitzki, even when projecting less than 500 at-bats. The stolen bases have been gone for years and will not be returning, however, with a still strong supporting cast, a good home ballpark and a draft day price considerably lower than the elite options, Tulowitzki makes for a great second tier option at the position.

Honorable mentions: Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, (double duh) & Brad Miller.

Avoid:

Xander Bogaerts: This avoid isn't to say I wouldn't acquire Bogaerts, it's more related to his current draft day price and perception. Bogaerts is currently being selected among the elite options at the position and while his 2016 production was elite, the underlying skills call into question the viability of a repeat this coming season. For example, after hitting 12 home runs in 2014 and 7 home runs in 2015, Bogaerts busted out to the tune of 21 homers last season. What changed? He's been widely inconsistent with his batted ball profile (41% FB in 2014, 26% in 2015, 35% in 2016), but an uptick in the amount of fly balls definitely helped the cause. So did an 11% HR/FB rate, his highest rate in any full season. Using Statcast data we can see that Bogaerts is still learning how to hit the ball with authority, which could be the leading cause in his inconsistency over the previous three seasons. Bogaerts' Average Distance (feet) was 209.29 feet last season (league average 218.07), his Average Generated Velocity sat at 0.82 MPH (league average 1.45 MPH) and his Average Launch Angle was a sub-par 6.28 degrees (9.97 degrees league average). Batting near the top of a powerful Boston lineup will help the counting statistics, but paying for a near 2016 repeat (or even growth), seems foolish with the skill set Bogaerts currently possesses. Let someone else pay a "Correa or Lindor price" for Bogaerts in 2017 and check back under the hood prior to 2018.

"Honorable" mentions: Tim Anderson, Jorge Polanco & Didi Gregorius.

That does it for American League shortstops. Next up will be the National League's turn. Please leave any questions, comments or other fantasy baseball related banter in the comments below. You can also follow me on Twitter using the icon at the top of the article and feel free to ask questions there as well.