Shortstop has a lot of wildcards. Even the six names you’re about to read all have varying potential outcomes for 2018. Here are a few I’m targeting on draft day:
Current Rank: 81
Expect Consensus Rank: 120
Probably my favorite target at shortstop for the second straight season, Gregorius was phenomenal in 2017. He began the year on the DL, but when he returned on April 28 he was easily a top 100 fantasy option. 25 home runs, 87 RBIs, and 73 runs scored? Give him all of April and he could be a 30 homer, 100 RBI player at shortstop! This breakout actually started in 2016 when Gregorius was a top 10 shortstop in points leagues and top 150 overall in roto. He topped that in 2017 as the #9 shortstop in points and #116 overall in roto. An even better lineup around him in 2018, coupled with a healthy start means Gregorius is at worst a top 100 player.
Current Rank: 188
Expect Consensus Rank: 217
Health is the key word with Cozart. If you take his three-year totals and project them for 162 games, you get 27 home runs, 78 RBIs, 96 runs, and a .271 average. Last year, Cozart actually hit .297 with a .548 slugging percentage. This provides evidence he is getting even better. He also had a very impressive 1.26 K/BB ratio in 2017. His improvement in this area can be traced back to the 2015 season. In short, Cozart has been this good for three years, he just hasn’t been able to stay healthy long enough to show it. He’s a great value going outside the top 200 of ECR.
Current Rank: 189
Expect Consensus Rank: 219
Anderson is a pure roto play, but he is dominant in that format. The .257 batting average wasn’t amazing in 2017, but 17 homers and 15 steals are great for a shortstop being taken outside the top 200 overall. Following the All-Star break, Anderson hit .280 with eight HRs and 10 stolen bases. He has 20/20 upside going, again, outside the top 200.
Check out this graph using PECOTA projections for 2018:
To add to my everlasting feud with Rougned Odor, Anderson is pretty similar to Odor, just 125 picks later in the draft...
In addition to these players, here are a few other options who are currently ranked outside the Top 250 of the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings:
My Rank: 243 Expert Consensus Rank: 310
Maybe he’ll hit at the bottom of the Yankees lineup. That’s fine! Still 20/20 upside in the best lineup in baseball.
My Rank: 342 Expert Consensus Rank: 454
He found a way to get over 500 at bats last year and wasn’t too bad. For someone going outside the top 400, Reyes has pretty solid upside with his power/speed combo.
My Rank: 343 Expert Consensus Rank: 615
In the minors, Barreto had an 11 home run, 30 steal season in 2016, followed by a 15 home run, 15 steal year in 2017. Barreto is going outside the top 500! Hello, high upside dart throw!