Welcome to Shortstop Week! Let’s talk about some sleepers...
Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies (ADP: 197.7)
With DJ LeMahieu moving to New York, many are projecting Hampson to be the Rockies starting second baseman come Opening Day, which is great for fantasy. He has tremendous speed and a disciplined approach at the plate that should help him swipe over 25 bags next season. He also makes a decent amount of contact and has a good enough batted ball profile to flirt with a .280 batting average. The thing I think is most overlooked is his power potential. He probably won’t hit 20 home runs next season, but with a decent amount of raw power and the best hitter’s park in the league, 15 home runs seems seems probable. With an ADP around 200, Hampson should be a steal on draft day.
Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins (ADP: 211.0)
Polanco seems to be the industry’s favorite sleeper at the position, and it’s for good reasons. He is a safe bet for a 15/15 season with a batting average around .280, but he could be better than that in 2019. With a fair amount of power and a fly ball heavy approach, Polanco actually has the potential to be a 20-homer threat this upcoming season. His production will likely be similar to Jurickson Profar’s, but it with a 100 pick difference in ADP.
Scott Kingery, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 366.1)
Kingery had a lot of hype surrounding him coming into 2018, but ultimately fell short of what many expected. It seems like his poor performance in 2018 has pushed his ADP below the Top 300, which is crazy value when you factor in his upside. With a 31.1% hard contact rate according to Statcast, more fly balls than ground balls, and a hitter-friendly home park, Kingery is a legit threat to more than double his home run total from last season. His speed also makes him a legitimate 20/20 threat, but it’s his average that many people are worried about. With his batted ball profile and speed, I expect a BABIP above .300. Now he did have a below-average contact rate, but his aggressive approach should help offset some of that swing and miss. With all these factors I expect Kingery to hit a modest .250 average with the addition of close to 20 steals and home runs.
Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves (ADP: 377.8)
Something I was shocked to see this offseason was the fact that Dansby Swanson had one of the best sprint speeds in the game, which put him right behind other speedsters like Ronald Acuna and Mallex Smith. That makes me think that he could actually put up more than the 10 steals he had in 2018. He also made hard contact 34.0% of the time according to Statcast, which could lead to more home runs as well. His .238 batting average last season was atrocious, but I expect it to come up around the .250 mark due to his ability to consistently drive the ball. Swanson isn’t necessarily someone I’ll be targeting on draft day, but I am intrigued at what he could offer in 2019.
Aledmys Diaz, Houston Astros (ADP: 434.0)
Diaz is being severely underrated as he is a contact-first hitter, who also made hard contact 39.0% of the time according to Statcast. With his fly ball rate, ability to make consistent hard contact, and a high amount of batted ball events, Diaz could be a legitimate 30-homer threat if he can get the plate appearances. Sadly, the Astros infield is arguably the best in the league, so playing time still remains a concern. With Correa’s recent injury history and Bregman’s offseason surgery, there is a chance we see Diaz steal some at-bats away from the young up and comers.