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Staff Post: Shortstops to Avoid in 2019

The Fake Teams writers tell you which shortstops to avoid in drafts for 2019.

Getty Images/Peter Rogers Illustrations

On Friday we gave you our shortstops to target, including Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar, Amed Rosario, and Jorge Polanco. So if you’re curious about any of those guys, we expounded on them a bit.

Today’s the day for avoids, as we are one step away from wrapping up Shortstop Week. Yours truly will offer up the State of the Position later today. Generally we start each week with that overview, but this week I wanted to see how it felt to pen said piece after the entire week’s worth of information...maybe some of my opinions changed, for instance. Come back around to find out!

For now...let’s read about who to avoid. And disclaimer: I’m not saying I would avoid all of these guys. Each writer gave his own choice, for one reason or another. Just sayin’...people have different takes. That’s the beauty of it can hear as many sides as we can offer, and make your own final decisions.

MLB: ALDS-Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Lindor, Indians (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 4.64

I really like his overall talent, but a lot came together for the Indians last year with the group of Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley, and Francisco Lindor. Now Brantley is gone, as is Edwin Encarnacion. This team will be good, but what happened last year with those three players will not be duplicated. In a nutshell, Lindor is great—Top 25 great—but I don’t think I would select him within the first 10 picks.

***Note: this pick was made before news of Lindor’s injury. He is a clear avoid now at a Round 1 draft cost.***

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Correa, Astros (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 49.97

Justin Mason, creator of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, brought this idea up on a recent Fangraphs podcast, and I agree with the sentiment:

Player A Steamer Projection: 588 PA, 24 HR, 79 R, 84 RBI, 4 SB, .265 BA (ADP 49)
Player B Steamer Projection: 551 PA, 23 HR, 64 R, 76 RBI, 2 SB, .254 BA (ADP 188)

Player A is Correa and Player B is Paul DeJong. Sure, those counting stats for Correa are superior, but the above is a very conservative projection for DeJong, who tallied 68 runs and 68 RBIs in only 490 PA a year ago (also 19 homers). DeJong is also a career .263 hitter who had a robust .285 average in 2017—when he was on the lucky side of BABIP at .349.

Meanwhile, Correa doesn’t run anymore, as evidenced by his whopping total of FIVE stolen bases over the past two seasons (219 games). So we are comparing Correa’s career .277 average to DeJong’s .263, but Correa was down to .239 a year ago. Sure, he was injured. But he also has the one outlier season with a .315 batting average, which is very unlike his other three seasons. I’m just saying that if Correa isn’t running, it’s very possible that DeJong offers comparable statistics. Lastly, Correa is slated to bat cleanup for Houston, which is a snug spot behind Jose Altuve and in front of Michael Brantley. DeJong is projected to hit second, sandwiched between Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt, with a healthy Marcell Ozuna to follow. So just what exactly is the massive difference between these two players? Oh yeah, I know—139 picks in ADP!

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Gleyber Torres, Yankees (Punk Is Dead)

NFBC ADP: 59.31

Gleyber Torres is getting a bit overvalued in drafts. His current ADP is right around 50th overall, which seems like a bit of a reach. I get that he has a world of upside, but I don’t think he reaches it in 2019. He hits in a loaded lineup, sure, but he’ll be at the bottom of it. That limits his at-bats. The other big factor is his steals potential. I think fantasy owners are projecting too high of a steals total for Torres, and I’m not convinced. Like I said in my targets piece, Torres without speed is basically Eduardo Escobar. Are you willing to risk a Top 50 pick to find out if he’ll run?

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Elvis Andrus, Rangers (Zack Waxman)

NFBC ADP: 169.53

He’s hit more than eight home runs once. He’s had more than 70 RBIs once. This was all in the same year and he’s been playing for 10 seasons. He hasn’t stolen over 30 bases since he was 24 years old. He’s going to turn 31 this year and only stole five last year, albeit in an injury-riddled season. We are all well aware of the risks associated with evaporating stolen bases after the age of 30. His sprint speed was 27.1 ft/sec in 2018 according to Baseball Savant—which is below average. Going back to 2017, it was 27.3 ft/sec so I would not explain this entirely by injury. It is also down from 27.7 ft/sec and 27.4 ft/sec in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Oh, and his team got worse. Another Texas Ranger middle infielder played his last games in Texas at age 30—Ian Kinsler. After Kinsler’s age 29 season, the most steals he’s accumulated in a season is 16. I think Andrus can be a positive contributor in two categories (batting average and steals), however, my confidence level is very low in terms of if he can be very impactful. In other words, I’m worried that Andrus is already starting to fall into the abyss of Ian Kinsler, Jose Reyes, and Brandon Phillips, even though he was never as good as them in their peak seasons.