Shortstop Week is in full swing. We’ve discussed rankings, the state of the position, sleepers, and deeper sleepers...all in just two days! Today it’s time for some bold predictions...
1. Shortstops’ slugging percentage went up 10% between 2018 and 2019, and I think it goes up another 5% in 2020 as the position moves from being the 3rd worst position to being the 4th best position in Slugging.
Justification: Last year was the year of steals and at-bats. This year, unlike many others who I think the shortstop position will decline in power, I see the swing-and-miss pedigrees of Trevor Story, Adalberto Mondesi, Gleyber Torres, Manny Machado, Amed Rosario, Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts and Jorge Polanco (all top 100 in strikeouts) not to mention Fernando Tatis, JP Crawford and Carlos Correa contributing to the year of JASS (Just another slugging shortstop).
2. Fernando Tatis does not finish as a top 10 shortstop.
Justification: Consider me OFF the hype train. He is a classic example of what is wildly entertaining vs. what is production for fantasy. I have three primary concerns for Fernando. First are injuries, of which he has already shown a steady stream. Second is strikeouts, last season among the top 50 shortstops in strikeouts per at-bat, Fernando was the 5th highest (33%). Finally, for as flawed as the metric can be, he had a BABIP of .410 last year. That will be regressing, take that to the bank.
3. Xander Bogaerts is a top three shortstop.
Justification: I don’t know what else Xander has to prove. He now has over 100 RBIs in back-to-back seasons, which only Bregman has done among shortstops. He’s been in the top six in slugging percentage, he was 5th in runs, and he now has 20+ home runs in three of his last four seasons.
4. Didi Gregorius is a top 10 shortstop this year.
Justification: Take his total runs, RBIs, steals, and homers over the last two years and put them on a per AB basis and Didi is a the 9th best shortstop. The ONLY major obstacle is Citizens Bank Park vs. Yankee Stadium but I think Didi will be higher in the lineup than the 5th/6th that he normally was with the Yankees. Finally, his BABIP was LOW last year (.237), I think now with full health on his side, he shines.
5. Shortstops are 2nd among all positions in XBH.
Justification: Last year they were behind second base, third base and first base…oh and right field. This year the power is in check and I think whether it be doubles (Xander, Francisco, and Trevor excel) or triples (Amed Rosario and Javier Baez), or even HR (which include most of the aforementioned names), I think we see Fernando, Machado, Didi, and Marcus Semien join the ranks.
2019 (Last Year’s) Bold Shortstop Predictions
1 . At-bats for the total MLB is led by two shortstops.
Result: So one of the top two spots was a SS (Marcus Semien with 657 AB), Whit Merrifield took top billings and Jonathan Villar was 4th (642) so I was quite close but not quite there.
2. Five of the Top 15 players in steals are shortstops.
Result: Alberto Mondesi (2nd), Trea Turner (5th), Elvis Andrus (6th), Trevor Story (15thAdd in Bregman or Villar and you have it.
3. Amed Rosario is a Top 10 shortstop (currently ranked in the 15-20 range)
Result: Amed landed right in the anticipated range at 18th-19th area. He had 75 Runs, 72 RBis, 19 SB and a .287 avg.
4. Francisco Lindor will not eclipse 100 runs OR 100 RBIs this season.
Result: BAAAARELY got there with 101 runs and 74 RBIs. I personally believe it was the 22 SB that really carred Francisco’s 2019 numbers forward for fantasy purposes. He was seventh in Runs and 14th in RBIs while being 17th in batting Avg.
5. No shortstop lands in the Top 10 in home runs this year.
Result: This prediction was correct IF you don’t count Alex Bregman who was 7th with 41HR. After that Gleyber Torres had 38 putting him at 12th. So this, much like a few others, was so/so.