Fantasy baseball is coming, and we have our favorite targets to share with you at the shortstop position. It’s a deep position, but the pundits here at Fake Teams seem inclined to lock up some elite production, as every one of these plays is being drafted inside the top 100 (per the last month of NFBC ADP). So enjoy, and be sure to circle back around midday to catch our staff avoids. You want to avoid the mistakes, after all.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox (Zack Waxman)
NFBC ADP: 37.77
There are a lot of shortstops I’d like to target this year, but I will go with Xander Bogaerts. One thing is for certain, I do not want to wait past pick 100. Xander was a target of mine last year and I am still targeting him with his increase in cost. He is currently going in the third round of 15-team leagues. I believe he can put up extremely comparable numbers to Alex Bregman. At this point, I believe the speed is a dead heat and Xander can bring you comparable counting stats, albeit with only slightly less power. I do believe Xander’s batting average tool is superior to Bregman’s. I do not see much room for Bregman to improve on his home run total from last season, while Xander might. When I assess the two players, I really can’t see a lot that distinguishes them. Give me a two-round discount all day.
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres (Jonathan Butler)
NFBC ADP: 61.92
I don’t expect him to be the same near .300 hitter that he was in Baltimore, but with another season in the NL and seeing pitchers that he saw for the first time last year, he should improve upon his .256 average and .462 slugging. He is not out of his prime and with additions like Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham, the Padres offense has gotten deeper. This will benefit Machado for sure. Machado stayed patient at the plate with a 9.8 BB% compared to his 9.9% from 2018. With a slight bump in BABIP luck, I could see Machado as a .285 BA and 30+ HR hitter with a handful of steals coming in at pick 62.
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays (Mark Abell)
NFBC ADP: 69.67
Bichette played approximately one third of a season last year and hit 11 homers with 32 runs, 21 RBIs, four stolen bases, and a .311 average. He put up these numbers with a respectable line drive rate (23%) but a very high ground ball rate (50%). One advantage Bo has is his spray chart, where a majority of his hits go to the opposite field. His 12.5% swinging strike rate and solid 6% walk rate over his first 46 games at the MLB level show me the poise I like to see.
Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics (Garrett Atkins)
NFBC ADP: 90.63
What if I told you, you could draft the third place finisher in AL MVP outside of the top 75? Pretty sweet deal, huh? This is Marcus Semien! Semien had a huge breakout season in 2019, hitting .285 with a .892 OPS, 33 homers, 92 RBIs, 123 runs, and 10 steals. A true career year for him. I’m a believer! Career high barrel percentage, career high average exit velocity, and a career high hard hit percentage. He also had a career low strikeout rate and a career high walk rate. Do I need to say more? His expected stats are right in line with the actual production too. I’m taking Semien in a ton of drafts this year.
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox (Heath Capps)
NFBC ADP: 99.65
According to ATC projections, here are the MLB players projected to belong to the 20/20 club in 2020 and their respective NFBC ADPs:
1 Ronald Acuña Jr.
3 Christian Yelich
8 Francisco Lindor
9 Trevor Story
10 Trea Turner
16 Fernando Tatis Jr.
19 Jose Ramirez
31 Starling Marte
76 Tommy Pham
98 Tim Anderson
Maybe Anderson’s sprained right ankle that cost him a 20/20 season last year is partially to thank for this draft day discount? Maybe people are counting him out too much due last year’s .399 BABIP? He doesn’t walk, sure. But his strikeout rate continues to descend (only 21.0% last year) and his ISO is moving in the right direction (.145, .166, .173 last three years). His line drive rate is also improving, as he set a career-high last year at 23.8%. Add in last year’s xBA of .294 (Top 8% of the MLB) and his 88th percentile sprint speed, and I’m sold. I haven’t even mentioned the strength of the White Sox lineup. The ATC projects career marks in runs and RBIs for Anderson this year, for good reason. If everyone will ignore this paragraph and continue letting Anderson fall into my lap, I’d be just dandy.