The position of champions. Shortstop is by far the deepest and most star studded of the infield positions. Thanks largely to the consensus #1 guy, Fernando Tatis Jr. You should totally draft him! End of article... Oh, was that too obvious? Need help at the position beyond Tatis Jr.? Okay, okay, since you asked nicely. Let's jump into the best of the rest and my shortstops to target for fantasy baseball this season.
Here are some of my favorite targets at shortstop for 2021.
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
My Rank: 5
Expert Consensus Rank: 11
NFBC ADP: 41.61
Tim Anderson, y'all. He's legit as it gets. Since 2019, Anderson is second in baseball with a .331 batting average. Plus, his wRC+ of 133 is tied for 22nd in the league with...Ronald Acuña Jr. He could be a 20-20 player with a .300+ average and 100+ runs. He's 91st percentile in sprint speed. He has the ability to steal 30+ bags if he wants to. I'm gonna have a lot of shares of Mr. Anderson in 2021.
Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres
My Rank: 17
Expert Consensus Rank: 20
NFBC ADP: 176.70
As good a time as any to talk about Jake Cronenworth. The 27-year-old came over in the Tommy Pham trade last season and had an impressive showing in the small sample size of 2020. Over his first 31 games as a big leaguer, Cronenworth hit .356 with a 1.034 OPS. His September was less than stellar with a .183 average and .543 OPS. I'm buying into his first half performance. According to his Statcast numbers, Cronenworth's 2020 breakout was legit. I mean look at these percentile rankings!
Red on a Statcast page is a good thing. Cronenworth has a lot of red. It's hard to fake your underlying numbers to look this good. Plus, he's triple eligible with first base and second base in addition to shortstop. I feel like he's being undervalued because of his poor September and the Padres’ acquisitions in the offseason, i.e. Ha-seong Kim. He's a great value outside the top 150 overall.
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
My Rank: 18
Expert Consensus Rank: 28
NFBC ADP: 292.94
Last I checked Wander Franco was still the top prospect in baseball. So, why is he going close to 300th overall and outside the top 25 at shortstop? I can't image the Rays are keeping him down for long in 2021. Let's remind everyone of his pedigree and upside. From MLB Pipeline, Franco has an 80-grade hit tool, 70-grade power, and is a 70-grade overall player. He walks more than he strikes out. Player comps are always tricky, especially when you're projecting a 20-year-old. Javier Baez, Tommy Pham, and all the way up to Juan Soto have been tossed around as comps for Franco. He'll see big league action in 2021, and there's a good chance it will be as soon as April. He's a league winner if he performs anywhere close to his lofty expectations at his current ADP.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Texas Rangers
My Rank: 27
Expert Consensus Rank: 31
NFBC ADP: 295.48
It wouldn't be one of my targets articles if I didn't throw in a Texas Rangers player. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was a solid fantasy contributor in 2020. This was largely due to his catcher eligibility, despite being an everyday third baseman for the Rangers. In 2021, he'll slide over to play shortstop and is projected to bat second. He's great in points league with a low strikeout rate of just 14% in 2020. Kiner-Falefa is also deceptively fast with an 81st percentile sprint speed. Those eight steals in 2020 could produce a 20+ steal player this season. For what it's worth, Kiner-Falefa is still catcher-eligible in Yahoo! leagues this year. He'd be a top 12 catcher for me.
Mauricio Dubon, San Francisco Giants
My Rank: 29
Expert Consensus Rank: 35
NFBC ADP: 282.63
Dubon is a deeper sleeper, but has a nice ceiling if everything goes his way. The 26-year-old has three seasons with 30 or more steals in the minors. He also showed some pop with a 20 home run effort in 2019. He's projected to play center field for the Giants in 2021, but has experience at second base and shortstop. Oracle Park is no hitter's haven, but Dubon can still post solid numbers with an upside as a top 20 shortstop.
Who are you targeting this year at the shortstop position?