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Staff Post: Shortstops to avoid in 2021 fantasy baseball

The Fake Teams writers tell you who to consider fading at the shortstop position in 2021.

Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic - Serie del Caribe 2021 Final Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

The ickiest part of my week is always piecing together the “avoids” article. Generally there are some pretty scary names thrown out there. But hey, at least you get an alternative viewpoint that might make you pause for just a second on a given player. If anything, maybe it helps you firm up why you believe what you believe about a given player.

With no further ado, let’s get right to the shock factor...

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 2.57

I will stand boldly as the lone person avoiding Tatis Jr. He seems to defy stats and in all likelihood that is just who he is as a player. I’m nervous this year, as he just got paid (players historically decrease production pre contact year to post). I think he could get hurt with his playing style, and I think each year pitchers will adjust more and more how to play against him. He’s a lock as a top 50 player, but I’m nervous at top 5 or top 10.

Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays (Garrett Atkins)

NFBC ADP: 24.89

I’m gonna get all the hate for this, but the ADP for Bo Bichette is out of control. I honestly feel dirty for trying to speak ill of him. Look, the kid has played 75 big league games. Sure, he’s hit .307 with 16 homers and eight steals. But it’s just 75 games, y’all. Bichette is being drafted close to top 20 overall. Hell, I’ve seen him go in the first round of some drafts this season. Bichette will be good in 2021, I’m confident of that. Will he be better than Corey Seager? Bryce Harper? Aaron Nola? DJ LeMahieu? I’m betting on those four (and several others) behind Bichette in ADP to outperform the Blue Jays youngster. And a bit of a heads up for those in OBP or points leagues, Bichette has a walk rate of just 5.6%. This includes a rate of just 3.9% in 2020. That was 15th-lowest among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances. To sum it up: I love the kid, I hate the price tag.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game One
Gimenez acquitted himself well as a Met in 2020, especially in the steals department. What will he do now as a member of the Cleveland Indians?
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Indians (Andrés Chávez)

NFBC ADP: 160.55

I like Giménez as a real-life prospect: good defense, smart baserunning, gritty. He didn’t embarrass himself last year, with a .263/.333/.398 line, three homers and eight steals. However, his fantasy game is limited to a handful of steals right now, as he hasn’t slugged more than .400 in a minor league season since he was at Class A+ in 2018. That, and his overall offensive potential is capped by low-quality contact (he was in the 20th percentile in average exit velocity, 5th percentile in hard-hit rate, and 43rd percentile in xBA in 2020). In other words, I don’t think he is quite ready for the bigs. I believe the Mets rushed him to the majors last season, and the Indians (his new team) might have him start in Triple-A for some weeks. I want to see progress as a hitter before investing.

Jonathan Villar, New York Mets (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 182.24

You know who else is potentially a part-time player with a solid skill set? Jake Cronenworth, some 30+ picks in ADP later than Villar—and I much prefer betting on Cronenworth’s skill set given the current career trajectories of these two players. Villar is slated to fill a super-utility role for the Mets, so I can’t understand why he’s being drafted the way he is currently. Maybe this ADP is “noisy” given that he has at least one draft where he was selected at pick 98 on the NFBC this month...but still. This is not a player to invest in for 2021. Villar will need either an injury or the universal DH in order to be worth a draft pick in 2021.